Here's my humble two cents on the issue:
Outfitters/Guides are an important overall part of ND outdoors. There are many nonresidents that would not visit our state but for the opportunity to have a turn-key experience. Most nonresidents, like most of us residents, prefer to do it all themselves, but some don't want to scout, gain access, set up, take down or clean game. Hey, different strokes for different folks. Also O/G's are truly one of the economic development opportunities that have come with the boom in game populations and disposable income. They represent jobs, even if part time, in rural ND that didn't exist some years ago.
That said, the O/G's also probably hinder access to us residents more than any other single factor. In order to charge $250-$500/gun/day, you must be set up to provide outstanding hunts, day in and day out. To do so, you must not only control a tremendous amount of land, but also the very best, most productive land. You have to leave fields alone for many days to let the flocks build. So, O/G's disproportionately tie up and use significantly more land than the average hunter, and they hugely impact access. There is room in this state for The CB, SS and KB, but no more like them.
At the recent Judiciary B meeting in Bismarck, the Committee took up a proposed O/G bill. Many parts of it are good, but significant modifications are needed. The Bill contains a proposed limit of 300 Outfitters, but no limit on the amount of land an Outfitter can control. Without a cap on the amount of land each can control, the limit on the number of Outfitters is meaningless. Some current Outfitters now control a 100,000 plus acres. When the number of Outfitters becomes limited, the natural tendency will be for those holding licenses to continue expanding. 300 Outfitters controlling 100,000 plus acres would create a far worse impact on access than we experience today. Keep in mind, they won't be tieing valley beet land; they always seek out and gain control over the best of the best.
So, like everything else, there needs to be moderation and compromise. the Bill now being considered is a good start, but needs to involve a limit on the acreage under control and a prohibition against hunting on "public" lands and lands not under their control.
If you'd like to see the Bill being considered by the Judiciary B, PM me and I'll fax a copy to you. Alternatively, you can get a copy by contacting the Legislative Counsel in Bismarck. The Judiciary B will be holding another hearing on this Bill towards the end of September. By all means, email or call the Committee members with your thoughts. Their contact information can be found on the ND Legislature website. And, as we found out when pressing the Hunter Pressure Concept at the last Judiciary B meeting, one body at the hearing is worth the same as many phone calls and emails. It's not easy for any of us to take a day off to attend these meetings or hearings during the legislative session, but it's very important to do so. There is no substitute for getting bodies at those meetings and hearings!