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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife (understanding woman) took the vacuum cleaner from my hand on Saturday morning and said, "There is a duck show on TV." I gave the vaccum cleaner to her and went downstairs. I witnessed some very impressive film of ducks and geese in North Dakota. I even recognized one of the guys by name that was being interviewed. My dog awoke from a nap and started barking at the TV as he heard the tremendous noise of snow goose flocks. He even barked at the whistling mallard wings that could be heard on the audio.

All of this was an infomercial for guided hunts in ND. It was on regional television. So, it probably has a pretty big audience. I have to admit that it was alluring. You guys have to do something about those guides as well as limiting NRs.
 

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Talking to a guide friend it sound like the Game and fish has some things in the work that would make it vary hard to make a living as a guide.
 

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Dean:

Come on, you can't let out an innuendo if you have some relevant information. Let us all in on the "rumor mill."
 

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The game and fish really does not have any power to do anything regarding the guiding industry. If they pay their $100, they are in business. Any changes will have to come through the legislature. I would imagine that there will be lots of introduced bills next January.
 

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They're talking about trying to raise the price of a guiding license to over $2000.
 

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Just curious Matt, who's "they"?

The outfitter's have been great thus far diverting the bullets and passing it on as "resident vs. nonresident". What to do with the outfitters should've been priority #1 in my mind, but not with Hoeven in office.
 

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The fees are also set through the legislature. Some of these bills are introduced by the guides and outfitters themselves. They claim these are to clean up their own industry, but are self serving also. One for example, you would have to work under and outfitter to be a guide, and you would have to have x number of years experience to be a outfitter. It is in their own best interest to make it hard to become a guide, it would limit their competition as they would all be grandfathered in.
 

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I've got to go with bioman not to jump on anyone but this thread will go on with speculation for ever and ever. If any of you have solid information on what the changes may be post them. I and many others on ths site would be very interested in hearing the facts.
 

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No one has anything thing solid because the people making the rules are still working on them. One of the things in the work like Matt said is raising the fee from $100 to as high as $5,000. This would push out most of the smaller guides and would put a big dent in the big boys.
 

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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!
 

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Perry at the end of your post you said you guys have to do something about the guides. I believe you should say we have to do something about the guides. If it is ND residents who try to do this alone you know what will be said. There are those greedy residents trying to keep it all to themselves. If nonresidents will show the same ambition in stopping the takeover of land by large guiding operations as they did in fighting caps we may be able to stop it. We can only do this with your help. You nonresidents must join us if this to work.. The first thing you could do is contact the gov's office and tell them your feelings. Freelance hunters are very important to this state. Tell him this. Are you guys going to come if all the good land is tied up? Hell no! Tell him this! This thing isn't over yet. The guides will come on strong in the next legislative session. If the freelance hunters res and nonres don't get toghether we will all lose. This is your battle too.. Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Old Hunter,

I agree that it will take residents and non-residents working together to lasso the guides and get them under control. I will gladly send a note to the governors office and the representatives from that part of North Dakota that I hunt. My loss of access is your loss of access. I am also going to put a line of text on my hunting trailer this year. It will read, "Real hunters don't use guides."

You may be interested in some of the ideas they are thinking about in Alberta to control guides. Go to www.refugeforums.com, then Canadian Hunting, then Drought Trouble in Alberta. Read the last four posts on limiting guides by zone. No more than four per zone. The zones are more like North Dakota's deer hunting zones from what I gather.
 

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Sounds like a plan to me!!!

The problem is getting other NR Hunters to join the battle. There is not much support out there. People are to lazy and to short sighted to see that this directly effects them.

:eyeroll: :eyeroll: :eyeroll:
 

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I agree it can be hard to rally support, but nothing gets people going like losing access as I did in several instances last fall. To be honest I didn't know much about the guides until last fall. Land that owners had given me permission to hunt for several years before last , then my access was suddenly lost to guides last fall. I used to stop in a couple times during the summer and give the landowner some freshly caught smoked salmon and an occassionaly "jug". However, last year the land was closed because "someone" else was using it. I went the neighbors and that land was closed for "use". Later in the week I met the problem, which was a guide with a group in the bar. I didn't have a problem with guides if they had equal opportunities for the land access, however this was not the case. Several of the areas I used to hunt were now closed and reserved for this individual. It lit a fire under my butt and now I pay attention to the issues alot closer. Hopefully residents & non-residents will pay more attention before the make a long drive for nothing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Welcome to the forum, Bronco. And, thanks for the story describing what is happening to land formerly hunted by freelancers. First the guides lease the land and deprive you of access. Then they arrange an infomercial to attract hunters from all over the midwest. These guys have to be controlled or we freelancers are going to be SOL. If I were a tax paying North Dakotan and I could not even drive 50 miles to where I have hunted for years, I would be P***ed.
 

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I heard a story a couple weeks ago at the Ray Cenntenial (north western ND) about how some excellant pheasant land was now leased, by a very famous former College basketball coach from Indiana. That only hunts it one or two times per year. Now the entire area is being leased up & very few get to hunt it anymore.

I know many that have released birds in that area for years & helped get the birds established up there. Unfortunately the birds have really only taken off in pockets. & now those pockets are reserved & the rest of the area is overhunted. Thus pushing the birds into these leased areas.

Can't be good for the birds or the quality of life of locals or freelance hunters from where ever :eyeroll:
 

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Fetch, your story is a perfect example of what many local business people do not understand right now.
If someone from some distant location buys up all of the good hunting land and only hunts for maybe a week all year and they spend, lets say $1000 in that 7 days.
Compared that to the 10 hunters who used to hunt 3 weekends each year and spend $50 each weekend but now can't because they have no land access. Thats $1500. These local 10 hunters will probably put more time and money into the resource they care about than will the one landowner who lives hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Now when that resource is depleted because no one cares to put forth any effort to maintain it because they cannot hunt, now I know that many people would still put in time just to see wild life, but you get my point. That landowner sells his land because there is no point in owning it because there are no birds to hunt. So now the business owner gets nothing because no one is hunting.
This is just a hypothetical example but it should illustrate my point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Gandergrinder,

I think what you are saying is that there is a net loss of $500 to the local economy if the freelancers are locked out in favor of occassional guided hunters. Your scenario could be right or wrong. It would take some actual study to find out. But, if you are right, it explodes the argument that the guides are good for the local economy.
 

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Last year while flying in to No.Dak. for the pheasant opener, I sat beside a gentlemen from Pennslyvania that was coming to hunt at Sheldon's camp for a combo waterfowl and pheasant hunt. The guy was very engaging and after he told me that he was going to use a guide service, I attempted to explore why someone would enlist such a service. He said he hunted a public area in Penn for over 40 years with his usual buddies, but wanted to get in some good wingshooting on private land, so he we went to the web and looked for commercial enterprises. After further discussion, he said the biggest decision to use a guide is that he didn't want to expend the energy to go out and find the birds. He said and I quote "... I would rather pay for the opportunity rather than work for the opportunity."

I was rather surprised by this train of thought, but I guess it does speak volumes about the state of wealth and its corruption in hunting, and more importantly, the issue of shooting versus hunting. I am so against commercial hunting that I offered to take him hunting with our group with one main compromise: that if we showed him around the area we hunt with a guarantee of world class hunting, then he would never use a guide service in the future years. I received a flat out refusal, and he reiterated that he didn't want to have to work that hard for his birds. Also he said that we didn't have land tied up that would guarantee him birds.

I guess the main point to illustrate from this bantering is that money and purely the notion of shooting versus hunting for sport will always be a very lucrative business for commercial interests, especially with the likes of the gentlemen I met. I am afraid to say that once ingrained into an area, the commercial interests will be near impossible to remove or limit. The good ol' days have been lost forever in No.Dak.
 
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