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Letter from the Editor of the Benson County Press

4501 Views 16 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  prairie hunter
:lol: This is a quote from an article written by the editor of the Benson county Farmers Press. The Press is a weekly paper printed in Minnewaukan, ND.

The hunting issue is heating up and it will be a hot potato in the state legislature.

If urban legislators are successful in stifling the economic development were seeing in this area by restricting out-of-state hunters, there will be a severe backlash.

If urban interests are successful in restricting out-of-state hunters, this newspaper will be part of a crusade to post every acre of privately owned land in North Dakota. Im not sure of the strings attached to the posting. Maybe landowners will be urged to refuse access to in-state hunters. Maybe landowners will be urged to charge in-state hunters. Maybe hunters who come from legislative districts whose representatives and senators vote to stifle economic development by limiting out-of-state hunters will be the only ones affected. I only know that there must and will be a severe backlash from landowners if out-of-state hunters are restricted.

These urban hunters think they have the right t use privately owned land as they see fit. They have to be shown that this is not the case.

We must put up a fight for our very existence. Urban hunters must understand there will be consequences.

-Richard Peterson, Editor, Benson County Farmers Press
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He does have a point. I've seen it already. I've heard of a few landowners that post their land and allow out-of-staters access but won't let hunters from Fargo or members of the Sportsman Alliance on. I'm sure members of this board won't like to hear that but it is a reality.
That is not all that new - But I'm sure during this time of rapid changes & political SPIN, there is more feeling this way.

I have hunted Benson county alot over the years. Mainly for SOB's - It was the only county I hunted them in this past fall - for the few days they were there.

Over the past ten years I have watched this county become more & more posted - with more & more of the better areas becoming off limits. I used to stop at the grocery store in Minnewaken & the restraunt when it is open - alot.

I also used to really like Maddock - but since they also decided to be come a pay to hunt community & support all the pay to hunt guides & outfitters. I rarely even go there anymore. It's not because of the guides & pay to hunt, as much as it is the Snow Geese have not really been there the past couple of years (for any length of time) & when the guides have everything locked up. & this trend of less birds, has been going back for several years before this, why go there ??? So now I'm sure they want to try & corner the market for ducks to :roll:

This is why less hunters are going to Benson county - Not because of the 30,000 limit on NR hunters.

Plus most NR's after trying a hunt for SOB's - see all the ducks & want to come & duck hunt & not all will pay to hunt ducks - sure they want the services - Rooms & food & drink - like Minnewaken has provided in recent years - But I bet the majority want to (Freelance hunt) for ducks -Alot bring boats to hunt Minnewakken Flats, as Freelance hunters. & trust me, there can only be so many, hunting that area, at one time, to not become overly crowded. You would think they would be smart enough, to want hunting managed better To have hunters be there for the entire season ??? Instead of all crowding in for 2 or 3 weeks. & appeal to Freelance hunting instead of guides & pay to hunt ???

Also the early freeze hurt that area this fall too - Now they are trying to blame the limits on NR's for their poor business decisions

- Too bad they can't hear, or see the other side of things.

I guess this editor is lacking in investigative reporting skills ???
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& don't think for moment there is Harmony amongst the guides in that area - They are very competitive - Until this time of year - to try & fight & repealing the cap on NR's - other than that, they are not that close, or united. & many landowners are tired of the direction this has gone & problems all this is causing. Over all it is a vocal very small minority - trying to spin this to get others in their area - to try & see this as a landrights issue to garner more support. & their always has been & always will be a pretty big percentage of landowners (farmers) that will jump on that band wagon. But could care less about hunting or the residents of the state. SAD & they wonder why the youth keep leaving :eyeroll:
Every time a controversial issue comes up, landowners threaten to post their land. Nothing new. Look back, people used to post heavily with the signs proclaiming that they would let no hunting happen until the swampbuster laws were repealed. Guess what, they didn't get repealed and you don't see those signs very often any more. This will pass too until there is another issue that landowners want to post in protest of. History repeating itself.
I have posted this before and will state it again. North Dakota Sportsman IMO need to build collations with other and find the common interests of the majority and avoid bifurcating the larger group of outdoors minded individuals. The focus should be on securing access and improving habitat for wildlife. The focus on capatation on nonresident licenses creates too much discord and DOES NOT solve the major issues. Raise hunting revenues and use it to secure public access and improved habitat. This is as close to a win - win as we can get anytime soon.

Just my opinion, from a nonresident, North Dakota property owner.
My people farm in central North Dakota. Farm Bureau pushes this stuff to keep farmers stirred up so they will join. Years ago they had a sign for no hunting unless wheat hit $5. Then no hunting unless swampbuster was repealed. Now Farm Bureau has one on their web site for no hunting unless fee hunting is resolved to landowner satisfaction. They are pushing the no hunting for residents signs too. Most people see through it. Its pretty transpartent if you ever go to a state meeting.
David we have a cap - They are the ones bringing it up & don't really understand, or want to see the other sides in all this. Habitat & increased fees are OK but not a answer to anything (Maybe over a very long time) it will help some hunting. But not if things continue, as Pay to hunt & lease to gain an advantage, people want them to. - over our traditional Freelance past - I think it's selfish, to even try to convince people, that these things are OK. & should just be ignored & let them happen as inevitable. :eyeroll:
Fetch- Muzzy:
Your comments are interesting. First you ignore the fact that the backlash is coming from grass root rural communities. The Farmers Press is just one example. Muzzy you mention that this is just history repeating itself. In the past protests were aimed against obscure government regulations that few if any resident hunter had any control over. It was an attempt by farmers to open the eyes of sportsmen of unpopular regulations that affected their farm or ranch operation. In this case the farmers are protesting regulations created and promoted by sportsmen. In farmers eyes their target is quite clear. It looks to me that access to quality hunting land might get worse not better. Im like you the distaste in the rural vs. urban, or east vs. west lingo but in reality this is probably true. Look at the issues through a land owners eyes. Most of the harsh comments are coming from the Sportsmens Alliance (Jamestown), Grand Forks wildlife club, and other large city based groups. I dont care what the issue is, but if you are going to tell a landowner he cant hunt with his son from Minneapolis because licenses are sold out, or he cant have the option to fee hunt or leasing to a guide (even if he has no intention to fee hunt or lease out his land) you have just stirred the pot. Landowner rights are huge in rural areas and any challenge perceived or reality will cause hard feeling and repercussions.

Fetch- I freelance hunted Benson County quite a few times this year for ducks, sobs, and crane and had absolutely no difficulty finding a good quality place to hunt. All for the price of asking landowners and showing a little respect. First- over half of the area I hunted (Maddock, Filmore, and Esmond) was not posted, second- the places that were posted granted me permission 100% of the time, third- I did not see one single fee hunting sign, or was asked for $ to hunt, fourth- Maddock treated me with open arms. I have no relatives in the area, and only started hunting the area a few years ago. PS: the hunting was outstanding.

My point is your side of the story is not always the case with every resident hunter. Im sure some areas are down right miserable. Lets remember that wildlife is a public asset, but 90 % of the state is privately owned and the landowners have the key to the future of freelance hunting. I just hope we dont rock the boat too much. These folks have a long memory.
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Did I say I have had trouble finding places to hunt ???

The SOB hunting has not been outstanding there for several years. & anywhere it was, was dominated by a guide or outfitter.

I'm curious what you are comparing Benson County to as far as outstanding ??? Sure there are plenty of ducks & enough public & non posted & even posted land that you can get access for them. But the angry vocal side in this loves to see that, continue to erode ??? We know all of ND is Better than just about all other states - But to become like other states, is what many of us see as exactly what we don't want to become. (are you from out of state ???)

As far as having a long memory - I do too & I can remember when most all competed, for the fields that held SOB's & there were alot more places to gain access. Cause there were alot more birds around - for longer periods of time. & alot less posting & NR's & Guides trying to get exclusive rights to use some of the better areas.

& I can remember angry landowners, as long as I can remember -

I feel since leasing came on in such a big way - & NR's topped 10,000 is when most lands started to get posted.

I also remember when farmers & sportmen supported each other & understood each other & felt they needed each other.

& remember over 95% of the sportsmen are freelance (not pay to hunt) From out of State & in State.

As far as Family & friends not getting a licenses - this was the 1st year - of a new law - You would think if it's that important ??? they would have bought a license way back when there was plenty. They did not sell out until way into the season. So blame us, for the stupidity of a few :roll: - That sure seems like a good reason to drop the cap. on NR's or do any thing else to improve the crowding & access problems. :eyeroll: I'm more for Win - Win ideas & try to get them while we have some momentum going our direction - The opposition has been like a cancer - eating away at what has been so unique & special about ND. ...PS I have always been in favor of finding a way to let residents born in ND & having lived on or have land in their family - be able to get (at least) preferance points in a lottery (if it comes to that) or a gratis license from their county. (for them) Imediate family - not all their friends & relatives - from all over the country. Compared to SD we are super liberal in a 30,000 cap.

You have been listening to the wrong sides in all this. Try to educate them, on the real concerns - instead of let negative threats scare you. & try to see a few years down the road, if these people (Commercial hunting) are sucessful in continuing to have things to go their way ??? & keep using Negatve Land rights Issues to get farmers & landowners to be angry & feel cheated - like they keep doing.

Sure there are still lots of places to hunt & lots of Great folks left , willing to share. But until it reaches you personally, all is OK ??? When will you be ready to make a stand ??? Will it be too late then ???
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SiouxperDave said:
He does have a point. I've seen it already. I've heard of a few post their land and allow out-of-staters access but won't let hunters from or members of the Sportsman Alliance on. I'm sure members of this board won't like to hear that but it is a reality.
Coming from a NR, if more land is posted, it actually hurts us rather than helps us. Getting permission can be very hard--who owns that land? Where does that person live? Sure, sometimes it is obvious, but I dont feel more No Hunting signs helps the NR, in fact, I feel it hurts us. After reading this and other posts, I don't know who is on the my (NR) side and who is not. Can someone explain that to me?
Dino I believe the resident freelancer is on your side. We are in the same boat. Most of the people on this site spend much of their time hunting with nonresidents. They are our friends and family. We want as many nr's as the resource can stand. The problem is that North Dakota hunting is becoming like Texas. This is taking place at very rapid pace. Out of state monies are buying big hunting operations and they will expand. Wealthy nr's are buying large tracts of hunting land. Dino unless you have the money to buy land or pay 450 per day your hunting quality is going to hell and so is mine. The people on this site are trying to figure out how to stop this . Your question is valid and your input is positive I hope we can work together on these issues. good luck
The only way to stop this is to make sure Non-res. landowners do not get gratis licenses.Guides should not get a specific number of licenses if there is a cap.Both of these slipped through on the deer licenses.
There is a bill in the legis to allow non-res to be guides.Not good.
Old Hunter, I would be more than willing to help in any way I can. Other than sharing my experiences and my thoughts, I don't know there is a lot I can do, as I don't have a lot of pull with the ND legislature. I love your state and I love being able to share the experience with my dad. My dad still has some years left traipsing through cattail sloughs, but how many it is impossible to tell, thus I value each and every one. Has anyone put a value on the NR freelance hunter? Mebbe, mebbe not. I have seen some stats over the years on average cost of trip, etc. But how about the resident freelancer? That is probably not brought up that often. How much money do they bring to the table? Also, I think we need to enlist the help of the hotel/motel owners, the restaurant owners, the gas station owners, etc. A hunter complaining about access is one thing, a business owner complaining he/she is losing patrons due to hunter access issues brings a whole different angle to the discussions.
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Ken W. glad you are singing my song. I have said (too many times I suppose) on this web site before that guides and NR landowners already get preference for NR deer licenses. Although only 1% of total licenses - if you fail the lottery - and the NR landowner gets a gratis or the guide gets his share off the top by bypassing the lottery - it is hardly fair.

Please tell your representitive and senator your thoughts in a letter.

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