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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a letter written by Steve Scheel of Scheels All Sports to North Dakota legislators. (This letter does NOT reflect my personal views-H2OfowlND- in anyway. I am just passing on information that should be known)

December 2002
RE: Non-Resident Hunter Issue

I have been working with the managers of our 6 North Dakota stores, trying to get numbers that are close, and today we are confident that our Scheels stores in Bismarck, Minot, Grand Forks and Fargo do in excess of $2,500,000, annually with non-resident hunters and the guide and outfitters that supply them. As you can see, it is a huge amount this number grows each year. We feel the non-resident is 10-15% of our business in Minot, 15-20% of our business in Grand Forks and Fargo, and 30-40% of our hunting and related business in Bismarck. It is not unusual for a group of 4 non-residents to spend $2500 before the hunt, and $500 after the hunt on their way home.

Scheels employs over 700 people in North Dakota and we rely on this non-resident hunter for a significant portion of our business in the fall. I would urge you to support no further restrictions on the non-resident hunters. While we would like unlimited licenses, we can live with the limit of 30,000 on waterfowl and we can understand the early season for residents only, but would urge no further restrictions on the number of hunters or the periods when they are allowed to hunt. Nationally, there are fewer and fewer hunters and the demographics in North Dakota mean less resident hunters every year. We need the revenue from the non-residents just to hold us even.

There are a couple of other points on this issue:
1. The license fees could be more expensive by at least $50 a license. 50,000 @ $50 = $2,500,000 and this could be used for more habitat. It is a standing joke for many that the license costs less than the booze! These people fly in or drive in, in a $35,000 SUV and $5000 worth of gear. 98% would pay $50 more without blinking. The typical elk hunter pays $650 in Montana and these bird hunters like to hunt birds as much as the elk hunter likes to hunt elk. Raise the fee and plant more habitat.

2. It would sure help if they had to buy their licenses at a North Dakota retailer. More and more hunters buy their licenses online and this keeps them out of the store in some cases. They spend huge amounts when they get in our stores and they see all we have to offer. This would be a huge boost to retail business throughout the state. Computers would easily allow us to cut license sales off at a pre-determined limit.

Thanks for your time! The 700 North Dakota Scheels associates certainly hope there are no further restrictions on non-resident hunters who help pay their salaries. $2.5 million pays a whole lot of paychecks.

Most Sincerely,
Steve Scheel
SDS:mjj
 

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This letter shows just how much any further restrictions on NR's can hurt us as a State that is losing what we have to offer already.I suppose now some of you will come up with the brilliant idea of boycotting this buissness also. :roll: I believe some people would cut off their own nose to spite their face.What is being said is that we keep pushing our own state into poverty just to satisfy our own needs.Any further restrictions on NR's is only going to hurt us as a state.This is a great letter showing the facts of a buissness that needs our support in helping them keep their doors open by not taking their buissness away for our own greed.WELL SAID STEVE!!!!!!
 

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This only reflects a retailer point of view and I would like to challenge them on the percentage of total business. I fully understand the thought process of writing this letter however it may very well cause Scheels to lose business if the Resident hunter finds someplace else to spend his or her money for shells and guns and fishing lures etc.. We are being told once again that the wildlife of the state should be for sale. I also would be willing to bet that this does not reflect the feeling of his 700 employee's if they could speak without fear of reprisal.

I had a thought in reading the letter, maybe we should leave the licence fee as is but require the nonresident to go to Scheels and buy tags for the birds they shoot and then go back to Scheels and have an employee verify the tags this way Scheels can have them stop coming and going.Use the money from tags to buy or lease habitat and then the state could buy the seed from Scheels for the habitat.

Goosepig this letter shows why Guides, Outfitters and nonresidents need to be limited.Those that are benefiting are not the rural communities when that money is spent in Fargo OR Grand Forks, or Bismarck. Towns like Wing Or Linton Or Kulm or Sheyenne see no benefit. Have a outfitter lease up 100,000 acres around each small town and see how much money will be spent in those towns by freelance hunters. Very little money will come into the local community from guides and their customers. This letter states that guides and outfitters are a big customer, if you think that this will help our rural businesses why are they buying at Scheels, instead of the local Ace Hardware they have access to just about the same line of products that Scheels carry. I have the order books to prove it. Your posts point to greed more than anything else that I have seen on this site. I believe you chose a very self discriptive sceen name.

Look at the amount of money that he claims these hunters are spending. This is not reflective of the freelance hunter, resident or nonresident which is 95% of all hunters. Short of buying a new gun or high end optics I would be surprised to find the majority of hunters spending $2500.00 on gear and shells every year.

SouixperDave I was not sure if you agreed with what was written or just commenting on the letter.

I just do not understand the thought process of the retailers thinking that we have unlimited supplies of wildlife and that they should be the ones benefiting from this resource. When did Scheels sponsor a wetland reclamation project. I do know that most of the donations that they do are underwritten by the manufacturer's. Sorry I rambled just a little peeved tonight.
 

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I would NOT advocate a boycott, and Steve's letter does a good job of highlighting the seasonal benefits of nonresident hunters. But, I think as more sportspersons are getting actively involved in this process during the session, it's becomming more and more apparent just how many people have chosen to call ND home in large part because of quality hunting. It's quality hunting that causes us to pass on higher salaries and other neat things elsewhere. If some of us leave or don't move back because we become like Texas where the average person has no real opportunity to access quality hunting, this will also impact ND. Wouldn't take many lost residents (current and future, and their families) and their 365 day spending to offset the seasonal spending (4-6 days) of an aweful lot of nonresidents. Unless you believe that quality hunting kept and drew many of us to ND, you will never see any reason for compromise on these issues.
 

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Dan you are right I am not advocating a boycott, what I should have said is let Steve at Scheels know that our wildlife should not be for sale. I am very disturbed by the tone of things in Bismarck and to have one of the states larger employers make these statements unchallenged will have a huge impact on Reps. and Sen. in Bismarck.

I am very passonate on these issues as are many on this site. I try to look at things pragmaticly but emotions run over sometimes. I apologize if I have rambled a bit I wish I had paid more attention in Creative writing.
 

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I generally dont get into discussion on the hot topics page, but felt I had to respond to GP comments. Setting a limit on NR hunters based on what the resource can handle(such as the HPC) isnt going to push ND into poverty, and if it does then I take pity on rural ND when the next dry cycle comes.

This is one subject that I dont understand hasnt been brought up much, or at least I haven't heard much talk about, the dry cycle. I think it is common sense to anticipate dry years in the future, ND runs on wet and dry cycles.

What happens to the rural communities when there are no ducks around due to lack of water?

Now that ag business cant support rural communities(this is the feeling I am getting from those who oppose a cap), hunters are expected to help small communities survive? That is great, as long as their are ducks. What happens when the next dry cycle arrives? NR hunters wont want to come if their is no resource, resident hunters will be limited due to leasing and outfitters, rural businesses will fold, and everntually ND will be made up of about 50-75 communities. Obviously I am being facetious, but when this period happens, resident money will be the majority of the hunter expenditures in rural communities.

The past has only proven that ND runs on wet and dry cycles, and the number of licenses issued to NR mimics the water levels of ND: when there is water and resource(waterfowl) there is plentiful NR hunters, and vice versa.
 

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What do they put back for Wildlife & Habitat & to be honest they are not real knowledgeable Hunters. Their into sales & profits more than the outdoors. :roll:

All this wealth & Commercialization of Hunting & Fishing needs to be regulated - with the average family & Resident of ND in mind. (plus the average NR won't have a chance) - You let $$$ be the deciding factor in all this - Then ND will become another Arkansas. With mostly leases & Pay to hunt & overcrowded Public places (that won't be worth hunting).

Like I have said before - Why won't most of our better workers & educated young people - go else where & come back & take advantage of ND for a week or two. Is that true economic development ???

We will waste away & ruin valuable resources - for a few bucks, for a few weeks a year :eyeroll:

Remember those #'s & $$$ are because of current & past laws in ND & the demand is because of the quality & past opportunity - Change everything to favor Guides & Outfitters & pay to hunt NR's (the small minority) Will as many NR Freelance hunters want to come in the future ???

They need to poll their customers & learn who really spends money at their stores - I'd bet it's not the commercial sides of all this like they think :******:
 

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Shop at Scheels where our motto is: "Screw the resources and resident hunters, show us the money!!!!!" :eyeroll:
 

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And the fact that no one yet has said a word about the off season....summer, etc. when the residents are spending money on kids soccer shoes, dads basketball shoes, paint at the scheels hardware store, a lawnmower, a snow blower....you get the point. I guess I was really turned off by this letter and although I do not advocate a boycott, I will look for the best deal, where as before I just bought locally. Online is usually cheaper for a lot of this stuff. I won't feel as obliged to buy from them as I have been in the past. I doubt that a multi million dollar corporation will suffer because of my couple of thousand dollars a year loss of business, but I will certainly feel better about giving it to someone else!
I, Muskat have also been spouting about the next dry cycle. Where will all the money come from then.... I think that we will be the ones that will be still tossing money around. Not near as many out of staters will come for only a few ducks....only the hard cores will be back then!!
 

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I would have to question Scheel's estimate of NR expenditures at their stores. I have been hunting in North Dakota since 1975 and have stopped at a Scheels store once! That was to buy a snow goose tape a couple of years ago on the way out to Jamestown. I can't believe an average NR would spend anywhere close to what Scheels is claiming. We stock up with all of our stuff at Gander Mountain or Fleet Farm here in the Twin Cities before we go. And, that is mostly ammunition.
 

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I'm with you Quack.
This letter won't change my shopping habits in the slightest. That place always has been, and will continue to be, the very very very last option.

M.
 

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Perry:
How is it that you alway say you spend so much $ in ND when you make a post that says you stock up on every thing in the Cities. Here I thought the freelancer is such a big impact on the economy. I for one like Scheels and spend my share. Steve has a right to voice his opinion like any one else. Ask any wildlife group on how much Scheel's donates to clubs, DU, PF, etc. and you will find a great company that cares about ND. Scheels is just one of many companys that make money from hunters. Dakota Country is not much different as far as profiting from wildlife.
 

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Scheels is just one of many companys that make money from hunters. Dakota Country is not much different as far as profiting from wildlife.
There is a difference in that Bill Mitzel of Dakota Country spoke at Bismarck about protecting the resource, and Steve S. is writing letters for selling it. So they are on opposite opinions.
 

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I spoke in a previous post that most of the donations from Scheels are done thru teh Mfg. in advertiseing expence and other promotions very little is lost by them in helping DU or Delta or any national organization. This is also true for local outdoor groups and organiztions, the amount of dollars contributed are based on memberships or activity participants.

Steve has the right to speak his piece, but misses the point that they are profiting from a natrual resource without any finacial input to help maintain its numbers or quaility. This letter shows the ignorance of the non-hunting and the finacially well off hunter that has not had to do any one on one request for access. Just write the check and you can have all of the resources you want.

I have also been talking about mother natures role in all of this and the freelance hunter resident and nonresident will be left holding the bag.
 

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An interesting twist. In my small town, rural ND, there are two sporting goods stores that sell other merchandise too. BOTH OF THESE SMALL TOWN STORES WROTE LETTERS OF SUPPORT FOR RESIDENT HUNTERS AND HAVE CONTACTED THEIR LEGISLATORS IN THAT REGARD. I was spending my money in the right place.
 

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Bill Mitzel (Dakota Country Mag.) spoke in favor at senate hearing on SB2048 HPC.At a risk of looseing advertizers.He is a true friend of the resident hunter.
 

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ND Gander,

I don't believe that I have ever said that I spend a lot of money in ND on equipment in any of my posts or stories that I have written. I tell about how much I enjoy the experience, not how much money I spend there on supplies. You must have me confused with someone else. All the equipment I have bought has been outside ND, online, or by catalogue.

I don't have any problems with Scheels. They have really nice stores. I was very impressed the one time I went in there. It's just that when we go to North Dakota, we don't have time to go shopping at Scheels on our way there. We are trying to get to our hunting grounds as fast as possible so that we can begin our scouting. If other NRs are like our group, they have their equipment and will not be buying much, if anything, at Scheels.

Now, once we get to our destination, that is another matter. We buy a tank a day of gas, sandwiches, beer and pop, and take our hosts to the restaurant in town one or two nights that we are there. Scheels doesn't get any of that money.
 

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Henry Ford's philosophy was to build a car that his employees could afford to buy. I wonder how many Scheels employees could or would be able to afford hunting with a guide or on leased land.

My statistics professor in college used to jest about how numbers and statistics were always thrown around as absolute facts, when in reality they are sometimes pretty objective. I think that a careful review of Steve Scheels numbers would show that $2500/group is probably not close to the average.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
GOOSEPIG...how long have you been a guide for SHELDON SCHLECT in STREETER, ND??? Just thought that would be a helpful piece of info that some people on this site would like to know about you. No wonder why you don't want any restrictions on non-residents since you already have access to over 100.000 acres of private land already, and you also hunt unposted private land too...hhmmmm...doesn't quite add up does it?? Just my thoughts.
 
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