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Limiting Guides and Outfitters

6664 Views 20 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Fetch
I am a non-resident freelancer. I have enjoyed North Dakota hunting since 1975. I will be contributing a few hunting articles to this site if the management continues to accept them.

I am trying to make a positive contribution to this discussion. I think I know what the residents are complaining about. I spent one day after Thanksgiving in the Mott area looking for a place to hunt pheasants. I was appalled by the extent of posting which had virtually 100% of the land locked up. We were the only damned fools we saw all day trying to find just one field to hunt in. If, the waterfowl hunting situation in the prime areas becomes the same thing, North Dakota will be absolutely ruined.

I am also a "regulator" by profession, but not a lawyer. I have a lot of experience trying to control various types of land uses so that the use of the land provides for the general public welfare. It seems to me we ought to be able to come up with some way to limit the extent of guiding and leasing operations. Although, it certainly is easier to develop regulations to limit non-residents than it is to limit guiding operations. My philosophy is that if the guides are the bad guys, let's control them not the non-residents. Controlling the guides should somewhat reduce the total number of non-residents entering the state to hunt. The big payoff will be that it will open up access to locals. They may not care how many non-residents are in the area if they can get access to hunt.

The public purpose behind the proposed regulation of guides is to allow all hunters access to hunt while still allowing for economic development opportunities for local farmers and outfitters.

It has been said that an effort to limit the number of acres a guide could lease is easily circumvented when the guide puts the lease in another family member's name. I think that could be addressed by fine-tuning the regulations. Legislators and the lobbyists are great at doing this. For example, the restricting language might read something to the effect that , "Any guide, outfitter, individual, including members of his/her family related by blood, marriage, or adoption and any employee, or other person related contractually in any way to said guide or individual shall not lease more than XXX acres of property in any township in the State of North Dakota for the purposes of providing exclusive access for hunting for others who would pay for such privilege."

There are probably some things with this language that are unclear, but I am confident that it could be revised to remove any serious loopholes.

Here is another alternative. It is a derivation of the first alternative.

Put a limit on the number of acres that can be leased for hunting purposes in each township - for example, 1280 acres per township. That's the equivalent of two sections or 1/18 (5.6%) of the township. For ease of calculation, any part of a farmer's property that is leased shall render all of his contiguous holdings leased. If the farmer happens to have more than the 1280 contiguous acres under this provision, the guide and farmer shall not be in violation of the 1280 acre limit and the property may be leased for hunting purposes.

Yes, I realize that only 6% of the township landowners will be allowed to benefit from pay hunting. You can fiddle with that percentage if you want to. But, in the end, the guy who gets his land "registered" first is the one who benefits. This could be addressed by allowing any one landowner to lease his land for hunting only one out of every five years. Then, the guides would have to rotate their operations just as the farmer rotates his crops. Some land has to be fallow every few years.

In both of these alternatives, the guide receiving the lease rights would have to register with the County. The county auditor would be responsible for keeping track of the number of acres leased in each township in the county. The local sportsman's clubs would be asked to help with the enforcement. Increase, hunting license fees $10 to help pay for the enforcement.

These are just two ideas that put the onus on the guide and farmer, not the non-resident hunter. It allows the resident to compete at a decided advantage over the non-resident. The resident can always get out there early and get permission to hunt. Getting permission does not constitute leasing unless money changes hands. The non-resident will be able to hunt what's left. I think that I can live with that.

Are these proposed solutions complicated? I would say so. But, this is a complicated problem that will not be solved by simple, knee-jerk solutions. We are all going to have to work real hard on this one.

Have at it!
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Let me be the devils advocate - (I like the idea) BUT it will never fly, unless put on the ballot & city hunters voted it in. & then Farmers would all be so mad (land rights issues) even if they did'nt plan on selling or leasing their land, they would post it tight for sure, in protest.

It is their land & they can do what they want. Plus they hate the gov. telling them everything.

I wish there were ways to financialy reward them, not to let guides & outfitters use their lands. So even they would feel stupid if they did ??? That is why programs like Block management in Montana seem to make sense. Let the G&FD lease lands & raise fees for all. (especially NR :wink: ??? )to get the money to do this. (Plus use some of that 20 million in reserves).PS I don't think the G&FD should be considered gov. they should be totally for wildlife & those that pay by licenses etc. - the farmers & land owners & city folks all used to highly respect them. But where have they been ??? don't they see or brain storm these things ??? Where are the regional advisors ??? No new Positive ideas ???

[ This Message was edited by: Fetch on 2002-04-24 18:54 ]
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Maybe this is in the works ??? Hilldebrand said recently he needs to hire more people to sell farmers & land owners on ideas like this. Plus enforcement & regulators. Even more people to help work on habitat etc. These would be good jobs - real economic development.

& Not just more people living in Bismarck & doing this near Bismarck :roll:

Why not invest in things like this that are Win - Win - Win - Win etc. etc. - There are answers to all these things if people would listen & quit being stubborn or greedy or selfish or angry or un-trusting etc etc.

Imagine all of ND being turned into great habitat for wildlife. ( a even better paradise for hunters) & manage it for hunters to share. Not to disrupt farming in any way - but in partnership with them - so they make a good living & want to participate ???

It has always been said find a way to have farmers & landowners to profit from raising ducks and there would be no shortage of ducks.

What if the G&FD had a program like the cannonball ??? only open to all ??? a non profit (where profits went back to enhance wildlife & hunting) instead of individuals & rich people ???

I know this could work - maybe even a cooperative ??? --- there is no more free ride in any of this - But it would sit better with hunters if it were not privatized completely - as in pay per gun - or lodges etc. or leasing.

Leasing or buying land for hunting(by out of staters & in staters - is / could be still a problem. But putting limits on that, would fly better, than telling farmers what they can & can't do ( especially right now)

Why not tax incentives or tax credits for farmers & landowners that participate in a program like this - as another incentive ???

& not just duck but pheasants - sharptails - partridge - predator hunting - gopher / praire dog shooting - deer - everything ???

Man I wish Teddy R - or someone like him lived in ND today & had the political & economic savy to make this work. ND is great to OK now for these things & I believe that is mostly because of nature. If all could get on the same page & really support hunting & really make ND the best it could be ??? & it could be so much better - if all were on the same team & had the same goals ??? this could be huge !!!

I wish this could be so big & so profitable to farmer that they could say screw farming for grain etc. Lets grow wildlife & habitat for hunting ??? I bet there alot that are so fed up with farming & prices & the gov support system of today they would gladly jump at the opportunity. Heck why not get the Fed. gov to put some of the ag money into this like they have CRP. etc. - SOMETHING NEW HAS TO BE TRIED. What we have been doing is not working. For any of us ???

[ This Message was edited by: Fetch on 2002-04-24 19:04 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Fetch on 2002-04-24 19:09 ]
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Imagine if all the good hunting lands were say like our state parks ??? Not state owned (that would be cost prohibative - I think PLOTS is too expensive & DU type projects are not the answer either) But if we paid landowners to lease them - & have access & they were preserved & improved & managed for hunting ??? By people who really knew how to do it. Would'nt that be great ???

[ This Message was edited by: Fetch on 2002-04-25 07:07 ]
Now why does this thread have just as many views - But now no replys ???

I swear alot of people don't want answers - unless they fit in their special interests (& I'll add narrow special interests)

I have said from the begining - There are answers if some would brainstorm - THINK out side the box - have courage etc etc
MRN I agree - As long as they have to compete with the freelancers, no problem & if they hunt their own land, no problem -

But now they want as much as they can get (I don't know how they afford it ???) But if there were another way for landowners to profit from their lands & let most all hunt - I think many would do that.

Guides have way to much land posted - even then you will find them set up in fields that most anyone can hunt (if they scouted the night before & it held birds)

I have tried to tell many guides they should consider having a hotline & after they choose their fields for the next day, let others use them (even rent them) But they are not interested in sharing (this is one of the things that has pizzed me off more than anything) I hope they get what they deserve !!! They sure do not deserve as much (political / economic) power & praise as they are getting. & unless we all get involved & keep the pressure on. The ones that should /could change things will sit on their hands & wish the problem would go away on it's own - But it will only get worse.

The other freelance hunters better be speaking up & say the right things - not attack residents, that want change. Or the wrong message will be heard & as I have already said they (guides) want a compromise, because they are way ahead. & they are doing everything they can to SPIN things to make them look like they are or will be picked on. They have the tourism - hospitality & chambers of commerce & many farmers & landowners buffaloed - & doing their screeming & whining. THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THINGS AFTER THIS. If we don't get together & quit in-fighting & nit picking & get folks out to these meetings & then (if nessessary) go after the Legislature. I don't see ND or NR hunters having a chance of stopping commercialization & even more negative restrictions (& problems) in the future.

If they win, then it will become mostly shooting & the more money you have the better your opportinities will be - Just like most other states.
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Very good Mallard - I was going to say there is no Libility to landowners in ND as long as they donot charge for access. That is why they should consider other state run programs- to be compensated for allowing hunting.

I really wonder if all Farmers / Landowners know this ???

I know NR's have a hard time understanding it - It is but another of the special Laws that makes ND unique.
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