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This is from The paper in Dickinson.Of course it is heavily favored towards the guides and outfitters.

Board hears bird worries

By ALAN REED, The Dickinson Press March 06, 2002

Proponents of a proposed early opening date for the 2002 pheasant season far outnumbered opponents as the North Dakota Game & Fish held its second statewide advisory board meeting on the matter at the Dickinson KC Club Tuesday evening.

Just over 100 people from the heart of the state's pheasant country braved treacherous road conditions to debate the merits of opening the pheasant season one week earlier on Oct. 5. A total of 16 people formally testified in favor of the early opener, while only four individuals came forward Tuesday to speak in favor of keeping the traditional Oct. 12 opening date.
It was recently discovered that Gov. John Hoeven supported a Game & Fish recommendation to open this fall's season one week early. Resident hunters, however, have since said they weren't consulted on the matter and oppose the idea.
Hoeven has slated a series of advisory board meetings across the state over the next two weeks to gather resident comment on the issue.
Supporters of the early opener rallied around the economic development benefits of the idea. They also say there are plenty of pheasants to be hunted in the state.
Opponents to the earlier opener point to problems with game management, using a natural resource as an economic development tool and access to prime hunting land.
North Dakota Guide and Outfitters representative Jim Nagel of Bismarck opened Tuesday's testimony in favor of the earlier date by saying his group is willing to meet with opposing sporting groups to clear the air regarding the pheasant opener.
"Let's clear the pheasant issue first and create some common ground to go into the next legislative session," Nagel said.
He said access to prime hunting land is the real issue behind the pheasant situation. Nagel also wanted to reinforce the fact that his group supported a legislative bill to keep guides from hunting on land leased for the public.
Rancher Ron Wanner from Golden Valley said it's a shame to see activists involved in the pheasant season debate.
"They are watching out for their own necks," Wanner said.
Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau President Diana Knutson said the city's hospitality and lodging tax collections were up in 2001 because of the hunting activity in the area. Knutson said city lodging tax collections increased 9 percent while the hospitality tax collections increased 6 percent.
"We feel the state needs to strike a balance between economic stimulation and cooperation," Knutson added.
Dickinson CVB Executive Director Terri Thiel later said pheasant hunting is a great asset in southwestern North Dakota that needs to be promoted for the dollars it generates in the region.
Thiel also sees pheasant hunting "as one more tool" for area farmers and ranchers to earn an income that allows them to stay on their land.
Gene Harris, a Killdeer rancher who is president of the North Dakota Stockmen's Association, said his group stands behind its earlier action to support Hoeven's decision for the early opener.
"We don't need to go head-to-head with residents of our own state regarding access," Harris said.
Streeter's Wade Schlecht said he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars stocking pheasants and establishing food plots on his ranch and favors the early opener.
Meanwhile, Ben Olien of Mott spoke on behalf of the Mott Chamber of Commerce and Mott Development Corporation.
"Our Main Street is absolutely dependent on the hunting season," he said.
He said the season should be extended at the beginning of the year because of the nicer weather. At the same time, Olien added a lot of roosters remained at the end of the most recent season that could have been shot.
Bowman-area outfitter John Hanson said there has been very little discussion concerning solutions to issues regarding the pheasant season.
"I think we're focused on the wrong things," Hanson said.
He said Hoeven did a great thing to propose an earlier opening date.
"Great leaders can always be identified by the arrows sticking out of their backs," Hanson said in regards to criticism Hoeven has received.
As for those supporting the traditional opening date, Bismarck's Mike Donahue held up pages of paper with 526 signatures from people who opposed the earlier opener. Donahue spoke on behalf of the North Dakota Wildlife Federation and the United Sportsmen for North Dakota.
"We are upset because we're hanging a dollar on the pheasant to start with," Donahue said. "And then what is next that's going to be managed with a dollar sign?"
Donahue said neither the access issue nor bag limits are driving the pheasant debate.
"Management and how we manage is the issue," he said.
Hettinger's Darcy Aberle said he is against the early pheasant opener because economic development is being attached to the issue.
"I want something to hunt when I'm 50 years old, 60 years old," Aberle said.
Dickinson's Gary Masching said he is concerned about the growing number of hunters who bother landowners the opening weekend of the season to gain permission.
"I think of landowner tolerance, I think of the biology of the birds, and I think of the quality of the hunting," Masching said of supporting the traditional opening date.
Dickinson's Curt Decker drew the loudest round of applause from Tuesday's crowd when he asked those who charge to hunt to offer reasonable rates to resident hunters.
The father of a nine-year-old son, Decker said, "I can't afford $50 to $100 a day to take him hunting."
He told landowners to "bring the non-residents in and fleece them, but don't drive (resident hunters) out."
Mott's Mark Resner also said that the popularity of hunting in southwestern North Dakota is driving up land prices.
He pointed to one purchase by a group whose managing partner is from Eden Prairie, Minn., that resulted in land being bought for $525 an acre.
"That value is not based on ag productivity. Ag production can't support that $525 an acre," Resner said.
As more out-of-state residents pay inflated prices to purchase land for hunting, Resner said, "the ag sector will eventually suffer and the rest of North Dakota with it."
 

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There will never be a shortage of Non Residents that will pay to hunt. There is always someone with more money, than the other guy. At some point some wealthier people don't care at all about the cost. They buy the land, just to hunt.

I used to take pheasants trips every year (several) all I could afford. Not only is it now harder to find good hunting without paying. Or farmers that are sick of the bother. But it is also harder to compete for Motels & a place at the local resturants. They are so full & have been for years. Especially certain weeks.

I'd think it would be better to spread all these hunters out - thru out the season - across the state? (The opener should be for Residents.) More zones & a lottery for non residents could do this, for all hunting.

What the hospitality Assn. should be asking for, is to make this all work to their advantage. Get their motels & resturants full thru out the season. Not just the opener or the two weekends of the Minn. & Wisc. teacher conventions.

Plus you would think they would want a study of how to distribute these pay hunters & non residents more equitably around the state. Where are the rooms ? & where are the birds ? where is there huntable land ?

Something else they forget is. That most Non residents are Freelance (won't pay to hunt). The pay to hunt folks are a small minority & those that profit from them. But they want most of the land for this group.

The hospitality folks should see the light & support the resident & non resident hunters. We are the real ones spending money, on hunting, in their communities. We are the real ones that are angry & fed up with how things are going. These lobbyies need to re-think. What is really in their best interest & promote things that will really help them.

Help find & meet with landowners that post their lands. But would accept money from a program supported by habitat or Access stamps. To let us freelance hunters feel welcome in their communities & regions. Then all could be happy.

The outfitters & guides will always have their pay clients. & most of the bigger ones want to profit from all aspects of their coming here by renting them a room & providing meals. They even sell them shells & they don't buy as much gas, cause the guides take them out.

If the Non Resident Freelance hunters would join us residents, that are trying to make this clear. It would be a no brainer, what is best for the majority & state. Best for ND best for the towns that have hunting & services to attract hunters.

The state tourism & G&FD need to get some people who understand the real issues & economics involved in what is happening. Find ways to improve our heritage & special rules & unique resources.

IT is greed that is the problem. Those trying to make a substantial profit. Or too stubborn (or blind)to work with the real hunters. To develop real programs & real solutions to make things better.

We need new blood at the top of these groups. That understand how it all works. Not just bureaucrats that react instead of lead. People that really understand the economics & what is real in outdoor recreation.

It is sad what is & has recently happened. But it is the wake up call to us all. That things do need to change. Before special interests & people, who don't have a clue, make things worse. Obviously free enterpise & government have just drifted & not seen the problems, or had any vision how to solve them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well said Fetch.It will be interesting now what the eastern part of the state has to say.
 

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This morning a local talk host(east) had the Cannonball Club manager on the radio. He stated that 20% of their land is open to the public if the farmer is asked for permission . . . sure wish I could believe that. I don't! I have heard that the CB club is now trying to lease land in north central ND for duck hunting.
I agree with one of the above posts in that the big money uses these guys for their hunting trips. I have a number of friends from MN that won't pay and can't afford $200.00/day/gun. A dad and two kids $600.00/day for 9 pheasants . . .no way! They are freelancing just as the normal ND guy. We need to continue to have opportunites for these people but also have to find someway to limit the big money guys.
 

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That article was a complete joke. I guess it's what we expected though from that region. The majority of the meetings will be against it I think. It looks like the Minot meeting was generally against it and just wait until some of the eastern most meetings will be held where there are more people. I want to attend the Grand Forks meeting but am going to be in SD. I hate to be one of the guys complaining and then not follow through by going to the meetings but I will be co-hosting a large group of guys from WI for spring snows and just can't make it back then.

What really irks me about the article was that they tried to make Hoeven look like a martyr. You think the people would realize from the evidence on the table (i.e. the letter from Hoeven to Cannonball a year ago promising the opener) that this isn't being done for their economic benefit, but simply as a you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. It's like they don't realize Cannonball hosted politcal fund raisers for Hoeven.

I can't believe Cannonball would think the people in this state are naive enough to be lead to believe that they keep 20% of their land open to hunting with permission? It must be the 20% that is agriculture and then tilled halfway through the season. Even that they would still probably charge a fee for...
 

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On 2002-03-06 10:03, Fetch wrote:
There will never be a shortage of Non Residents that will pay to hunt. There is always someone with more money, than the other guy. At some point some wealthier people don't care at all about the cost. They buy the land, just to hunt.

I used to take pheasants trips every year (several) all I could afford. Not only is it now harder to find good hunting without paying. Or farmers that are sick of the bother. But it is also harder to compete for Motels & a place at the local resturants. They are so full & have been for years. Especially certain weeks.

I'd think it would be better to spread all these hunters out - thru out the season - across the state? (The opener should be for Residents.) More zones & a lottery for non residents could do this, for all hunting.

What the hospitality Assn. should be asking for, is to make this all work to their advantage. Get their motels & resturants full thru out the season. Not just the opener or the two weekends of the Minn. & Wisc. teacher conventions.

Plus you would think they would want a study of how to distribute these pay hunters & non residents more equitably around the state. Where are the rooms ? & where are the birds ? where is there huntable land ?

Something else they forget is. That most Non residents are Freelance (won't pay to hunt). The pay to hunt folks are a small minority & those that profit from them. But they want most of the land for this group.

The hospitality folks should see the light & support the resident & non resident hunters. We are the real ones spending money, on hunting, in their communities. We are the real ones that are angry & fed up with how things are going. These lobbyies need to re-think. What is really in their best interest & promote things that will really help them.

Help find & meet with landowners that post their lands. But would accept money from a program supported by habitat or Access stamps. To let us freelance hunters feel welcome in their communities & regions. Then all could be happy.

The outfitters & guides will always have their pay clients. & most of the bigger ones want to profit from all aspects of their coming here by renting them a room & providing meals. They even sell them shells & they don't buy as much gas, cause the guides take them out.

If the Non Resident Freelance hunters would join us residents, that are trying to make this clear. It would be a no brainer, what is best for the majority & state. Best for ND best for the towns that have hunting & services to attract hunters.

The state tourism & G&FD need to get some people who understand the real issues & economics involved in what is happening. Find ways to improve our heritage & special rules & unique resources.

IT is greed that is the problem. Those trying to make a substantial profit. Or too stubborn (or blind)to work with the real hunters. To develop real programs & real solutions to make things better.

We need new blood at the top of these groups. That understand how it all works. Not just bureaucrats that react instead of lead. People that really understand the economics & what is real in outdoor recreation.

It is sad what is & has recently happened. But it is the wake up call to us all. That things do need to change. Before special interests & people, who don't have a clue, make things worse. Obviously free enterpise & government have just drifted & not seen the problems, or had any vision how to solve them.
Since, I am a former resident, now the dreaded non-resident, I wanted to weigh in on one factor that has eluded these meetings. Someone locally needs to bring up the issue of paying taxes on the revenue charged by the outfitters, landowners, etc. If the strategy of the outfitters is to polarize this issue as economic, than fine. Somebody from the general public needs to bring this matter to the forefront and ask these outfitters and landowners how much they paid into the State last year for revenue they generated from selling hunting time.

I'll bet you get a collective groan from these interests when this issue is brought public.
 

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AMEN brother! I too am a former resident but am still very much in tune with and sympathetic to the resident concerns. I can't help but wonder how many of these "guides", outfitters (sheldon, we are coming for you!), and farmers really claim their fees for taxes every year. If the state truly wants to see economic benefits then it too will have to benefit as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A bill was in the Legis.last year to require them to report income to the Tax Dept. and GNF.They managed to get it voted down.I'm guessing it will be brought up again next year.
 

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I tried to post the above post at F B earlier this week. Not there ??? I wrote them 2 days ago and asked why ? still nothing ??? I just wrote them again - this time not as nice. Telling them it is well known that they side with the commercial interests. & that their censorship & who they support, is getting comical & most ND residents know it. I tell ya these people & the politicians are just stalling and thinking this issue is going to go away. Plus they will get a compromise that suits them. It is TIME for all ND outdoor sports people, that really care, to turn up the pressure & write & call & email & drop the gloves and come out swinging. Tell those in office to wake up. The pheasant thing is only the begining. We are sick of the direction they are considering going. ND G&F dept. is not there to help the commercial interests. It is about time someone there has some GUTS and comes out & says, what we keep hearing, they really feel. If they receive political backlash. The outdoors recreation tax payers of this state will try to help you & support you & even admire you. Seems 50 to 1 or more is substantial. & how they are trying to control these meetings & not allow questions, tells me they want to try & SPIN this some how, in the best light they can. I have been a Republican. But this is making me think twice. When business can screw with something as important, as this is, to so many of us - is unreal !!! We need a independant thinker / doer - not the status quo network of Ying Yangs trying to run things & criticise each other & take credit for everything - like normal government. This is too important to for that. & FB is no longer on my computer.

[ This Message was edited by: Fetch on 2002-03-08 21:30 ]
 

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That was a big motivator for getting this site up. Discussion going on there is a joke, because you only see the opinions that THEY SEE FIT(people who lease help pay their bills, they'll never pay mine). How is anything ever going to get accomplished there? After trying to post unsuccessfully for a month without getting one post on, I quit going and got working on this site.

That's censorship at it's finest. You can pay there to get your posts to show up immediately, but they can still delete them. My buddy is a member there and a lot of his gets deleted, and is it a coincidence that his posts deleted were about leasing of land???
:******: :******:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Fetch...I also tried to post the article from the Minot paper on Tues.It hasn't shown up either.I'm not a member there anymore either because of the censorship.
 
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