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11847 Views 37 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  prairie hunter

OK. I am conservative and mostly Republican. This thread will be difficult to write without sounding too green with envy. Will give it a try & I know I am going to ramble :

Many of you have absolutely no clue on the amount of disposable income many people have across the US. Inheritance, business and corporate growth, stock market profits, pro athlete, what ever the reason there is a lot of big money out there. I too am still very ignorant or innocent of how much money quite a few people have to spend themselves or through small business groups.

I grew up in ND but have lived in several areas outside of ND for the past 20 years. Now I am a middle class guy raising a family in a modest way. Through business contacts and through my kid's schools and teams I have begun to see some of this money first hand.

In ND many of the multi-millionaires retain a fairly modest lifestyle, especially if they live in rural settings. If they take expensive trips or lease a little hunting land - they are very quiet about their affairs. Often the homes are modest in appearance from the outside, nicer with in. I personally know several ND millionaires. No way would the average person believe it unless they knew the whole story.

Money often easier to spot elsewhere.

Most new housing developments in Twin Cities area (or Fargo for that matter) offer homes starting at 300K and may easily cross over 500K to 1 million. Who are the people buying all these homes ? That much equity out there ????

A $20 or even a $200 round of golf is small compare to many that may pay 20K or 100K for annual country club dues.

A $75 or $200 a night hotel is small compared to the $5000/night inclusive/exclusive beach resort or the million dollar beach home that some may buy and then visit once a year or less.

I have a distant relative whose father in-law purchased a lake home in MN for over 150K. He has visited in once or twice in the last five years. Guess they own it because they can.

Suites at most Viking and Wild games are full. A drywall company ownes one suite for the whole season.

Ted Turner has purchased how many large ranches in New Mexico and Montana ? Probably never visits some of them. But he is the tip of the iceberg. For every Turner there are a 10,000 or more independent, wealthy individuals or business groups out there capable of doing this on a smaller but still grand scale.

People are now dropping $500 / day to hunt pheasants in SD. Some of these corporate packages may have 20 people for 5 days each. Well that is over $50,000 that some group just dropped on entertainment in less than one week. Not to difficult to see that spending $250,000 on some prime SW ND pheasant land is a good investment even if they appear there once a year.

From other posts
That coach may lease that land every year whether he has the chance to visit each year or not. Might be the same guy who was hunting without a license in another state (WI) a couple of years ago. So are licenses even necessary to these people - who knows.

Bioman's discussion with the PA guy certainly makes some great points. These people have a week to spend and they want topshelf shooting, without hassle or interruption. $300, $500, a grand per day; does not matter. If they like what they saw, they may come back and buy their own little piece of paradise.

Does any of this matter.? Are these people stretched so far between the rest of us that they really do not impact us ? Can deterents be put in place that really work ? Or is ND simply the next target on the list ? :(
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Wow, PH, that's some pretty heady stuff. I also sense a tone of defeatism in your post.

Let's look at this two ways. Will (a) a cap on waterfowl hunters, (b) limiting nonresident uplanders to two 5-day periods, (c) restrictions designed to stop further expansion of outfitters, or (d) any other measure completely stop the purchasing and leasing of land by nonresidents? No. As you've discussed, wealth is relative, and there will always be some who buy/lease land or pay huge outfitting fees for what we view a wastefully small amount of use.

On the other hand, I believe these measures will significantly slow the pace of leasing/buying and outfitter expansion. For a long time, ND has been the path of least resistance - lowest license fees, no restrictions on the number of licenses, and most liberal hunting periods. We have also had the best combination bird hunting anywhere. By invoking some reasonable restrictions, there will be no reason for nonresidents to look to ND first because of the Nirvana-like policies and opportunites currently afforded nonresident hunters. Reasonable nonresident restrictions that will be intoduced as Bills during the next legislative session will make ND competitive with surrounding states, and will deflect some pressure elsewhere. The guy from PA can just as easily fly into Billings as Bismarck.

Some wealthy people will buy/lease hunting land regardless, but my guess is a bunch won't if they can only get a waterfowl license most, but not all, years, and if they're limited to 10 days of upland hunting. Intentions and practice are two greatly different things. Most people who make a major investment in recreational real estate plan to use it much more than they actually do. Thus, I feel reasonable nonresident restrictions will deter a fair amount of interest in buying/leasing. For a while, the 14 day waterfowl restriction worked pretty well to deter these activities, but that was when almost all of the nonresident pressure came from the Twin Cities. Now that people are more mobile and we're seeing pressure from people living even in far away areas, a cap on the number of licenses is needed to stem the additional pressure, both in terms of hunting pressure and land acquisition.

Bottom line, we know the current system is failing miserably for those of us who sacrificed business and other opportunities elsewhere for the sake of living in ND and enjoying the quality of outdoors that existed a short time ago. We've got to try something, and I think the reasonable resrictions outlined above are a pretty good start and will go a long way towards making sure future generations get a shot at the quality hunting opportunities we recently had.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am not going down without a fight, and I don't plan to lose! PH, I hope you don't either.
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I agree with both of you.I'm not going down without a fight either.As stated on another thread,we must not allow non-res. landowners ways around the restrictions.We must also get a law that prohibits guides and outfitters from using public land.

There is a full page article in todays Minot paper.I can't find it on their web page but this is what it is....TITLE..."Shooting for a compromise"
The guides and outfitters are proposing changes to help regulate industry.
1. Setting definitions for guides
2. Strengthening record keeping
3. Enforcing manditory drug testing for 10% yearly
4. Expanding funding to increase opportunities with landowners
5. Increase Res. and Non-res.habitat license fees
6. Make more deer and turkey licenses available to outfitters
7. Create a human resourses division in the GNF
8. Create a policy and disciplinary commission
9. Capping number of outfitters at 300
10. Require outfitters to have liability ins.
11. Require guides to have first aid and CPR certificates.
12. Provide that giude and outfitter fees go specifically to GNF PLOTS

These have all been presented to the interim committee.I can sure think of a few more to add to that list.
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A couple of points:

1) If NR landowners get any priority in hunting rights like they get now with the NR deer licenses - watch out, the land buying will esculate 10 fold. Look at my last post on the Luring NRs thread.

2) Would the 2 x 5 day permit be required for all upland birds or is this proposal for a pheasant stamp ? Where do grouse and partridge fit in ?

I as an ex-ND boy and many of the "average" ex-NDs living in the Twin Cities would like to see some type of 3 x 5 day permit for pheasant license in ND. This would allow one trip in October and then if time and weather permit a day or two of hunting around Thanksgiving and/or Christmas with friends and family.

Would also allow for an occasional trip back in Sept without killing the Christmas hunt if the restrictions were put in place for all upland game.
Dan...I would prefer some kind of license idea proposed by the GNF for pheasants.You would have 1 of 3 choices:

1. The first week of the season.

2. The next 2 weeks of the season.

3. The rest of the season.

This would spread out the hunters and yet still allow businesses to get hunters out there.I know my own relatives from out of state would choose number 3.And that is exactly what the GNF wants.

Some excellent points. As I have stated previously, most people in No.Dak. would never believe the miserable hunting opps that exist in states with large, metropolitan areas. These large metro areas generate prolific amounts of wealth, and with that wealth comes an abundance of expendable income, either through companies and expense accounts or extreme salaries. Any and all good hunting properties are leased by clubs, businesses, or guides catering to this money. The rest of the middle class is left to hunt the public lands along with the masses and riff raff!

I have a friend (his father owns a local paving company) here in Sac. that have been begging me to take them hunting in No.Dak. Especially, after showing these guys pics from my last two hunting trips, they have offered anything and everything for me to take them to my local spot for a week.

This will give you an idea of what commercial hunting leads to: the father pays $8,000 a year along with 11 people (each paying $8,000 for a total of $96,000) to lease a 160 acre flooded rice field. A couple of quick points: each member had to pay $16,000 up front to start the club and they only hunt on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Divide those eligible hunting days by 12 members and there aren't alot of days to go out and hunt! As far as hunting on the prop, the field is adjacent to a river that serves as a micro-flyway corridor. The property used to be fabulous prior to the state banning the burning of rice fields to remove a debilitating fungus (e.g., now the local rice farmers have to flood their fields to decompose the rice straw versus burning the field - check out the California Waterfowl Association's webpage questionnaire for the absolute laughable issues that CA hunters are trying to legislate). As a result of all this new flooding of rice fields, the birds in the state now have an extra 200 square miles that aren't necessarily hunted and the hunting on this property has hit rock bottom.

Back to my original post issue, I was telling the dad about a 135 acre parcel of native prairie that my hunting group found that is secluded and has dynamite sharp-tailed grouse hunting along with a small pothole that is usually good for some excellent mallard jump shooting. Without pause, the father said find out who owns the property and whatever price they want for it, I will send them a check. He was serious! The guy has never been to the state, never hunted sharp-tailed grouse, but has extreme amounts of expendable money to buy a property that maybe he could get to every other year.

My point... most people in No.Dak. do not know this type of money nor do they understand the type of influence this money can buy. Look at Hoeven and pheasantgate. The Cannonball Company represents this money and look what they almost got from the govna!
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PH and Ken, I don't agree with the specific upland proposals you suggest, but I love the fact that people are now talking about specific changes and getting creative in doing so, rather than just grousing about general conditions, either pro or con.

PH, You're dead on about the effect of any preferences given landowners as to waterowl and upland hunting. Don't believe these concepts have any chance during the next session, as I think everyone realizes they would ensure that huge parts of ND would shorlty be owned by absentee landowners, with all sorts of adverse consequences.

I don't, however, agree with the 3x5. Not for any particular reason other than I feel it would encourage more leasing/buying than the 2x5. I was also a nonresident for many years, and the 2x5 would have meant I could not have spent some time hunting with firends that I had been accustomed to. But, dog gone it, the upland thing has gotten beyond out of control, and we must make sure we are no longer the most appealing place for any nonresident looking for hunting ground. In doing so, there will be occasional unpleasant results for certain nonresidents that we view as not contributing to the problem. Chances are, I'll face this with my sons some day.

You won't see any of the proposed legislation pushed by most sportspersons this session containing any "favored son" provisions, as these are viewed as tricky at best and unworkable at worst. They will not be included in base changes so that base changes are straightforward and simple, therefore making their passage easier. But, once the base changes are in place, you will also not see any opposition by resident sportspesons to any form of "favored son" provison that makes sense and will not lead to more buying/leasing. Heck, we all have family and/or friends with ND background with whom we'd like to spend more time hunting. Once there's more time to reflect upon and tweak the base changes, maybe a "favored son" involving one 5-day Sept., and two 5-day Oct-Jan, only one of which could be used in Oct., would make sense?

Ken, I'm not real crazy about the G&F proposal you describe because of my experiences over the past many years. I have not had to "fee hunt" yet, and for more than 10 years (as a resident and nonresident) have traditionally hunted pheasants opening weekend, during deer gun season, closing weekend and a smattering of weekends in between. During these years, I have seen the amount of "available" land diminish significantly and the amount of pressure, including later season pressure, increase a bunch. Residents aren't the only hunters who go out of their way to develop strong landowner relations, and for the decreasing amount of land that is "available" to non-fee hunters, we ND feelancers are increasingly competing with nonresident freelancers.

If the G&F proposal was the fix and I was a nonresident hunting nut, I know what option I'd pick. I'd hunt waterfowl to freeze-up or near freeze-up, and then I'd still get my 5-6 upland trips in during the period late October to early January. For those of us residents who have become accustomed to hunting the later season to accomplish access, the later season competition for a decreasing amount of "available" ground would get worse.

Also, the prospect (admittedly, subject to weather) of hunting pheasants for some 70 days, first of Nov. to close in Jan, would still create a strong temptation for nonresidents to pick up ground, lease or buy.

No, I still feel that as to upland, the 2x5 will be the most effective way of discouarging leasing/buying and yet allow nonresidents reasonable access to our resources. Even with the HPC for waterfowl, most nonresidents will still have the opportunity to enjoy North Dakota hunting 24 days each fall, excluding any time spent deer hunting. This doesn't seem overly restrictive to me, and yet seems to go a long way towards discouarging buying/leasing by nonresidents and improving the pressure problems.
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PH, thank you for your wonderful explanation of the economics of fee hunting. You also gave some insight into how NR people with the kind of money that do go to fee hunters think.

Most (not all, I won't pretend that a comprehensive list of reasons is possible) have a couple of reasons for paying the fees that the hunting companies charge.
1. Guaranteed access.
They want the same thing that you want. They want to be able to show up and start hunting. They don't want to drive all over the countryside hoping the next farmer will let them onto the land. These people have to make their travel plans months in advance. They are using up their vacation time. They are traveling to our state. They don't want to leave the access up to the last minute. Many posters on this site have the same mentality "All the land is locked up..." "I asked 10 farmer and they all said, 'No,'..." Do either of these lines (or variations thereof) sound familiar? It is the same complaint that the NR customers are avoiding. That is why they go through fee hunting companies. This, bioman, is what I think your PA friend was talking about "working." They aren't wasting time looking for places to hunt. If you value using up valuable hunting time looking for a place and believe this is a critical part of hunting I have not read your posts. Most want this kind of access but are simply not willing to pay for it.

2. All other arrangments are made.
This is valuable too. They are willing to pay for it. They don't want to come out here and have to stay at a hotel 100 miles away from where they hunt to get a place to sleep. All the accomodations are taken care of. They know they will stay in a nice clean house/hotel and won't be hastled when they arrive. Also, many of the Cannonball Companies clients are annual visitors. Many of them have struck up friendships with local residents, guides, landowners, and their hosts in the homes that have B&Bs.

3. "Guaranteed" pheasant/fowl/insert wildlife name here
I put "guaranteed" in quotes because they can not really be guaranteed, but the fact is that many of you have pointed out that the numbers aren't there in bird population on public land (if they were, then, I believe, you wouldn't want access to the "prime" private land). They (the NR fee hunters) don't want to have to spend all day looking for good places to hunt. They don't have the time on their trips to scout the land for weeks looking for the prime places. They leave that up to the outfitter.

What the "guide/outfitter" is selling them is a package. The people that come in to pay for their hunts, their time is worth $x to them. Let's say you were to decide to go the the World Series. You wouldn't assume that you would be able to go up to the box office and purchase a ticket when you arrived. Nor do the people complain the "Non-residents" buy up most of the good seats. These people look at their hunting trips the same way.

As for those claiming that small towns don't want "resident" money, that is not true. They welcome all hunters, and I do mean all. The bar in a small town does not care whether you are a resident or not as long as you pay for your drinks. What they don't want is for their other sources of income to be artificially limited to protect your "traditions/heritage."

I find it hard to believe that with the state struggling to get money that people are fighting so hard to limit a major source of income. You can't have it both ways. These people come in to the state and spend their money here. They are charged sales tax (on all purchases including their hunting fees) and that money goes to the state to fund all programs. I commend most of the posters on this site. They have made arrangements with landowners to allow them to hunt on that land. I don't want people to think that I am strictly "pro-fee hunting." That is not completely accurate. I am very "pro-landowner." I know many of you do give things to landowners (I am heartened to see all of the hay bales sent to the western part of the state to help ranchers...did you ask if you could hunt??? I bet some of those landowners might be very willing to allow it) and many of those also have little or not trouble finding places to hunt.

I am in favor of a symbiotic relationship between hunters and landowners. The problem is not guides/outfitters (who perform mediation duties between the groups making it symbiotic..."beneficial to both") but those hunters who believe that it is their right to hunt wherever and whenever they want (I do not mean to imply that they are members/posters on this board). These are the people that are causing the problems. Unless they are dealt with, the problems will continue.
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Well Westerner - I respect your opinion- But we are at total opposite ends of the spectrums. Obviously you have not read (for meaning much that has been said here) ??? You are just stuck on landowner rights issues.

Remember we have rights also. The right to hunt all unposted land. (By Law) I agree & generally do try to ask for permission. But to lose this law - would make ND just like every other state & in no time at all we would be just like Texas & Arkansas & all states with abundance of waterfowl.

If farmers really need the income - contact the G&FD & look into the many programs for them to be compensated & improve the habitat of their lands.

I do not have the time to counter all your points now - but if you want my thoughts do a search or read back on most similar topics.

How & why do you feel the way you do ???Are you a outfitter / guide ??? Do you have land you lease to them ??? Have you ever tried to hunt somewhere else in ND - Freelance ??? used guides ??? Just trying to see why you feel / think the way you do ???

There are plenty of the kind of operations you discribe. Why do you want to see it become predominately that way ??? When is enough enough ???

& who are these imaginary hunters (residents or non residents) that think they can hunt ANYWHERE they want - You know they can't ??? & the records show very few violations like this ???
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I respect your opinion and agree that you have the right to hunt on all unposted land (public or private). That is the law and I am not arguing with it.

Why do I believe what I do? That is a fair question and deserves an answer. I grew up in SW ND. I love this land and the people that live there (I assume you feel similarly). I see their frustration when opening day comes around and people that they don't know pretend to be their "long lost friend/relative." I have actually been in their homes sometimes when this is happening and their fury with the situation is evident.

Second, I still live in the Western part of the state (Dickinson) and times are really hard there. The drought has hit us very hard this year (especially in Hettinger, Bowman, Adams, Grant couties, et al.) Dickinson is an oil boom town and there isn't much going on there. Hunting is one of the few "stable" sources of income for many people (not just landowners, but restauranteers, hotel owners, grocery stores etc...). It is something that we have to offer that we are proud of (rightfully so) and it sometimes feels like this is being taken away from us.

Third, I live in ND, I pay my taxes on time and am hearing that all kinds of programs are getting cut because of lack of revenues. Hunters (resident and non-resident) pay taxes too, I know, but why limit the amount of sales tax revenue that goes into the state cofers so that you can have a more pleasurable hunt.

Fourth, and somewhat selfishly, I admit, I enjoy hearing good things about where I live. I like talking to hunters from around the country/world gush about the wide-open spaces, clean air, beautiful land, friendly people we have here. Who wouldn't enjoy that. They remind me how lucky I am to live here.

Understandably, you want programs that benefit you. My question is, how do your plans of how to handle hunting in my part of the state benefit me and the people I care about. I don't have the numbers of dollars spent by non-resident hunters out here, but I would guess it is quite a bit (if not, people wouldn't be complaining about the cost of hunting with fee hunting organizations, put on top of that all their other meals, and other costs and it comes out to a good sum of money). If the numbers are limited, who will make up that slack in money circulating throughout the community. I do not wish to impose limits on resident hunters. They are welcome to come out too.

Also, I know these people out here. They do not respond well to being told what to do with their land and resources. Most of them are die hard isolationist republicans. They see any legislation limiting the number of hunters allowed, acres allowed to be posted (for any reason), or any other limit as politically unacceptable (not to mention unenforceable).

I do not see us as diametrically opposed. I do not oppose the your right to hunt. You also made clear that you ("generally") ask permission and if it is granted, fine. God Bless you. Good hunting. I do believe that this is a pleasurable activity for you and one that means a great deal more than I can probably understand not being a hunter myself.

In my time growing up I have seen many farmers and ranchers have their land, resources and hospitality abused by hunters (perhaps unlike yourself) who have acted, in my opinion inappropriately and not like "sports-men." As I said in my previous post, I am in favor of a symbiotic relationship where both sides benefit from the engagement. I do not care whether that benefit is in the form of friendship, political "clout," money, resources (like hay bales), or anything else. What I am opposed to is hunters who show up and claim their right to hunt over rides any rights to privacy of the people who spend their lives here.

I do not think you are a bad person, I am sorry if I gave that impression. I do not think you (or necessarily anyone else posting on this board) is part of the problem. You seem reasonably willing to discuss things (which is the purpose of a message board). I hope I have clarified the reasons for my beliefs and stands. I know my views are not popular on this board and I do not intend to be a "flamer" (someone who has posts just to stir up controversy). I would just like to see this resolved in a way that is mutually beneficial and I am trying to express why I don't think that some of the ideas expressed here would accomplish that.
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I would like to make a couple of quick points to your post. First of all, when it comes to the issue of commercial outfitters leasing property from the private landowner to gain exclusive access, just how much equity is the landowner actually generating from this scenario? If I were a betting man, I would guess that well over 90% of these landowners are being taken to the cleaners. If you look at the total payment the landowner is actually receiving for granting land access compared to the revenue generated from the take of the outfitter from his paying clients, it in most cases would be an abomination. Second, just how much of the income generated by these outfitters and landowners receiving money to grant land access is actually being reported to the State in the form of income tax. It is not uncommon for a client to tip an outfitter for a very successful hunt, is this extra income being reported? I highly doubt it. Third, how many of these outfitters are preying on the naiveté of landowners just to gain access for their paying clients? Once again, I would guess a very high proportion. Fourth, are the outfitters detailing the landowner's on the type of liability that goes with charging for a service on their land? Once again, I really doubt it.

The bottom line, the outfitter is a business that is selling a service in hopes of making a profit. If you look at any business model, you must weigh your overhead into your end profit. The outfitter has very little overhead because they are paying very little overhead money to gain access by, literally, preying on desperate landowners looking to generated extra income. If you factor in the amount of liability that a landowner inherits from this transaction, is it really a fair and equitable gain to the landowner?
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Interesting post. I will try to address your points (and they are valid and well thought out).
1. How much income is the farmer generating from this scenario? I don't know. Most of them are very private about their financial matters. I think something that needs to be kept in mind is that the outfitter has other costs over and above the cost of the land. They usually pay guides, they may have to pay the lodging if that is part of the deal. Finally, something is better than nothing. Even if the landowner is not being paid a "fair" amount, it is better than not receiving anything.

I feel it is important now to make another point clear. If you talk to the landowner, it is not the money that is their selling point. It gives them something to tell their new "friends" when they show up on the doorstep. I know of one individual who just bought some land near Regent for his private hunting (he is a resident of ND). He then put it into the Cannonball Company on the agreement that they wouldn't hunt on it while he was there hunting. I thought this was odd so when he mentioned this I asked him "why?" expecting to hear $$$. What he said was "Ever since I bought this land I have had all kinds of new 'friends' telling me how much they would like to 'catch up on old times.'" The point is, the economic development is more important for the community than the farmers. Without money, the community dies, that is the main "financial" benefit to the farmer. No farmer is (or expects to) get rich off of fee hunting.

2. State/federal income tax reporting. I don't have any figures on the money that is reported or what the laws say about "tips" in these situations. I know waiters and waitresses are taxed on the tips they make as a percentage of the amount of the total bill. In other words, they are taxed on 8% of the total bill. If your tip is 20%, they get to keep the other 12%. However, if you don't leave a tip, they are really hurting badly. I don't know if their is a law about reporting all tips received during hunting. I plead ignorance on that. I do agree that they need to pay their taxes in accordance with the laws as they are and will agree with you on that point.

3. Preying on the naivete of landowners. I think the landowners deserve more credit than this. Check on the internet. Most of the "fee hunting" operations in North Dakota, at least in the west, are locally owned and operated. Most, if not all, the money stays local. Even if there are big operations coming in to other parts of the state, the farmers/ranchers talk to eachother. They read the paper. They know what the "going" rate is for access to their land. They are not dumb. They can add and read and they know what their land is worth. I don't see these companies needing to "rip off" landowners. Is it theoretically possible, of course it is. But it is also theoretically possible for everyone in the state to have plenty of land to hunt on. That doesn't make it so.

I have done my best to answer your questions/statements. I believe strongly that outfitters need to behave ethically (in the payment of taxes, hunting on public/unposted land and other issues), but I think the vast majority of them do. They really don't need to break any laws or swindle people to make money. Besides, the farmer/rancher can always not renew the contract the following year if he feels it was a mistake (farmers don't usually sign long-term contracts) and can get more from another outfitter. Also, the outfitters invest time and money in the land (some of them even help pay for improvements to help the habitat) and they want to keep access to that land.
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I just had several comments related to your above postings:

You referred to un-sportsman like individuals who disrespect the landowers property. This happens, but make no mistake-rural landowners are NOT the only victims. The same $%&holes vandalizing your property in the country are the same punks shooting out my vehicle windows in town with their BB guns. I believe this behavior stems from parent/child relations-and granted there are older people that lack common sense when it comes to closing gates and respecting property. But even us city folk have to put up with these nimrods! The difference I see today compared to when I was a youth is: I went hunting/fishing with my Dad/ (mom sometimes) almost every weekend and alot of weeknights. We were outdoors people and I was taught to respect my guns, the landowners & property and most of all to enjoy the quality time you have with friends. What I fear will happen is that Fathers won't be able to spend quality time with their sons/daughters if things don't improve. For example- I have a 13 year old daughter who loves to go with me- she doesn't hunt- just rides along- walks with me and the dog and tells me about her week. However, it sucks that I have to drive 75 miles to get access to some land!!! It isn't like it was when I was a kid, after work Dad came home, packed a cooler (standard back then) and we drove ten miles out of town and hunted sharpies or pheasants. Not the case anymore. If the people of this state cared about their young folks, we would work out our access issues so parents could spend quality time with their kids, instead of it being this huge issue of scouting for a week to try and find some land not caught up in this mess. I don't know about the rest of you-but I can't afford to pay a couple hundred $$ per weekend. I would love nothing more than to throw the Sony Play Station out the window and spend the weeknights & weekends in the outdoors. But walking through a paved trail in the park is not my idea of an outdoors experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Secondly, I know alot of people caught up in this mess. I know familys out in your neck of the woods who are feuding-because 1 brother has his land tied up and the other doesn't. They don't agree on the issue. The bottom line is property owners have the right to do what they want with their property.

HOWEVER, this is where I disagree- If a landowner wants to post his land and use outfitters/guides FINE! But then don't take any tax money! Farm Programs, CRP any of it! Just make a living like everyone of us in the city has tooo! We don't get any government hand outs. We don't have any "bail out" programs. What ticks me off is I want to see the farmers make a good living and would support any issues they wanted me to support. I honestly don't know enough about farm issues to make a case-but I would listen and support farmer agenda's. I would do just about anything to help a farmer who needed it! But you landowners need to understand who your friends are! On one hand they want us to support their voice and vote for people that have strong agricultural ties and might help pass a decent Farm Bill (some year)- but on the other hand they say your a resident with a small checkbook so stay the hell off my land! I have friends that are family farmers and I do have access through that channel- and I want to see legislation passed that will benefit them, but on the other hand-I get so tired of being told "NO" that I often wonder if it wouldn't be better if the JOLLY GREEN GIANT OWNED AND MANAGED ALL THE LAND IN ND???? That is why I believe a Landowners/Sportsman Organization is needed.

Further more-even if you had a 100 Cannonball set-ups- they will NEVER generate the type of economic revenues a strong farm economy can. It is a pipe dream! But with rural ND (and America) shrinking this will never happen if people don't learn to understand each others issues and form a united front to make some changes where we can all benefit. Don't you believe it is damaging to everyone in this state if this rift between landowners and city folks/sportsman is not resolved- NOBODY WINS-NOT EVEN THE LANDOWNERS! THE GUIDES AND OUTFITTERS DO NOTHING MORE THAN WIDEN THE GAP BETWEEN LANDOWNERS/SPORTSMAN :******:
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Wow, you are obviously VERY FRUSTRATED with the current situation. I don't blame you, the current stand is frustrating.

I know non-rural residents also deal with serious vandalism issues. The difference is that those vandals are not claiming the "right" to be on your property (assuming your car/pick-up is parked on your driveway). I suppose your theory about parent/child relationships is possible, but I don't see the DIRECT connection with what is being discussed (but it is an interesting topic).

I think it is admirable that you were able to have the time with your dad hunting and fishing and think it is great that you are able to spend time with your daughter in an activity you both enjoy. Keep it up, you will be happy you did.

As for taking tax money away, I disagree fully.

1. The farmers/ranchers pay taxes too. They have the right that their property rights be protected.

2. The receipt of government payments does not make the landowner or any of his property public. Programs such as PLOTS do that and I agree with them as healthy interactions between landowners and hunters. The landowner receives money from the state on the agreement that he will have his land open to hunting. That seems reasonable, fair, and different than saying that CRP is public land.
Lots of industries receive public help. For instance, the airline industry received huge government subsidies to make up for losses after 9/11. That does not give people the legal right to demand that the airlines are then free public transportation.
Government payments insure Americans the most abundant and dependable food supplies in the world. When was the last time there was a famine and wide spread starvation in the US? Why do you think a loaf of bread can be routinely purchased for less than $1?

3. Government subsidy and disaster payments are made to farmers. What farmers do with their land during the off season is their business and is a separate business enterprise. If subsidies were paid on the basis of hunting land and hunting resources, then your point would have more validity. CRP contracts and other programs make explicitly no mention of hunting and I don't foresee that being added.

4. I am not claiming that hunting companies will "save" the rural economies. What they are is helping bring in money to a part of the state that has very little (less than any other region). Something is better than nothing. In fact, I will try to track down the source, but I read that the average income in Cass County is over $26000; the average in Hettinger County is under $15000.

I believe that the problem is that there is no organization expressly mediating. All involved organizations are expressly one side or the other. I would love for their to be an organization that would be landowners and sportsmen. I am willing to brainstorm a way to set it up. My first question is how would it be set up? Who would be in charge? How are its members chosen? I am willing to discuss these issues.
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Westerner, I understand some of where you are coming from. Like I said in the previous post- I don't really understand farming issues and probably shouldn't comment like I do. It is just something that drives me crazy! Maybe I live in past and long for things to be the way they were. Even back then, most of the land was posted-however you simply drove in the yard and asked permission. On a normal day- we would ask permission and occassionally stop back and my Dad would have a beer with the Landowner (from his cooler, which he always had) :wink: Sometimes I get very angry with farmers and ranchers as you folks probably do with some of us city folks- but for example:

Two years ago I went on a mule deer hunt with my father, we used to go all the time, but getting a license nowdays is difficult. When we got out west (medora) most of the public land was "grazed" down to nothing and the private land looked great-except it was posted and we were denied access :sniper: I guess it is stuff like this that sends me over the edge.

Anyway, It is this exact dialogue we are having that I think the State needs to have. I don't believe we (city folks) really understand the plight of the rural communities-we get caught up in our busy city lives. At the same time I don't believe rural ND really understands how much red blooded tradition is built into us. Maybe we can't accept change-but honestly I preferred the way things used to be. Just like you stated the people in your area don't like to be told what to do- I think we city folks (especially those who grew up in rural areas) have a stubborn streak as well. Maybe it is this stubborness that won't allow us to just give up to the guides and outfitters??

I would like to see representatives from a group like Nodak Outdoors and another group of Landowners or Landowners Association set up a working committee. In my eyes there should be about 4 people from each group for a total of 8 people on the committee. We could have 2 people (1 sportsman & 1 Landowner) from each basic corner of the state, so all could be represented. However, I think the group would have to be small in order to accomplish anything. They should have meetings once per month and it could take place in a private chatroom or in person or combination. Hopefully we could use an organization like this one (NoDak Outdoors) and a Landowners newletter (does one exist?) to keep people informed on what the organization is doing. I don't know if we would want/ or say any 1 person is in charge- because it might be viewed as 1 group trying to steer the other one way or another.

I think the group would have several purposes and these are just my opinions and I'm open to suggestions:

1. Listen to Landowner concerns and take steps to help correct them- for instance as you mentioned having people show up unannounced with the idea they can do whatever they want. Do more to get people (especially residents to develop relationships with Landowners and respect their property).

2. Inform us (Sportsman) what can be done to help the family farmer- is legislation needed? Can we buy some of our food directly from the farmer and elminate the middle man? What can we do to help?

3. Help Landowners understand why sportsman feel threatened by Guides/Outfitters and what can be done to make everyone happy. For example- would outfitters consider giving sportsmans groups some level of access in return for help with habitat or helping out in some way? Is it possible for Guides and Outfitters to remain in business without posting/denying access to most of the county??? Can the average "Joe" who doesn't have a big checkbook get access somehow?

4. Ensure each side understands the sacrafices each side has made:

*Landowners make a sacrafic by continuing to farm/work the lands in these tough times.

*Sportsman make a sacrafice by staying in ND and working for less money while at the same time wanting a better way of life than in metro areas.

Rural areas would dry up and go away without farmers-however I believe about the only thing ND has to offer its residents is quality outdoors experiences-NONE OF US ARE HERE FOR THE MONEY AND GREAT OPPORTUNITIES!

Now the question is how to organize? Does this format seem appropriate?
Can we all put our differences aside to come up with a win win solution?
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Westerner I appricate your level headed way of coming here & posting a very real perception from out west. You are more than welcome to stay & give us your views - But be assured we will counter most of what will be said . I will do my best to keep it civilized & real. None of us need to get mad & be insulting to each other. These problems & concerns are real & wishing they will go away won't change anything. Also sound bites in the media are not going to help solve any of this. I just hope that some of the stubborn opposition will try to listen & see what the true feelings of their fellow ND residents are & why.

There has been way too much negative( hyped ) rural legends, that won't go away. That get used to rally support to persuade others to jump on their bandwagons. I wish we could move beyond these & bury them (or educate) those that can't let them go ??? Sure some are true - But they are no-way representative of the majority of freelance hunters.

I have not read all the replys above & have to leave now for DL.

The main thing I want to mention to your 1st response to my 1st post here is. The Fact is ND residents out spend all NR's hunters in this state significantly (I don't have the figures - but someone will & hopefully post them for you) Plus very few who go to guides & outfitters - spend money in your towns - Again it is the Freelance Residents & Non Residents that do. & these are the ones we want to welcome & ensure they will have quality hunting.

Yes it is sad that so many ask at the last minute. But it is really a problem that can't be helped. I know many only hunt the same areas, or fields, or lands all the time. But many more that come to hunt for a week or two - or those that hunt every weekend. Scout & go where the game is. It is a big part of hunting. & then spend alot of time & effort to find the owner of the property & ask. This is why signs should be more specific. I appreciate a sign that says don't even ask. Or hunting with permission only. & if they don't care then leave it unposted & they won't be bothered. (& many really do like this) that is why it can be confusing if you should even ask or not. I have more laugh at me & say it isn't posted . Or look at you like why are you bothering me. If all land was posted it would be even worse for those that donot want to be bothered.
Signs should also have phone #'s on them & even hours to call or not call ??? They should be clear to read - or else they are breaking the law & their signs are really not up to date & legal. Now I have always said if it's posted even if unreadable or not signed or dated. The intent is they don't want you there. Why hassle them (if in doubt ask) But I will tell you alot of land gets posted by folks that do not own it - or they are not following the wishes of the owner. Plus many times the owner will say yes or the renter & the other does not like it.

I wish someone would study this & determine all the positives & negatives of signs. Or like I posted in another thread, a example of how Sask. puts out hunter & landowner surveys & posts the results. This would help to understand each other & help find ways to resolve issues. For too long we all have let things just drift ( the old if it ain't broke don't fix it.) I think it time for clarification & education. & this must come from the G&FD. Because if it comes from sportsman groups or farm groups or toursim groups or chambers of commerces. All have their own views & slants (both positive & negative) Leadership & new ideas are needed from all involved - we all need to ignore the extremes to some extent. Cause i don't think they are going to compromise or do what is best for all.

I got to go I'll read more & catch up Sunday evening.
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Thank you for the promise of civility. I will do all in my power to remain respectful and civil as well.

Are the anecdotes I give "urban/rural legends"? No, I am afraid not. I have talked to landowners the day that some of these events occured. I have been at their house when the landowner returned from chasing them off of his land. These things do happen.

I do not mean to imply that these are represenative of "sportsmen" and I agree that they are the vast MINORITY. The reason they are an issue is that when they ask to hunt they do not say, "We will plan on leaving your gates open," or "Never mind garbage cans, we will just put our stuff on the ground." There is no way for the landowner to know so they tend to mistrust everyone. I apologize as I know it keeps many "good" sportsmen off the land.

As for who spends more money, that is not my point. As I have said before, townspeople do not care whether you are from in-state, out of state or wherever, as long as you pay. What they object to is being told that the quota of customers has been met. Try again later.

I suppose that in some areas that free-lance hunters spend more, but in the pheasant season in Stark, Hettinger, and other counties out here, there are a lot of people who are here with fee hunting. Then, I am also taking into account the money they spend on the fee hunt. That is all inserted into the local economy as well. Also, many of them come from further away and do not bring coolers, shells, or anything but their clothes and gun. I would be interested to see an economist do a study on the economic effects of hunting and separate the fee from free-lancers.
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You are obviously much calmer while writing this post. Honestly, I like your ideas and they are a good start. I don't think that more "urban" residents are that far disconnected from their rural counterparts (if that were the case, I don't think there would be a desire to spend time their hunting). What I see as the problem is lack of communication. Both sides implicitly mis-trust the other and anything that comes from that group is automatically suspect. The same thing happens every few years in baseball and that is why they threaten "STRIKE" so often.

There are many problems with setting up hunting policy for the state. Mainly, which "hunting" do you start with? Wetlands/Uplands? Deer? Other?

I really like your idea about having represenatives from all over the state and have them be equal. I would want to add a couple of more people, first of all, the director of G&F should be included, as well as 2 legislators so that they have first hand info on what the issues are and not just heresay and newspaper articles to go by. Other than that, I think that it would just come down to finding people to fill the posts that would be willing to negotiate and not just argue unbudgingly.

Also, concessions need to start somewhere. What we have now is both sides pleading "victim" legitimately. (There was a great editorial in the Bis. Trib. a while ago where it says, "How do you define 'conservative' when one side favors 'tradition' while the other side fights for 'landowner rights,'").

I actually really liked the idea about limiting the number of licenses allowed in a given period of time to spread things out more. Even in the SW, after about the first 4 weeks there is much less hunting. Most of this is due to weather as many less dedicated hunters don't want to get too cold while they are hunting.

Most landowner concerns I have heard are basically in two categories, and neither one of them has to do with income in the form of money.

1. Too many hunters. It is overwhelming to them and they don't know where to draw the line. Do they let on the first 15, 10, 2, none? Everyone shows up at about the same time (opening weekend) and tells their tale about how they just want to hunt, just once. Eventually the landowners become jaded and don't care anymore, even though the hunter has done nothing wrong. They are just asking after all. These are some of the scenarios that generate bad blood on both sides. Often, too, the landowner has already promised the hunting to a friend/relative and are preserving the good hunt for them.

2. Resource abuse. These are the people that, while probably making up 1-5% of hunters, ruin it for everyone. My experience of talking to most sportsmen is that they are exceptionally caring individuals who want to preserve the land and habitat as best they can for their's and other's enjoyment. There are a few rotten apples that ruin it for everyone. It is not that the landowner is "punishing" everyone else (though it seems this way sometimes), they are instead saying, "I will eliminate the problem by not allowing anyone onto the land." This, ironically, fails too since most of the people who abuse the land also aren't the ones who ask for permission. This is my theory and it is untested.

I am pleased to see that you are not set on just eliminating fee-hunting. This won't alleviate the problem of access since much of the posted land is not a part of any fee-hunting company. Most posted land is more for the reasons I cited above than for economic reasons.

Ideally, I think it would be great if the fee hunting companies could/would give a "price break" to instate hunters. I don't see this going through since it would be the state trying to regulate the prices on businesses and would face all kinds of legal struggles.

Perhaps we could start the dialogue right here. I will begin by trying to summarize the general opinions I have read and been able to glean.

1. Resident sportsmen feel that they are being squeezed out of their own market by companies that have the capital to "buy" their way into the state. As in many such situations, it is the "little guy" who takes it on the chin. They want (and deserve) access to reasonable hunting land in terms of space and population to have a pleasurable hunt (even if this means not getting their "limit"). Sportsmen want the chance to enjoy the outdoor recreational opportunities afforded by this state and see these as a prime incentive to remain here.

Is this a reasonable summary of the desires of sportsmen (it is necessarily general since there are a lot of people involved).

Now for landowners, here is their perspective from what I have been able to tell.

1. The landowners want to have their resources valued (monetarily or otherwise). They feel that they have been taken advantage of for years in the amount of access given to hunters (resident and non-resident) and would like something in return for their hospitality. They would also like a reasonable reduction in the number of "vandalism" cases and ease in prosecution. Stiff fines or other penalties for offenders.

What if sportsmen acted as "civilian police," watching one another for infractions. Part of the problem of patrols and why so many vandals go un-noticed in the act is that much of the "prime" hunting land is also difficult to get to. If you are on one quarter of land and see the hunters one quarter over driving in the field where there is no road, leaving a gate open, stop them. Notes could be sent out with the hunting license and already have something like, "I __________ give permission to ____________ and _____ (number) of others to hunt on my posted land on _____________ (date).
Signed _____________(landowner) ___________(hunter/sportsmen)"
These would be relatively cheap to produce and 20 could be sent to hunters automatically. It wouldn't take much time to fill out (I would suggest having everything filled out except for the landowner's name and signature when you get to the door) and have them sign it. If they will let you hunt, they will not be unwilling to spend 15 seconds signing their name. This will not keep them from allowing you onto their land. It would also be nice if it could be worded so that it would also prevent liability.

Another idea is to have a separate license for fee-hunting operations and serious penalties ($500/gun) if a known guide is hunting with a group as part of the company. It would track how many people are here fee hunting and also, different rates and rules could be applied to these licenses (only good for 1 week, higher fees, etc.). Have all penalties and income from these licenses (easy to track) be put into a pot for improving in state hunting.

These are just ideas off the top of my head. I really like your "committee" idea and think that it would need to be enacted in addition to the things Ihave written above. Also, please correct me if the stand of "sportsmen" in the state is unclear, incomplete, or wrong in any way.
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I like some of your ideas and after I posted the last message I thought of some additional people who I felt should be involved. You listed them, such as the G&F, and I also felt 2 additional members to represent the central part of the state.

I really liked your idea of "permission slips" as it validates everything and does not leave access so vague. I made this very mistake once myself, I asked the landowner if I could hunt geese on his property-he said yes and told me where to go- he stated I could drive in. However this was a new area and I had called to get permission. The next morning I drove in set up my decoys and was hunting. All of sudden this blue pick up came hauling "butt" across the field - it was a landowner- and I was on the wrong side of the fence. He understood and was friendly because I had gotten permission from his neighbor, but I felt bad cause this isn't how I usually operate. Normally I go out ahead of time- but this was a long drive and I had checked it out during the summer and thought I had my fields straight. Having a signed slip and visiting face to face with the farmer may have elminated this error.

Also, I like it because it gives accountability to the sportsman. Nothing hacks me off more than when I go to open a gate or park by a gate and someone has cleaned their pheasants right there. Might be 4-6 rooster laying right there with just the breasts removed. I know no-one thinks this is wrong cause the coyotes/fox will eat it, however it just looks bad. And 8 times out of ten there will be beer/pop cans in the ditch. This way the landowner knows exactly who is on his land- and not just some no-names from out of town who make a mess and he never see's them again.

I am not sure how the civilian police would go over- but I have a similiar idea. You could try to raise some funds and/or asks companies (such as MDU) to contribute to a vandal information funds. People who identify individuals who vandalize landowners stuff could be rewarded. For example, MDU is offering something like $10,000 for someone who would identify or provide information leading to the arrest of whom-ever keeps shooting their substations. My guess is the same low-lifes that are doing this are probably causing problems in other areas in the county. We could start something along the same lines as what you mentioned only maybe ask the state or companies with a vested interest to help sponsor this as well.

I like the part about the outfitters- for example they should face stiff penalities if they are guiding on public lands-which in a early post-was identified as illegal. Maybe even pull their license- because the reputable guides hopefully wouldn't practice this. Some good ideas on the table anyways.

I am much calmer today as I have to try and keep it all in prespective and keep my head-it is just a touchy issue.

Another idea is to keep NR posted on the affects 1 bad apple can have. For example-I use to camp for a week at Wolf Creek Campground in the fall-(it is near Riverdale) and goose and pheasant hunt. Last fall I drove through and there were about 10 Minnesota and Wisconsin vehicles in the campground. The Army Corp has always left this campground open even though it is officially closed. However, these NR who come in have been bagging up their garbage and then leaving it- while the park is closed and nobody picks up garbage in the fall-you are suppose to take it with you. They didn't know and now there are gates and Wolf Creek is officially CLOSED in the fall (East End), however the individual putting up the gates last fall said the West End would be gated off this Fall!!! :eyeroll:
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Wow, this is a deep one to respond to.Let me give you my outside opinion as someone coming in with a fresh face.

First of all, despite what the NDCC says, access onto the land is a PRIVELEDGE, not a right. Treat it as such.

If the trespass law were repealed tommorrow, it would not make jack squat of a difference in the leasing area. It would eliminate some fly by nighting, but we would all adapt, and be the better for it. Quite likely it woudl take some quota changes, but SD is not leased any worse than ND and has a trespass law.

Caps are a reasonable and effective way to limit NR buying up land. Study the dichotomy in SD between waterfowl and pheasants, and it is as clear as you can make it.

Guaranteeing liscences to outfitters begets more outfitters. Good or bad, up to you.

The pheasants on my land are not "Mine" unless I have released them there. There is a mechanism to do that, so do it. It confines the shooters onto much less land than having them out there leasing land from hunters.

There is already an organization called the ND Landowner/ Sportsman Council. THey had a meeting two weeks ago tonight in Bismarck. Get involved.

Wildlife is a public resource. Would we not all be better of if we just lived with that. Outfitting and guiding are fine, but when they lease the land to do it on, that is not. Makepaying for access illegal, not just guiding. Pass a trespass law, outlaw fee hunting, and let the guiding settle itself out. Make the only way a landowner can profit from the game on his land to work with the sportsman through Game and Fish programs. But if the wont allow access, no more deer depredation or gratis liscences. It would be the biggest uproar anyone has ever heard of, but in ten years, you would be living in Nirvana. Tom

One other thing, I think that few things are more dangerous for wildlife than getting an outfitter or anything that ties to much money up in it. Just think, we have all taken our neihbor or Brother in law hunting, and the pressure to put them on birds in our great spots makes it hard. Imagine getting paid for it. Man the pressure is on, and when the shooting is good, it is even harder to stop right. I mean we are only in ND for 5 days man, lets go clean these and some back later for a night hunt. Or its time to hunt pheasants, those ducks will be alright til tonight. Then they throw them in the dump the next morning on the way to the blind.

Somehow, you have to get the money to the people producing the product, and keep it out of the deliverers. I think, and sting ops back it up, that this is getting much worse instead of better. We all need to be willing to sign a complaint about the things we see. Now, be careful out there. Tom
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