Land Access is becoming more of problem every year and I believe some very pro-active measures need to take place to correct the problem. I understand the plight of the farmers who are caught in the middle of a political mess. In my mind they should have the right for fee hunting or to make money off their lands however possible. I also believe hunting is a North Dakota tradition and one of the main reasons people would live here in the first place, however few ND residents can afford $100/day to hunt. Is there middle ground?
What do you feel about the idea of raising a resident hunting license $5-10 and possibly raising a non-resident license by $40-50 and establishing a voucher system by which farmers who allowed hunting could make some additional revenue. Farmers who participated in the program would be re-imbursed a certain amount for each "non-guided" hunter they allowed on the land, which would be paid for from funds raised off license sales. If a sportsman asked to hunt the land they would sign a form with their name, address and phone number and at the end of the season the landowner could turn this in to be re-imbursed. I know I would be comfortable paying more for a license if I knew the ND farmer would benefit from it and I could gain easier access. In addition, this might help open lands in SW North Dakota were pheasants are abundant and stop the outfitters and guides from controlling anymore of the land. Another idea would be additional tax breaks for farmers who allow hunting-it could be deemed economic development for the community???? I am interested in going to Kenmare this fall to attend Goosefest and am curious how their system works and how it impacts the community.
In addition, large guide and outfitter services should face additional taxes, just like a trucker who makes a living off the highway has to pay additional road/fuel taxes. Outfitters should have to pay additional taxes for making a living off wild (state owned) game. The taxes raised would also go into a fund to be used to re-imburse participating land-owners. It is a tough time for most farmers in ND and if someone has a win/win plan for landowners & sportsman I think it would be welcome. This is just an idea and I welcome your ideas.