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The changes in North Dakota are likely permanent. I understand the plight of the average city person and their fight to find good hunting land. I grew up in eastern ND. Traveling to central or western ND always resulted in better hunting.

Once the guides and outfitters take hold they will likely not be removed. In Montana the outfitters control the majority of nonresident deer licenses. Even in ND about one-half of all nonresident deer licenses are sold to ND outfitters. These people can then sell the license over the internet as a package hunt. Packages run about $1500 to $2500 for a five day whitetail buck hunt.

In the past legislative session - the bill establishing NR license caps would have allowed the outfitters to take 10% of the licenses. If there are 25,000 NR licenses, the guides get 2500 licenses. Some economics:

If an outfitter takes eight hunters for 5 days each and operates for 35 days in the season, they need 56 licenses. This means 2500 licenses could cover about 50 medium sized outfitters in ND.

If they charge $250/day, they net over $70,000 / fall season. They pay a couple of grand to two or three guides. They then take $10,000 to lease land - easily lease 3,000 - 10,000 acres in ND ( @ $1 - $3/acre).
This means 50 outfitters could easily lease 500,000 acres of prime waterfowl land - probably more.

Add another 5 grand for expenses and the outfitter still nets $50,000 for a 35 day period. Add a couple of deer hunters in November and they earn even more money.

The money is there. I guess spending thousands of dollars to lobby government officials is a good investment when the money flows in like this.

Limit the number of nonresidents coming into ND and the value of the guiding operation increases. People who used to freelance now book with outfitters to keep coming to ND. The rates are raised per day, more land is leased ….. on and on and on.
 

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Prairie hunter:

Great insight, the one thing you left out, NDF&G. Don't forget that they collect almost 80% of their annual budget from license fees. They don't want a cap that will limit their bottom line!
 

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Very well put.

How are freelancers going to compete if this trend continues? Are we going to be forced to start hunting clubs like other states? How else can you compete for prime land?

The word "lease" has become a bit of taboo in recent years. But I've said it before, "do we lease for ourselves?" With the huge trend in increasing outfitters, they are keying in on the best land. Freelancers might have to band together for ourselves to protect good hunting in the future.

I'm not saying that's the best option, but it should be left on the table. We can do everything in our power to fight this trend, or we're going to have to play by the outfitters rules.

Get together a couple hundred guys(low cost), and stick to strong ethics to never rub the landowners the wrong way...and you have options in the future. It hurts to type this, as it sounds very hypocritical........but it should be noted.

I have heard that the G&F's study on the amount of leased land came out. Does anyone know where to find this?
 

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The best hope in this is to have a program like Montana. ND has what ? less than 200,000 acres - Montana has between 6 & 7 million acres in just one program, that leases land from farmers. To fund this raise fees -& use Nonresident fees exclusively for this.(so the state & G&FD doen't get greedy & try to tap into this money for other things) Also raise Guide / outfitter Fees with the fees based on acreage a outfitter / Guide has. & make em high enough, to make them not want too much land. Also Tax em to provide for a access program for residents. Give attractive tax incentives to farmers & landowners who lease to the State.

[ This Message was edited by: Fetch on 2002-03-14 07:36 ]
 

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Fetch...How about running for the Legislature next fall!!!Heck.I'll move to GF and vote for you.
 

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Fetch - That sounds like a GREAT idea!

I agree with Ken.......you should run. I can not vote for you but I will gladly contribute to your campaign!!!
 

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Here is what I don't understand about the outfitter program in ND, are they required to keep detailed records of their clients and how much the each payed for the hunt? I would think that this would really help in collecting income tax on an outfitter. From what I understand, if an outfitter gets payed in cash, they can take it as a gift and not have to pay any tax on it. Maybe they should make them pay a percentage of what they make to the G&F for public lands. Also, what is the deal with only having to pay 100 bucks to become an outfitter? I say put it up around 1000 bucks and if they want to guide hunters make they pass some type of course on gun safety and first aid. Make them retake the course EVERY YEAR. It is my opinion that if you are going to take people out hunting the least you be is certified in CPR.

[ This Message was edited by: Decoyer on 2002-03-14 16:58 ]
 

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Man, all of this is some really good stuff. It is good to see a forum that has some real substance to it, rather than the petty bickering that Anglerpal.com is so overcome with. Keep it up and I'll just lurk, suck it up, and try to learn a thing or two. Thanks!
 

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OK...from now on that other place is Anglerpal.
 
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