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Albin Johnson letter: North Dakota posting lawsuit will ruin hunting
The Forum - 08/08/2003


I lived and raised a family in North Dakota. I have often claimed that the success in raising our family was, in fact, we as a family could go in the open spaces and enjoy the outdoors hunting and fishing at our leisure. The future of hunting in North Dakota is now in jeopardy. A group, spearheaded by the Farm Bureau, wants to close hunting rights in North Dakota.

Having moved from North

Dakota to Minnesota where this law is in effect, I can tell you to sell your guns as your days of hunting are over. Here in Minnesota, there is very limited public hunting land and every year, thousands of hunting licenses for deer and bear and are not sold as there is no land to hunt on. Hunting quality lands are at an all time high as the rich buy them up for a place to hunt.

Hunting here now is for the wealthy or people who have relatives with land. Bird hunting is a thing of the past. There is no way of knowing who owns the land, plus all the foreign owners.

If the landowners of North Dakota feel the land is theirs and not be shared with the public, maybe the sportsmen of the state should talk to the congressional delegation about withholding all the federal payments, disaster, deficiency land writedowns and all the other government payments they receive. Land is very private until public tax money comes in and then it becomes public it seems to me. Some people even say the farmers are now farming the government instead of the land. This sounds like public access to me.

If this lawsuit is successful, sell your guns and forget the legacy of hunting for your children.

Albin Johnson

St. Hilaire, Minn.
 

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We now have met the Fetch of MN.

I will agree that automatic posting of ag land is a freelancer's worst nightmare. It will make obtaining access for a quick afternoon hunt very difficult. It also requires a hunter to do more home work upfront; maps, plat books, scouting. It may inhibit the weekend warrior from having good success.

Still MN does provide good hunting opportunities.

I grew up in NoDak, but hunt geese and upland often in MN. The public land in the central and northern counties are fabulous for ruffed grouse. Many years I have shot well over two dozen grouse with 80% of the birds off public land.

Southern county public land is very good for pheasant when you have time to hunt weekdays or weekday afternoons. No problem here either.

I will clarify that I do own one or more very good bird dogs.

Shot deer and turkey on public land too.

So here I am - fairly new to MN - yet having a great time and having consistently good success.

PH
 

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PH, your position and experiences on just about every point are just a little different than everyone else's :D I think there is some serious "contrarian" in your blood. I suffer a little from that condition too.

Anyway, I think the sheer volume of hunters that travel from east to west, as opposed to the opposite direction, speaks for itself on relative hunting quality and opportunities. Some decent hunting does exist in MN for some things and at some times, but smaller populations of critters, higher populations of those trying to get at those critters and generally more difficult access issues, doesn't make it even a close call with what is still available in ND, say nothing about a few years back.

FB suit will have little impact on the majority of those that regularly and seriously venture into ND pheasant country. For the past several years, if you want to hunt the prime areas and you jump into the truck without a very good understanding of where and when you'll be hunting, you will probably have a rough go of it. Virtually everything of any quality is posted, some pay-hunt, some not. Pheasants being what they are, after becoming familiar with an area, you can do most of your "scouting" months ahead of time and from 100's of miles away if need be.

Waterfowl and even deer and predators are different. The locations of these are much less predictable and once you find them, you often need to move quickly, and there are still some unposted hunting opportunites in some areas for these species. More importantly, even where posted, you've got a serious leg up on finding the right contact person. With our relatively high and incereasing rate of absentee and non-farm-employed landowners, finding landowners for permission without the benefit of a posted sign will often be difficult on short order. An atlas or plat map will do no good in the fairly frequent case of where someone other than the actual owner (e.g. tenant) is the one who makes access decisions.

This suit, if successful, will errode waterfowl/deer/predator opportunities for all, and not by a small degree.
 

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If the trespass laws are changed in ND, it will severely dampen my enthusiasm about hunting in ND. A few years ago, we went up to Manitoba to hunt after going to ND for many years. The trespass law did make it harder to hunt there. It was a hassle to hunt down the owners first. I think that is one of the reasons my buddies have decided that Canada is not for them.

I am old enough to remember when Minnesota had a trespass law that if the crop was picked you could enter -- just like North Dakota's current law. That got changed many years ago and ruined freelance pheasant hunting. It was mighty fun to spot a half dozen pheasants head into a picked corn field and just go after them. Now, you have to find the owner. By the time that occurs, those half dozen birds could be anywhere!!! Not any fun anymore.
 

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I moved to ND from MN 7 years ago after finishing at UND. Frankly I never have totaly understood the concept of free range. I was brought up and for 27 years practiced asking before using anyone's property to hunt on in MN. I consider it respect - and I still practice it here in ND and I am teaching my son the same respect - we do not hunt on anyone's property with out asking permission. And I do not ask permission in Sept and expect that to carry over for the entire season. I call each and everytime before going. If I do not know who's property it is I always carry my plat books in my truck for a reference and I will call regardless of it being posted or not. If you don't have a plat book stop at a the nearest neighbor 99% of the time they will at least know who's land it is. The game is more thatn likely still going to be there after your little detour, and you never know it might open up the chance of future hunts, all because of that little often forgotten word - respect.

It does help if it is posted because in most cases (at least the ones that are legally posted) have a name and address and sometimes a phone number. That is where your cell phone comes in handy give them a ring 90% of the time I have gotten permission, the land owner just wants to know who is there incase a gate is left open or there is litter left he knows who not to let in next time.

This topic came up this spring while talking to one landowner that I have known for a few years. He posts nearly all his land. He stated the reason he does so is exactly what I stated in my last paragraph. And what surprised me because after reading all this mudslinging of the NR's was his statement that he has no problems with NR's using his land - he has the most problems with the resident hunters because they think just becase they are form a neighboring town they have the right to hunt his property and that they don't have to ask. He said these Res's have ruined more peoples hunts than he can count because others have stopped and asked for permision for the next day and in the morning when they get there there are already decoys in the field, then what do they do?

Wouldn't it be easier if everything was considered posted for nohunting and if a landowner wanted to allow open access, they put up a sign that stated that? I have seen signs that state " Ask B4 you enter", I dont think these landowners that post there property just to know who is in there or to keep people out one day because they had someone aske the day before would have a problem putting up these signs - they have to put up the 'No Hunting' signs anyway.

I'm sure I pinned that target on my back - after reading most post on this site. But take your best shot.
 

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Rem, even though many like yourself attempt to ask under most circumstances even when not posted, under long-standing tradition, custom and law, it is neither unethical nor discourteous not to ask relative to unposted land. Some landowners don't want to be bothered and some just plain don't care one way or the other.

I've never been detered by posted signs (at least the ones that don't threaten life or limb for asking), and have also had very good luck gaining access to posted ground.

In the last 5 years, I've probably hunted in 25 different ND counties. Plat books, which need to be updated fairly frequently, are not always an easy solution.

Reversing the posting law would not make things easier. Those landowners that truely are indifferent would continue not to post, and the amount of land for which access must be confirmed would increase. Maybe you think that's okay, but it wouldn't make things "easier."

Hey, I'm glad you always ask - hard to go wrong there. But you shouldn't look down at those who don't and for those of us who have hunted extensively in no tresspass areas, we can vouch for the difficulty in needing to reach a live body each and every time, especially during harvest. I have not had the same ease in reaching people as you have, even when armed with the best possible resources and equipment.
 

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Rem700 You spot a field full of ducks and geese . Its not posted and you do your best to find the owner. You dont have any luck they are gone to the basketball tournaments,visiting realitives. or off to the races. Your telling me you wont hunt this unposted field . Oh Please do you really expect me to believe that? I ask permission even on unposted land anyone who doesnt is missing the boat. Asking permission to hunt gives me the opportunity to get to know the land owner and develope a friendship with them. I like you secure permission months or years before the season opens but if I find a feed on unposted land and I cant find the owner I hunt it. Rem look at the comments on all the big hunting sites the non residents all enjoy the freedom of North Dakotas laws. There is no doubt that a no tresspass law will hurt the visiting hunter. This will in turn hurt the small town. A town is a small city. This is city against rual,doesnt matter if the city is 500 people If the farmer is going help save the small town pushing for a no tresspass law is going in the wrong direction . I sence a bit of resident bashing in your post but I guess those are not your thoughts (a farmer told me). By your comment (from the next town) your bashing the small town hunter. There are a lot of business owners in small towns that dont want to see a no tresspass law. It goes a little deeper than you can see.
 

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I grew up in Minnesota and continue to hunt a lot here. Albin is way, way off. There is a TON of deer hunting in MN that is on public land, we have WAY more than ND, SD, IA, etc. Some public land gets hit hard (Carlos Avery on the north end of the Mpls suburbs), but you get up north and it is easy to find uncrowded public land. Albin must be a weekend warrior that wants to drive 10 miles and have hunting bliss. Having said that, I do agree that the repeal of the current ND law would probably be worse for freelance hunters, although I see very little unposted stuff now, so how big of an effect it would be, I dunno.
 

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Yes Dan - I oppose the FB suit.

I agree the easy access is why so many MN waterfowl hunters head to ND each fall. It is much easier to hunt in ND, but MN is not impossible.

Easy access is why 25,000 NDs head east to fish. Or is it the woods surrounding the water? Atmosphere?

It is easier to shoot more ducks in ND on any given day, but to say that MN lacks any opp is insane.

MN duck hunting is good, but setting up on MN deep water lakes when no ducks are present is as stupid as it is in ND. Scouting and hunting the flights are key in MN. ND offers the luxury of more "real" duck habitat and easy access.

MN hunters are known (despised?) for their traveling to hunt whether it is the Dakotas, Canada, WI-deer, or western states - big game. MNs travel.

MN shoots close to 1 million ruffed grouse in good years. That is double the pheasant take in ND in good years. Harvest per person is double the ND pheasant/hunter take too! Freedom and easy access for northern grouse is very good.

You head east to chase turkeys and I would guess you fish in MN - but your are now getting out of your home turf when commenting on MN hunting. You can not always be completely right.
 

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PH, I grew up in MN. My dad and grandfather built a lake cabin in MN woods country in 1949. I grew up hunting waterfowl, ruffies and deer and fishing in MN, including at the cabin. I was 18 before I first hunted in ND. After law school, I spent two years in Wisc. and then six again in MN before moving back to ND five years ago. While in the Cities, I made 3-6 trips to ND each fall, 1-2 to SD, maybe an odd trip to Iowa and filled in the remainder with MN hunting.

I fish mostly in MN because that is where my parents' cabin is. If not for the cabin, I'd be content to fish ND, and in fact I'd be real curious to see the numbers on total MN anglers buying ND fishing licenses compared to the reverse. I know a guy who lives in the Manhomen area who's as good a MN walleye fisherman as they come - he's caught a lot of MN walleyes this summer. He's also made five trips to Devils Lake this summer, and describes those trips as the best fishing he's had of the summer.

I hunt turkey's in MN (every other or every third year) because my MN brother-in-law can't get a license here. They're also quite a bit more challenging than the ND birds I've hunted. If it were just about filling a tag, I think you'd have an easier go in ND because of numbers of birds and ease of getting a license and access in certain areas.

Given my time spent in both states, I have a good handle on MN and ND outdoors and their relative quality and opportuninites. I know die-hard MN waterfowlers and uplanders who through years of efforts are consistantly able to get the very best of what MN has to offer. These guys come to ND each year not because of the ease of getting on land, but rather because the numbers of birds and type of experience they get with huge numbers of birds is incomparable.

Look, I'm not trying to crap on MN. I grew up there and have been a MN resident for two-thirds of my life. And sometimes you you make the best of a situation and if you work very hard you can even have relatively decent experiences. But as a whole, accross the board, if quality hunting and fishing opportunities is the sole criteria, it ain't even a close call.
 

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Guess we passed in opposite directions. But just as you have accused me of being out of touch - can I not say the same thing in reverse?

Based upon the MN HIP numbers there were about 86,000 registered waterfowlers in MN last fall. This is down from the previous 100K+ numbers based on duck stamp sales. Mostly residents I would assume.

If the numbers that ND G&F put out are accurate, about 15,000 MN hunters are licensed NRs in ND for waterfowl. That would say that better than 1 in 6 MN duck hunters also pursue ducks or geese in ND.

Are there any MN natives that only hunt ducks outside of their home state? This would change the numbers.

I will agree with your Manhomen analogy regarding MN hunters in ND. It is the good MN waterfowl hunters not the outplaced hunters in MN that travel to ND (vacation, money, planning) to hunt ducks.

The 25K figure for ND fisherman licensed in MN is a number direct from the DNR (although I am unclear if this is everyone or just individual licenses).

If the ND G&F numbers are correct in ND Outdoors, there are
49K individual
20K husband / wife (is this times 2 or 40K anglers ??)
12K senior c.

That would mean atleast 1 in 4 ND licensed anglers are also fishing in MN.

This number assumes that all ND people that are NRs fishing in MN are also licensed in ND. This is probably not a good assumption. I would argue many people living on the east side of ND do not fish in their home state. Right or wrong, opps missed, they just do not.

In ND, there were only 7,085 individual + 2,046 H/W NR licenses sold to all NR anglers in 2001. Another 29,000 short term (3 or 7 day) NR fishing licenses were also sold. This is everyone.

Percentage of MN anglers traveling to ND are smaller. Time spent fishing in ND by MN anglers is less.

PH
 

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Fetch would never live in Minn :roll:

I could have, over the last 30 years & even tried to like Minn - But each time I attempted to go there for outdoor recreation - I could not take lakes completely surrounded by people & over crowded campgrounds & over crowded lakes for fishing & other water recreation - Plus I stopped and asked about the hunting at sporting goods stores & always got the LOOK :eek: are you nuts - ND has Minn beat for the kinds of hunting I was interested in.

So there is not a comparable Minnesotan to Fetch :D :wink: (Now Sask. ???) :lol:
 

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Dan I reread your comments and I have to ask where did I ever say or imply that hunting in MN was better than ND?

Hunting is most often better in ND because of greater game populations, less hunter density, and easier access. My point was that MN has plenty to offer for those who look and/or focus on the game (or fish) that is abundant.

FB lawsuit:
In either state better pheasant success = Access ... that is the single largest difference between ND and MN farm country right now.
 

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PH, per usual, through our bickering we find out we don't actually disagree a whole lot on the substantive issues. I did not mean to imply that you were hailing MN over ND in terms of total hunting quality. I think we were arguing over the degree of difference, and I don't think we're very far apart there either - symantics.

If reasonably affordable quality wing shooting was the sole citeria, MN would surely make the short list of desired state residencies, but would in degree be a fair step down from 3-5 others in my book.

Given the proximity to large population centers and the demand for access that creates, my experiences in Southern MN is that pheasant access was much more difficult than ND. But at least as of 6-7 years ago, there was another major difference in the amount and quality of habitat and corresponding pheasant densities.

I've had some great and many times decent hunting in MN. I've also had a significantly higher percentage of "bust" days there. Let's just say that if I ever moved back to MN, the quality of hunting and fishing would not make the "pro" column of the "pro/con" list.
 

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One interesting side bar is that I (just me not the entire MN hunting population) shoot many more birds (waterfowl/upland) within 2 - 70 miles of my house in MN than I ever did growing up in ND.

I could not say that when I was living in eastern Cass county. Yah - pheasants (sometimes) in western cass / northern richland, but most of the time we were more (often substantially more) than 90 miles from home. This was also before the Canada geese took over - so maybe things have change there too.

If your are not afraid to travel, ND remains the best hunting state in the land. Fishing too - many people must drive quite a distance to fish.
 

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you wanted a NR view, so

Its funny how things can be twisted to benefit yourself. This is simply a property rights issue, if it had do with anything else(non hunting) the majortiy of you would side with the farmer/landowner, that it his property and has the right to do with it what he pleases. for example there is a hypothical law that states landowner retains all mineral rights except for gold, gold can be extracted by anyone without asking. Does that make sense? nope its the same for hunting rights a landowner nobody has the right to come onto his land without asking unless he's hunting.

I think it would be great. We have always asked permission, never been denied, we have plat books for all the counties we hunt.

I think it will keep out res and NR's riff raff that take advantage of the law. It will keep all the res and NR road hunting to a minium.

my NR thoughts
 

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I posted this on another site & got little feedback -

But giving an inch on the No Trespass Law without major concessions to help keep ND Unique would be sad & be the final straw in making ND just another pay to play State.

Right now :eyeroll: I'm not sure the right people are in place, to ever trust them, to make this happen - But maybe someday ???

So if ND ever did pass a No Trespass Law (which I am adamantly against at the moment)

But say one was brought up to maybe actually help ND residents. & freelance hunters ??? That say, required NO Leasing of Land to guides or outfitters or Indivduals - Plus put a huge tax or penalty on those that buy lands just for recreational uses.

Maybe somethings unique with required signs - Like permanent signs being required with Name & address & phone # for those that say hunting with permission only -Maybe the state would pay to post lands that are open & the owners don't want to be bothered.- Kinda like plots (but more so, including fields & water for waterfowl)

How about incentives tied in to help farmers & land owners that want to keep their lands open ??? Maybe more incentives to help them want to do things to improve their lands for wildlife & Habitat ??? The investment would pay dividends unbelievable.

If guides & outfitters had to compete on the same playing field as others - I could care less --- as long as there was sufficient law enforcement to stop under the table leasing ???

ND could be turned into a hunters Paradise & true economic development could result - as well as people wanting to move here & live here - bring businesses here - Why not capitalize on this & give incentives to businesses (folks that are interested in our unique State & resources) to come here & help support our great outdoor resources & economy ???

All we have done is fight & spin our wheels & worry about Me Me Me (All sides) Too bad we don't have the Leadership with vision to do the right things & truely make ND better & absolutely Unique compared to other States.

What other ideas could be added to this (Brainstorm) ??? The possibilities seem endless if all would open their minds & do things to help everyone ??? (think outside the box)

With the right incentives & Leadership all would want to participate & make things Better & Better
 

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Thats a good one , The fishing is no good in Minnesota, :lol:
Thats the best one I've read all week.

Its pretty much a no brainer that ND IS the land of opportunity
for hunting, and theres some good fishing too.

But to say that the fishing in MN wouldn't make the "pros" from your pros and cons list? :eek:
Come on, give me a stinken break.

The deer hunten aint so bad either :D
 
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