Steve - I have met you - I have sent many people (NR's) your way (in the past) especially boat hunters & Big water hunters. I have ate in the cafe (when it's open) & bought lots of food / lunch items in your town.
I have admired how you, or your group (Investors) have taken all that old senior housing & old motels & other discarded housing & turned it into a viable business - with Minnewaken Flats as the main draw.
I would bet the vast majority are Freelance hunters - (Those that do not or will not Pay to hunt.) Plus I bet Fishing is a big part of your business ???
I wonder how many of you folks, that make a living off the Lake, would feel if the Native Americans won their Lawsuit claiming the Lake is theirs ??? & you got the word, you were not welcome to use it anymore ??? & you had to pay for access, that has been a given for many years ??? Imagine if they had a monopoly on the Lake - All the better parts were off limits, only to their customers at the Resort ??? For fishing spring - summer - fall & winter too ???
I have watched your area become terrible for Freelance Snow Goose Hunters. Both because they really don't use the area like they used to. & because the few places they do roost are controlled by guides.
How many of your customers really were turned away ??? I bet your pretty well booked during the 1st several weeks of waterfowl season. It was pretty late when we ran out of Licenses. (Imagine if there were lots of great areas, for Freelance hunters to come & use - & you had thousands of people who wanted to come there - every week thru out the entire season) instead of the vast majority all coming the same 2 or 3 weeks
What do you give back to waterfowl ??? & Fishing ???
Imagine if your community were to promote it's self as a ideal desination for the majority of Freelance Hunters ??? & not do so much to anger & alienate Residents ???
Why do you act as though we are not important to your business or future ???
Is it because the guides have also made you & your community think they are whats best for you ???
We understand the land is owned by private owners & we used to be able to make contact & show respect & be able to hunt alot of your area - Not nearly as much anymore - Mainly because you have choose to take sides with the few big $$$ guides in your area. (I bet they own significant amounts of your business too) ??? & have gone the route of doing all they can to make pay to hunt - the future of your town & region.
I truely believe if what you want is not based on personal profit - But were focused on doing whats best for the town (to survive) & prosper - & if You would meet as a chamber of commerce & see that promoting Freelance Hunting & having good management of the resources - based on the amount of huntable lands & accomadations in the area - would be so much more positive - rather than wanting a free for all - attracting folks to the area & then trap them into pay to play.
I bet if you really studied how many use guides - you will find they are 1st timers to ND - most only do it to learn whats up & then come back as freelancers - bring with them more & more & more. When is enough enough ( leased land for guides - for an area ???) Especially when the area is so posted & you have done all you can to make it more difficult for freelancers to find landowners willing to share - Remember you are alienating both residents & Non Resident Freelance Outdoor Sports People - as well as many of the landowners in your area that despise what you are doing - (& many do) I have talked to so many that now just say no to everyone, because they are tired of all the hassles & politics & greed. - But alot of these folks really don't hunt - or really understand what all the problems & concerns are - & most do not realise there is another way to go in all this - that could be positive for the Super Majority of Hunters both Resident & Non-Resident hunters. That could make Minnewaken really special - even see services to the visiting outdoors folks expand & become really a great destination. By working with area / regional landowners to see the potential & do things to get them, to want to help, all enjoy the resources the area has to offer. Instead of a few trying to make it something most despise & hate to see ND become - Sure there has to be BIG Money potential to those few if ND becomes another Texas or Arkansas where everything is leased & pay to play. But the benefits to the majority would be significantly reduced & eventually you will find well over 90 % of the potential visitors won't be able to afford it - or can the weather be controlled & resources maintained (Which are owned & paid for & protected by tax payers & License buyers) How do you think you alone can sustain the quality of ND ??? If only a small percentage of people can & will participate ??? Do you think ND will do all it can & does for Fish & Wildlife if only a few Pay to hunt people are going to benefit ??? - The guides will be the ones helping & paying for Fish & Wildlife - RIGHT :roll: ???
You see we are at a crossroads, on where we are going to go with ND Outdoor expirences - If we lose, or nothing is done - it will continue to erode - where our chance of ever sharing what has been so great, about living in ND, is no longer worth living here for.
& the low paying jobs Commercial hunting & Pay to hunt will create - & will be available to those that remain - sure won't attract a new resurgence of folks, that want to move back to ND to pay expensive fees to be able to be sucessful.
I guess to many of you - the Buffalo Commons theory, is a good potential thing, for those that remain :eyeroll: But without a taxbase & people what kinda quality of life will remain ???