HERE IS THE ARTICLE
Other views: North Dakota must seek middle ground on hunting
By Bob McCamy
The Forum - 04/30/2002
Well, the gauntlet has been thrown down. It's now us vs. them. It appears that The Forum has decided to further polarize the resident-nonresident bird hunting debate in North Dakota. This issue has been gradually heating up to a boil on the back burner and it now appears to be bubbling a little too hot.
For those of you not familiar, the unusually high water levels in North Dakota have made this state a Mecca for water fowlers all over the nation. We are seeing unprecedented numbers of non-resident hunters coming to North Dakota in October to share this wonderful hunting experience. This has been a tremendous boon to rural and urban North Dakota economically.
However, those of us familiar with North Dakota hunting, know this is cyclical. We remember the early '90s and the drought of ducks and hunters. Before we sell our resource to the highest bidder as has been done to pheasant hunting in North Dakota, we should step back and reflect on where we may be heading.
I am in a unique situation. I am an "urban-SUV driving" resident of this state who happens to spend most of the duck hunting season nimrodding with three brothers, all of whom are nonresident sportsmen. We all agree, the influx of large numbers of non-resident hunters has come to a point where the hunting experience for all is starting to suffer. Posting of land, especially by guide services and outfitters is already suffocating.
We don't need "posting threats" to wake us up. How can we be threatened by something we have already had to accept? We spend hundreds of dollars each year to pay landowners with gifts or cash to have the privilege to access their land. We are happy to do this, as we cherish the opportunity to access good hunting land. However, there is a limit to what the resource can handle. I don't pretend to know what the magic number is.
If North Dakota hunting is sold out to the highest bidder from some other state than I may take my SUV, property tax, income tax, support for farm subsidies-CRP set aside. You quickly forget that many of us stay in North Dakota because of the wonderful hunting opportunities available to residents of this state. Should we leave and watch the acceleration of the "Buffalo Commons?" I don't think so.
I think there is plenty of middle ground on this debate. Otherwise during the next drought when landowners and small-town business people are looking for their nonresident hunters to support their ailing economy, they will only see me, my dog Fred and the support I can give them. Because come hell or high water, I will be next to the one remaining duck slough just as I was in 1988-1993, "shooting holes in the sky." For some of us, waterfowl hunting is more than a past time or economic development.
Please let the debate continue, using sound reasonable ideas from all viewpoints. Otherwise we all lose. Nonhunters included.
McCamy, Fargo, is an avid duck hunter.