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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't had time in the past couple of days to type out this report, but here goes.

I was impressed by the apparent change in attitude of the Committee members between the January 22 meeting and this one. Chairwoman Delmore began the hearing with an appeal to civility and compromise, and stated that solutions are what's needed. There also seemed to be some coalescing consensus. In my opinion, there will be some recommendations made by the committee in several areas, including regulation of non-residents by duration of licenses, time periods, etc. It seems too early in the process for anything specific, but ideas are evolving.

I was extremely disappointed by the low numbers of sportsmen who attended. We were outnumbered by the commercial hunting operators!

The idea put forth by Mr. Randy Frost of the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce may be a good one, but at no time, that I heard, was there any suggestion of using the 30,000 non-resident number as a cap on licenses.

There was testimony by Mr. Mike Donahue relating to positions agreed on by several sportsmen's groups. Some of those positions included a cap on non-resident waterfowl licenses at 10,500, a cap on non-resident upland licenses at 7500, two five-day periods for non-resident upland licenses, and some new regulation of guides and outfitters.

The most striking testimony was by Game & Fish Deputy Director Roger Rostvet. Mr. Rostvet presented testimony that public access programs are not very effective as a hunting access gaining tool. I was very surprised by that because it sounded contradictory to the Governor's statements that the Game & Fish will make every effort to obtain 500,000 acres of public access in the next few years.

I gave testimony in three specific areas:
First was my research on the effects of absentee real estate purchases in southwestern counties. Hunting land often sells for a 50 to 100% premium over ag value. Inflated real estate prices will eventually 'bust' with unpleasant consequences, and North Dakota needs to adopt policies to discourage absentee land sales.
Second was my idea for a shortened non-resident upland license period. It seems logical that shortened non-resident license periods and numbers would discourage non-resident real estate purchases. I doubt someone would be as likely to purchase real estate if they weren't assured of being able to utilize it for three months each fall.
Third was a land access program which I entitled "Access Wildlife". The program would lease hunting rights from landowners in prime hunting areas. The program would be funded through a fifty dollar increase in the non-resident small game license fee. That increase would result in revenues of about $1,720,000 per year. Budgeting $220,000 for administration, approximately $1,500,000 would be available for land lease acquisition. In an effort to relieve the landowner the hassle of dealing with access seeking hunters, permission for access could be granted by the Game&Fish Department via telephone. A telemarketing firm could be contracted to do the actual phone work. Heck, it might even preserve a few North Dakota jobs.

If anyone has questions, I'll check the board this evening.

[ This Message was edited by: MResner on 2002-04-05 10:51 ]
 

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MResner,

If you could post the meeting times in the future for the site it would be helpful. Thanks.

A couple of ideas that you had here are great and I think this will be echoed by many of the sportsmen in the state.
1. Raise fees for the NR $50.00 to buy land access. Should we also raise the price of the habitat stamp so the residents could share in this also? I think most residents would be ok with a slight increase to do their part.
2. We really need a time limit on NR for the upland seasons. SD currently allows 2 weeks. This would keep out the guys that are lining up land for 6-8 weeks out. It's also the reason the NRs were given a time limit on the waterfowling in the past. When they found out they were going to be limited to 2 weeks many of them stopped the leasing of land. The time limit also would not affect the fee hunting guys trying to make a living. They will still fill all the spots they have if the NRs are limited to 2 weeks.
I'd be in favor of an addition to this that woould add a new catagory that would allow the kids of a ND landowner to hunt more than the two weeks of a normal NR.

Great ideas.
 

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MResner:

You knew I would comment. Anyway.

I see your number is based upon 34,400 NR hunters. So you do not propose a decrease in NR numbers ? Maybe you are realistic in understanding that if you can not reduce the numbers then charge them ? The only problem is what if the NR numbers plummet due to drought for waterfowl or harsh winter on pheasants. Who picks of the tab if the NR drops to 20,000 and the G&F is $720,000 short.

I have thrown out a few ideas before so here I go again.

1) Access license. $50 seems fair for a NR habitat access license.

I would charge resident ND people $20. This would add over $600,000 more money by MR's previous numbers.

The resident access stamp could be optional. Buy it you can hunt the land. Do not buy it - stay off the land. Make the fine steep for entering this land without a resident stamp to keep compliance.

2) For NR waterfowl:
limit it to two blocks of 5 days each. This will cut down the number of hunter days by NRs somewhat. Most do not hunt the full 14 days, but this will curb leasing by most NRs and also the time spent in ND by "hardcore" NRs.

Have all licenses sold through the ND G&F departments' computer to avoid fraud (Mr Wells proposed this one didn't he ?). Have the G&F spend more time auditing / checking outfitters to ensure compliance.

Charge about $50 to $75 for each block of 5 days. If you want to hunt twice pay for it.

3) For upland game; or maybe have a NR pheasant stamp in particular. (grouse and partridge an issue ?)

Establish a pheasant license that is good for 3 blocks of five days. 15 days total.

Only one block of this license can be used in October for pheasants.

Thus a NR can hunt pheasants in October for 5 days. The other two blocks of 5 days each can be used for grouse in September or pheasant hunting in the November - Dec. This would really relieve a lot of the hunting pressure by NRs in October.

This would also allow people who grew up on ND farms or towns to hunt opener with friends and then maybe hunt Thanksgiving and / or Christmas with family.

Fair enough ???
 

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One observation about the number of sportsman at the meeting.It won't change as long as the meetings are held in Bismarck on weekdays during the day.Why doesn't the committee schedule them around the state in the evenings like the advisory meetings.Give us all a chance at input and not always the same poeple.These representatives on the committee can drive to other cities just as easily as Bismarck all the time.

The next meetings are on May 8 in Dickinson and May 9 in Bismarck.Guess who will be outnumbered in Dickinson????
 

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Raising prices is fine for the people who have the money, but as a teacher I know that the backbone of this country was built by low-middle income families and the hunting tradition will die with those families that can't afford to hunt anymore. The rich give us a black eye and the poor support our true traditions. Soon I will tell my sons that a long time ago their was a thing called hunting that was a proud tradition in America and no longer exists for the common man. The past 15 years the booming economy and generous living has allowed the common man to go and do things that were not possible before, but how long will it last, and at what cost to our hunting heritage, You don't want to hear it, but the truth does hurt!
 

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Drifter98,
I have to agree that hunting has become very expensive and it is hard for the common guy to have the experience he had in ND just 10 -15 years ago.

The act remains, however, that something has to be done, whether it's raising fees, limiting time periods, or what ever else is deemed necessary to help keep the hunting traditions alive for everybody.

I also have boys that I've introducted to the traditions. I can't afford to lease the land or pay the HUGE fees for the prime areas (225.00/day per gun = 775.00/day for my family) but something has to be done to stop the influx of the big money guys.
I personally feel that we need to leave hunting fees alone, use the money we already generate, which is in the millions, to help the farmers and ranchers to allow access, and LIMIT the time upland hunters are in the state. If a NR can only hunt say for the sake of conversation 3 - 5 day periods then they are not going to be as apt to stick around 2 months as some of them are doing.
(Most states have some sort of limitation on NRs, for instance I need to have a portable fish house tag, $38.00/year, to use my portable in MN and I'm not allowed to have permanent ice house. I'm not complaining. I realize there have to be some limitations, can you imagine the amount of ice fihing houses in MN if they allowed NRs to have them.) I'm not trying to compare fishinng to hunting just trying to get my point across that some limitations have to be set inorder to have a quality experience for everyone that uses the state.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry I haven't answered your questions sooner, but I was out of town over the weekend.

I didn't address the issue of increasing resident fees because it seems to me that is separate issue from the non-resident question.

Statistics from both the Game & Fish and the Cannonball Co. seem to indicate the average non-resident pheasant hunter spends between 3 and 4 days in ND. A license valid for two five day periods (10 total days) would therefore more than accomodate nearly all non-residents. By allowing two five-day periods, it would allow former residents of ND with family ties to come back to hunt once early in the season, plus once more over the holidays when they may be here anyway.
 

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I would be careful drawing much of a statistical conclusion from the Cannonball Co. hunter data. They only had 400 to 500 nonresident pheasant hunters last year. Like I have said in a previous post. That is way too much land for so few hunters.

If you can believe the NDG&F department numbers, about 11,000 to 15,000 nonresidents are out hunting pheasant.

The numbers of nonresidents at Cannonball are less than 5% of the total number of nonresident pheasant hunters.

I really like Prairie Hunters idea that nonresident hunters can only hunt pheasants in ND for 5 days in October.

From my point of view any nonresidents hunting in late November into January can hunt as long as they want. Hunting competition is low. If it snows hard all the birds in SW ND move into the rancher's yard.

This will also help Resner's push against absentee landowners. What outsider would buy land for 5 days in October and the month of December? Most rich men are scared sh**less of ND in December anyway.

Looks like it will be 2003 before any changes on the pheasant situation anyway.
From another topic post today :

"While the governor can set a cap on nonresident waterfowl hunters,
putting a limit on upland and pheasant hunters requires legislative
action."

How about having opening weekend residents only, than letting nonresidents have 5 days in October. Let them have any time they want after ND deer gun season is over.

Extends the economic development of pheasant hunting in ND beyond the month of October.

BigGuy (John)
 

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I agree Big Guy...I have spent quite a bit of time hunting in SW ND in Nov. and Dec. and we rarely see anyone else.It is even possible to get room reservations at that time.There are usually lots of farmers that let a person hunt.I don't see why the towns shouldn't be able to make some money at that time.A short license in Oct. and then open it up Nov till the end.
 
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