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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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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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