Chris & Dan were there, they can probably give a more insightful analysis. It was to be continued after lunch. I left at noon to return to work.
Lots of sportsmen were there. Sure could have been a A LOT more. Most all of the testmony in support was very good. Most of the testimony in opposition was silly, shrill, condecending, and some, just plain bizzare. Supporters came off as reasonable, compromising, decent - opponents came off mostly as unyeilding, ego-centric, and often unreasonable. Went as well as I could have imagined, but the perception of the senators might have differed from mine.
Well there's a lot that went on, and it's pretty hard to cover. The few points that stick out in my mind was the GREAT job Mike Johnson did on his presentation covering the Hunter Pressure Concept. He made the Game & Fish proud this morning that's for sure. And Lois Delmore from the Judiciary B Committee had some great testimony on behalf of the SB 2048.
I would say the numbers from both sides were somewhat even. There was a lot of people who didn't testify and weren't on the list, so I don't think we'll ever know the exact number.
All in all, I would say going to Bismarck was a worthwhile experience. I will be there again soon for more committee hearings.
I want to thank everyone for showing up. We had some youth in attendance, from Bill Mitzel's grandson (Devon I believe, 11 and yes he did testify...nice job!) to some other guys ranging from high school into early 20s. And there was pleny of landowners and sportsmens groups. We'll surely need more though the next time around, the most support will be needed in the upcoming month.
Here's a couple picks from the meeting this morning.
Here's Kevin (Drakekiller) giving some testimony to the committee.
The lower level of the floor, mostly Pro-HPC.
The other lower floor, mostly Pro-Outfitter.
There was also a "balcony" level, that had almost as many as below. It appeared to me it was around even in support, but we could use more camoflauge to tell us apart. :wink:
As Chris stated, the testimony was well done by the sportsmen. However, there was one older gentlemen who testified and called the Senate committee ignorant for their lack of action in previous sessions. This was not cool and not taken well at all by the members. Just a word of advice for anyone that may be new to testifying---be nice....always be nice!! It only takes one bad apple to leave a sour taste. Also, one other note that I would like to spread the word about. Tom Bodine represented the farm burea and ofcourse was highly critical of Game and Fish along with HPC, not a big shock there I guess. But something I found rather funny is that he is a licensed guide and runs a commercial outfit around the Velva area...my family belongs to the farm burea and he certainly didn't represent our thoughts nor were they ever polled as to their beliefs on a waterfowl cap? Connie Krapp from Pingree was the same testimony...she said she was representing some type of coop but then she babbled on for about 25 minutes about her and her husbands "wonderful fee hunting oepration that has allowed them to stay on the farm". It is pretty obvious they are representing their personal views as to what personally effects them. I will make sure my parents discontinue their farm burea membership and will be sending Herb Manig a letter explaining why.
no....and I actually think the HPC has a decent chance, maybe I'm being too optimistic but we need to really rally and let everyone know to support HPC. With all of the touchy politics going on, Mike Johnson stepped up today for the sportsmen of ND. I hope everyone puts him on your christmas list because regardless of whether this thing passes or not, we sportsmen had a wildlife professional represting the resource and the sportsmen of ND with about as much passion and knowledge that can possibly be imagined. It was very professional.
Was Curt Wells there and if he was did he speak? I really hope the HPC passes. I mean after all isn't or should't it be about the ducks and phesants? I to was unable to attend any hearings but I have contacted my legislators.
Dan and Chris made the forum also, not the front page though. I regret I was unable to make it this time, I also contacted my legislators, one is my neighbor!! Thanks to all who did make it to testify. Keep us informed on how we can help!!
N.D. waterfowl issue debated
By Janell Cole [email protected]
The Forum - 01/24/2003
BISMARCK - A legislative hunter pressure concept bill that North Dakota hunter John French calls "a brilliant plan, a perfect compromise" is badly flawed, say those who welcome nonresident hunters.
The two sides, at odds over competition for waterfowl hunting, met for six hours in the Legislature's largest hearing room Thursday to discuss Senate Bill 2048 before the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
The committee took no action and won't until next week, said its chairman, Sen. Tom Fischer, R-Fargo.
A competing bill, House Bill 1307, will be heard today beginning at 8.
Resident hunters like the formula proposed by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department because they think it will mean less competition for increasingly scarce access to duck hunting. It would vary the number of nonresident waterfowl licenses annually depending on the number of resident licenses sold and other factors.
But Randy Frost, representing the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce, and others, warned that it could severely cut the number of nonresidents who bring precious tourism dollars to struggling small towns and farmers every fall.
"Do not be misled by arguments that this is based on biology," Frost told the Senate panel.
Under the formula, Game and Fish uses biological and wetlands data to set a total number waterfowl licenses allotted per year. If that were to be pegged at 60,000, for instance, the state would first tally how many licenses are sold to resident hunters. The remainder would be allotted to nonresidents.
If 35,000 resident licenses were sold, 25,000 licenses would remain for nonresidents that year. If 40,000 resident licenses were sold, that would leave only 20,000 for nonresidents.
In 2002, the state registered 30,000 non-resident hunters 36,000 resident hunters.
Frost said the formula is "punitive and can be manipulated by resident hunters."
All it would take is resident hunters all buying licenses for their non-hunting spouses, and the out-of-state hunters would be drastically reduced, he said.
Had the formula been used last fall, the number of nonresident hunters would have been reduced by 8,000, Frost said.
Their spending equals $14.5 million, he said.
Farm families testified that they need every precious dollar they can make from lodging nonresident hunters and charging them to hunt on their land. Some say resident hunters are selfishly protecting access to a hobby while they (the farmers) fight to stay solvent.
"They want to leave us with nothing. Nothing but footprints," said Deb Roppel, of Alsen, who operates Lost Prairie Lodge in the small Cavalier County town.
Connie Krapp, Pingree, said her family has operated fee-hunting for nonresident hunters for the past six years as a way to diversify their farm income. When crop land floods and can't be planted, "You've got to look at a way to make up for it," she said.
But French, president of the Grand Forks County Wildlife Federation, and other resident hunters, said rural folks and tourism people will find out they are capitalizing on a short-lived industry if unlimited numbers of nonresidents keep coming.
"Selling North Dakota's precious natural resources to the highest bidder is not economic development," he said.
Tim Hayden, Mandan, said, "our (in state) sportsmen's base is being destroyed."
Hayden, who moved to North Dakota from Oregon for the quality hunting, offended some legislators when he said the whole problem is caused by ignorance.
Hayden said he meant no offense. "People just don't understand."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Janell Cole at (701) 224-0830
I agree, the forum article is about as biased as it could be.
Tom Bodine - this is the guy that actually tried to attack the HPC and Johnson on the use of a regression line, in the process showing he had no concept of regression, it's use, or interpretation. I would like for Mike Johnson to have an opportunity to respond to the goofy, unfounded, criticisms.
Also the woman who spoke for the half hour tried to use the ND G&F from several years ago ('96??) to suggest that everything here is fine. The flaw should be apparent to all.
The most offensive guy was an old farmer, who saw fit to belittle the ten year old kid and his appearance at the meeting. He really must be a sad human being.
I was there also in attendance. Everyone that was there was there for their own beliefs. The problem SiouxperDave is that Connie Krap made the claim that she was there representing the Rural Electric Cooperative she works for when in fact, her and her husband have a fee hunting business. I would imagine there are as many of the REA/Rec members who don't agree with her.
Tom Bodine presented representing the ND Farm Burea. Tom Bodine also has guiding service near Velva, ND. Once again, using a business/association to further a cause that benefits them directly.
They would have had a lot more credibility if they would have testified on their own behalf as a outfitter business and not representing a large group where I am sure not all of the members are of the same thinking as they are.
Who stood up and spoke against this the loudest and longest. The guides and outfitters. They want the fight to seem to be resident city hunters againist the poor farmer and small town business owners. The Game & Fish have put forth a boilogical reason to limit the total number of hunters and recognizing that residents hunters should have a larger share of the licences, which is very much similar to all states that have a limited resource to share. Thus maintaining the revenues to the rural area' because the resident will be will to contiue to hunt when the quality goes down. The non-res will take his money and go someplace else with it. Mother nature will have the last say in this debate when the sky stops dropping water and we go into a dry cycle again. Then the rural residents will be clamouring for the resident hunter to come and spend money or help restore wetlands. I can hardly wait to see the advertisements "Come to Cando and hunt the dusty cracked wetlands, Opps drylands for waterfowl."
The fact that a area or wetland or Plot land can be overhunted was very evident this past fall. I say very few hunters and we had birds until hard freeze sent them into SD.Just a short distance away where the consentration of waterfowl hunters was high they saw very little action late in the season. A group of hunters I spoke with had been up the 1st week of OCt then returned the last week, they found little game as it was pushed out, maybe to my area or SD but gone.
Dan B. you made me think back to when I was hunting in the 70's we had great hunting the first 2 weeks of season then the birds would be piled up on the big water that you could not hunt unless you had a boat. Then we would have great shooting when the Northern flight would come down ahead of the snow and cold.
The in between times where due to hunting presure, back then we had local and MN hunters all over the place. We thought the # of hunters helped with decoying because they where moving all the time, but what we didn't see was that it reallly reduced our opportunities for more good days later in the season.
The resourse will stay only if not overhunted. We do not flood fields of rice to bait the ducks in then drain them the next day and flood a new field like they do down south.
After the last couple days, HPC has a lot of momentum. Whether that momentum continues is largely up to us, and I mean all of us. They say making laws is like making sausage, and it's true. This thing can get derailed or gutted at any of about 6-7 points along the process. If you haven't, you need to contact the SNRC members urging a do-pass on 2048, and your three legislators asking them to pass along their support for 2048 to the SNRC.
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