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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got to talking with an experienced hunter from my area this weekend, and of course we were complaining how the birds are going to get blasted out in three weeks, and we began talking about the need for waterfowl rest area's. Why doesn't North Dakota have more? I know people that have volunteered to have there land put into these area's and been denied. One downside is the chance for those area's to be leased by a guide and access be restricted. My thoughts are why are there no managed area's like Oak Hammock in MB. If you look at a map of Lake Alice NWR in DL, there is are very little safe places for waterfowl to sit anymore now that the lake has risen so much. It wouldn't take much effort to redraw the boundries for certain areas. The refuge managers know where the birds go to roost, and where they stop for a drink, where the pass shooting is, why not shut down water hunting in the roost area's? Would it not make hunting better for everyone?
 

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Those who want "volunteer" their land, can simply post the heck out of it and not let anyone hunt it.
There are a few landowers who do this in the areas I hunt and it works.

Just a guess but those who want to "volunteer" their land probably want something in return.
Why should we use G&F $$ to do something that they can do themselves?

Another thing is, if you create more "rest areas" you also create a higher demand for the land near these areas. And then comes leasing and big $$.

Which tends to "push out" the average ND sportsman.
 

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Well said dblkluk! I would agree on all counts. If you want to "volunteer" there should be no need for money to be involved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There was to be no money involved. You could access the area's when the water was high through a small channel with a boat and then all the birds were blasted out. Now that the water is a little lower it will be a rest area. I realize that a guide could come and lease some fields, thats why in my first post I mentioned some managed hunting areas, goose hunting in Pierre is done this way. In my opinion I would rather have birds around than have none. In reality people have connections with farmers and hunt the same area's regardless. An unposted field is becoming less and less of a reality. Removing the rest area's has turned good hunting area's like Hurricane Lake near Leeds, into a waterfowl one and done. No migration builds there anymore.
 

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All I know is the only waterfowl rest area near me has all the land around it leased up by some guide. I also don't want to see more posting of land in the area by people that want to keep a lot of waterfowl on there property. I don't think it would help things at all. All it would do is concentrate more hunters in certain areas where they think the birds are staging instead of spreading out the pressure in my opinion. I usually don't have a problem finding ducks all season, you just have to look off the beaten path away from towns and traffic.
 

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ND used to have more than it currently does. Several years back quite a few were dropped . I'm not sure why. One of the two near me has been abandoned but since the flyway shifted west it wasn't getting much use anyway. One could speculate that with all the posted land that limits access the G&F feels they are not as important.
 

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There is so much freakin' land posted in North Dakota and you want more? Trust me, there are plenty of safe havens in the Devils Lake area and beyond.
 

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Once again it's all about the money, if we limited the NR's to 5000 waterfowl hunters, we'd have the birds here until it froze up like we used to 20-30 years ago. But we can't do that because we'd cripple the small towns right? Wrong answer, with these grain prices those small towns are just fine. There weren't any outfitters leasing up any land back then (very few up by Westhope) as I recall, the small towns were better than they are today. Our current Governor has his fingers in way too deep in the NDG&F Dept.'s business, they say how many hunters there should be and Hoeven changes it, same goes with the season dates, it's all about the money. He's another one that we need to send packing in November.
 

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Rick Fode... I have do disagree. While pressure does have an impact it's not the whole story. Migration patterns have shifted also making and impact in addition to a massive increase in the number of birds.

30 years ago season never opened until the first Sat of October but on opening weekend 100s of thousands of birds (ducks and geese) were already in the state. Those numbers stayed pretty consistent for the following 3 weeks as early birds moved out and new birds moved in. Now on that same date those numbers are more like 10s of thousands. Indications are that there is now more feed in Canada than there used to be and the birds are hanging there until weather pushes them down. Weather patterns have also changed. My rough guess would be that freezup is about 2 weeks later than it was 30 years ago meaning the birds don't get pushed down till later. I started deer hunting about 30 years ago and it was rare that everthing had not been froze solid and goose hunting finished for at least a week or 2 before deer season. Lately it's been rare that it is frozen and deer season is when the primary migration is happening. Pressure and birds were also different. Bird numbers were probably 1/3 of what they are today (S&Bs with NO local Canadas) and hunter numbers less but more locals who hunted more often. Because of many of the other factors mentioned birds were a bit more spread out and did not seem to congrgate in the massive flocks you see today thus spreading out hunters a bit more and actually making decoying and jumping easier because of the smaller flocks. That does not mean they were not pressured. It was rare not to see 4-5 ore more groups of hunters working a flock. There were far more jump shooters back then than decoyers so in a way the pressure on birds may have been MORE than it is today. Back then it was also rare to see posted land. Access to birds was unlimited without having to ask. Birds rarely got a break before 1 pm. ND had many more rest areas back then and they were heavily used by birds. Now days dispite a larger population those rest areas don't seem to hold nearly as many birds. There are plenty of other places for them to go and remain relatively undisturbed. I suspect that if hunter pressure were relieved it would not have the significant impact that most think it would. They may stay a few days (not weeks) longer but it is possible they may also be more thinly/evenly spread leaving decoyers with more options for where to go but less numbers of workable birds in those areas.
 
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