Pheasant opener fight renewed
BISMARCK - Mike Donahue thought the volatile issue involving an earlier pheasant season was settled and done last summer. "All of a sudden, here it comes again," he complained to legislators Thursday at a hearing on House Bill 1223. In it...
BISMARCK - Mike Donahue thought the volatile issue involving an earlier pheasant season was settled and done last summer.
"All of a sudden, here it comes again," he complained to legislators Thursday at a hearing on House Bill 1223.
In it, Rep. Todd Porter, R-Mandan, proposes that pheasant season always start a week after duck season in early October. About every four years the calendar will have the pheasant season opening about a week earlier than has been the tradition.
It's an idea Gov. John Hoeven broached last spring that ignited a firestorm of complaints before he changed his mind.
Resident hunters opposed the concept because it was requested by fee-hunting businesses and outfitters that cater to nonresident hunters.
Donahue told the House Natural Resources Committee, "Certain people have a monetary interest (in early hunting). We don't want to hang a dollar sign on it."
When Donahue, a lobbyist for the North Dakota Wildlife Federation and the United Sportsmen of North Dakota, said the issue should have been left alone, Chairman Jon Nelson, R-Wolford, corrected him.
The Legislature is the place where people take part in the lawmaking process, Nelson said.
Porter's bill also includes a bonus for resident hunters. The second section reserves hunting on public land and "PLOTS" tracts to resident hunters.
PLOTS acres are "private land open to sportsmen," a program in which land owners get money from the Game and Fish Department if they plant wildlife habitat and agree to keep it open to hunting.
Porter and Dan Bueide of Fargo testified that the bill is a good compromise in the ongoing dispute.
The committee took no immediate action on the bill.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Janell Cole at (701) 224-0830