It’s early morning, and the sun is starting to peak over the horizon. The air is crisp and cool as a hunter hunkers down in a blind. They’re surrounded by close friends and family. Sounds great right? What if they were never given the opportunity to have this experience? High non-residential waterfowl license costs have been a thorn in the side of the waterfowl enthusiast for some time now. Excessive costs and restricted time periods should not be an issue that waterfowl hunters need to deal with, as it also discourages potential new hunters.
In planning a potential waterfowl hunting trip to North Dakota, I found that as a Minnesota resident I would have to pay a hundred and fifty dollars as well as only having the option of hunting either two seven day periods consecutively or two seven day periods non-consecutively. Looking into it further, I found that because I was a student at NDSU I would pay roughly half the cost of the license, but I would still be restricted to the two week time constraint.
I will offer up a solution. The tri-state area that includes, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota would share a reduced cost policy for college age hunters regardless of what school they attend. Provide a valid student ID, have it verified through the Department of Natural Resources database, and have a much higher cost reduction of non-resident waterfowl licenses, the ideal cost being anywhere from 30-40% of the original cost.
Additionally if time period restrictions were to remain, they should be increased to 4 weeks. The taxes on license fees and waterfowl necessities would go into a pool shared by the tri-state area, these funds could be used to increase support for conservation of wildlife and the hunting heritage that is so prevalent in this part of the country.
When a sale occurs at a store, more people generally come to buy goods at the reduced prices. The amount of profit the store makes could potentially take a hit, but more often than not, the store increases profits because the number of people that come to buy goods is greater than the reduced costs. Now apply this logic to non-resident waterfowl fees. If this strategy was to be implemented I would guess that more than “die-hard” waterfowl hunters would have incentive to cross borders and try waterfowl hunting. This would also benefit the local economy of hunting areas with waterfowl hunters spending money on anything from gas to lodging.
I would venture to say that the average non-resident college student would be deterred from hunting in North Dakota by the cost restraint of a non-resident waterfowl license. It is our duty to preserve the rich heritage of waterfowl hunting, and to pass it on to others. It is my hope for the sake of the sport, that North Dakota and the tri-state area does something about the excessive costs and time restraints.
Dan Kelly, English education sophomore