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ND Game and Fish Director Jeb Williams talks during the recent Advisory Board meeting in Stanley. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland)
ND Game and Fish Director Jeb Williams talks during the recent Advisory Board meeting in Stanley. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland)

Sportsmen Voice Concerns at Stanley Meeting 

Kim Fundingsland
 December 2, 2022
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Issues include elk licenses, electronic posting 

STANLEY – A complaint about electronic posting opened the public comment portion of a North Dakota Game and Fish Advisory Board meeting here Tuesday.  

In his opening remarks, Jeb Williams, NDGF director, talked about the state’s electronic posting law that went into effect last year. Williams noted that approximately 7-million acres of land, “about double from last year”, was electronically posted in 2022. 

“There’s nothing nice about it,” remarked a member of the small audience. “Why do you guys always cater to landowners?” 

Williams responded with, “our relations with landowners isn’t perfect all the time either”, adding that, “North Dakota is 93% privately owned.” 

A comment from the audience followed, with a man saying that a 25,000 acre tract of land in Divide County is “electronically posted now and it wasn’t posted before.” 

Prior to the implementation of electronic posting landowners were required to us signs to post their land. Land that wasn’t posted was open to hunting. The issue has been a contentious one in the legslature for several sessions, eventually resulting in the electronic posting program which allows landowners to go on-line and post their land 

When the conversation turned to the state’s elk herd and landowner gratis licenses, a sportsman said, “It’s a broken system” and that “a quarter section of land was selling for twice what it should just because of the elk tag.” 

Williams responded, “It’s not really gratis tags. It’s preferential. Thirteen ranches in Unit E4 have the ability to have an elk license every year. Outside of that the success rate is about 15% for the landowner lottery. They probably get drawn every 5 to 7 years.” 

The gratis tags are issued as compensation for having elk on a landowner’s property. The tags were granted by the State Legislature. 

Another topic of discussion at the current round of Advisory Board meetings has been Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD is a fatal disease that attacks the nervous system of deer, primarily whitetail. Game and Fish has implemented a baiting ban in several deer hunting units in an effort to contain CWD. 

“In our mind CWD is a big deal, for our future,” said Casey Anderson, wildlife division chief. “At this point we are not stopping it, so how do we slow the spread? We reduce the amount of time deer are close together. That's where the baiting issue comes in. It’s not to stop it. The hope is to keep it from spreading so fast that we can’t manage it.” 

Many deer hunters have voiced opposition to baiting bans. It is likely that a bill will be introduced in the upcoming session of the State Legislature to reverse baiting restrictions currently imposed by Game and Fish. The legislature convenes January 3, 2023. 

Remaining Advisory Board schedule: 

District 3 – Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner counties 

Date: December 5 – 7 p.m. 

Location: Eagles Club, 7 8th St. S., New Rockford 

Host: Eddy County Rod and Gun Club 

Contact: Duane Duda, 701-302-0510 

Advisory board member: Edward Dosch, Devils Lake 

District 4 – Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh counties 

Date: December 6 – 7 p.m. 

Location: American Legion Club, 701 Main St. W., Cavalier 

Host: Pembina County and Area Sportsmen’s Club 

Contact: Roger Furstenau, 701-265-2960 

Advisory board member: Bruce Ellertson, Lakota 

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