Published March 31, 2023

Deer Baiting, Fishing Tourney Fees Advance 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan

Hot Topic Outdoor Bills at ND Legislature 

BISMARCK – Two bills that have captured the attention of hunters and fishermen in the state will soon be brought to a vote on the floor of the Senate. 

Both HB1151, the deer baiting bill, and HB1538, the fishing tournament fee bill have moved through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. HB1151 had passed the House 76-18 and HB1538 passed the House 90-2. 

HB1151 seeks to stop the Game and Fish Department from issueing any rules prohibiting the baiting of deer. Game and Fish maintains that baiting bans in selected deer hunting units is necessary to help curtail the spread of chronic wasting disease in the state’s deer herd. 

The bill will go to the floor of the Senate with a 6-0 DO PASS recommendation from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. No date for Senate action has been set. 

The same Senate committee finalized action on HB1538 Friday morning and, by a 4-1 DO PASS vote, will forward that bill to the Senate floor where a vote could come as early as next week. 

HB1538 seeks to change the way Game and Fish charges fees for fishing tournaments. Currently, Game and Fish requires fishing tournaments to pay back 75% of entry fees to contestants, are assessed a %10 conservation fee, leaving 15% for tournament organizations. 

Greg Power, NDGF fisheries division chief, spoke before the Senate committee Friday, telling the senators that roughly 2/3 of the state’s fishing tournaments are conducted by nonprofit organizations. HB1538 would exempt nonprofit organizations from paying a conservation fee and would allow them to keep all money generated by a tournament. 

“We’ve never said this is a money issue for us, more about the partners out there,” said Power. 

The current 10% conservation fee currently generates about $107,000 per year. It is estimated that removing nonprofits from the conservation fee requirement would lower that amount to about $30,000 per year. 

“Based on what we’ve heard, the money generated is going to be insignificant,” said Committee Chairman Dale Patten, R-Dis. 26, Watford City. 

The committee voted 4-1 for a DO PASS recommendation on the bill, which was amended to also place a $2,500 maximum on tournament fees charged by Game and Fish. A $5,000 cap was lifted in 2020 which resulted in a prohibitive cost increase for some major national fishing tournaments being held in the state. North Dakota’s tournament fees are the highest in the United States. 

“Now it’s at a 10% fee and a cap of $2,500,” said Patten. “I think we’ve got the right language in the bill.” 

HB1538 now moves to the full Senate for an up or down vote, likely late next week. 

Stay connected to the latest news
Subscription Form (#3)

About the Author

Trending Now
The Dakotan Newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox
Newsletter Form (#4)
© AndMuse, LLC 2024 Login Email
LIVE: 2022 Minot Mayoral Forum
Click to Watch Live
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram