Bird Dog & Retriever News

April / May 2003 issue Page 44

 provide an opportunity that might suit landowners' needs."
The game and fish department has assisted private landowners interested in establishing wildlife habitat since the early 1950s. The department broadened its cost-sharing efforts in the 1980s to include tree plantings, grass seeding, and food plots, and also began a cropland and existing-cover-rental program for habitat set aside on private land called the Habitat Plot program.
In an effort to provide more hunting access on private land, the department recently developed the CRP cost-share program. This program reimburses landowners for up to half the cost of grass seed for land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, in exchange for hunting access on these acres, Schulz said. "This program has been highly successful," he added, "enrolling more than 130,000 acres statewide since 1997."
The Private Land Initiative has several other short-term and long-term programs that offer a variety of choices, depending on a landowner's needs and interests. "We offer a number of options, all with a goal of putting habitat on the landscape through habitat based access programs," Schulz said.
With 93 percent of all land in North Dakota privately owned, Schulz knows that what the future holds begins with private landowners. "We recognize that the future of North Dakota wildlife must spring from the productivity of private lands," he said.
The game and fish department selected the top pheasant counties based on bird densities and number of hunters.
The department also has programs that might interest landowners in all counties. Landowners can call the game and fish Bismarck office at 701-328-6300 for more information.
North Dakota Ranks High in National Survey
North Dakota has one of the highest hunting and fishing participation rates in the country, according to the 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation.
About 35 percent of citizens ages 16 and older either hunted or fished in 2001, ranking North Dakota fifth among all states. Alaska had the highest hunting and fishing participation rate at 45 percent, followed by Montana, Minnesota and Wyoming.
It's amazing the number of people who enjoy hunting and fishing in our great state, said Dean Hildebrand, director for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. The primary reason for so much participation is the heritage left to us by our ancestors. It was the thing to do in rural North Dakota and we became life long participants.
On the other end of the spectrum, the survey, conducted every five years by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, indicated California had the lowest hunting and fishing participation rate, at 10 percent. New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York were also at the low end, at 11 percent.
Across the United States, 18 percent of citizens age 16 and older either hunted or fished. About six percent of the country's residents hunted in 2001, and 16 percent fished.
In North Dakota, of 483,000 residents age 16 and older, 19 percent (81,000), hunted, and 29 percent (140,000) fished.
Hunting and fishing in North Dakota has been very good the last few years, Hildebrand said, and we have been blessed with abundant resources. If we can maintain this quality we will always have hunters and anglers. The key to all this is habitat.
More information on the survey can be obtained by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web site at www.fws.gov.
Dog Health Certificate Rule Rescinded
Unless there is a documented disease threat in North Dakota, hunters will not have to obtain import permits or health certificates for dogs before bringing them into the state.
The State Board of Animal Health recently rescinded the permit and veterinary inspection health certificate requirement for household pets brought into North Dakota. However, dogs must still meet state requirements for rabies vaccinations.
The requirement had been in effect for almost two years as a temporary response to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe. The rule, upon the attorney general's approval, still allows the state veterinarian to require import permits and health certificates for pets under certain circumstances, such as a disease threat.
South Dakota
YOUTH PHEASANT SEASON PROPOSED TO OPEN ONE WEEK EARLIER
South Dakota's youth pheasant season would open one-week earlier and would again "stand alone" if a recent proposal passes at the next Game, Fish and Parks Commission meeting in April.
"Both the Dept. of Game, Fish and Parks and the GFP Commission want to enhance youth hunting opportunities in South Dakota," said State Pheasant Biologist Tony Leif of Huron, "and giving youth hunters their own opportunity to hunt without competing with adult hunters is a step in that direction."
One important question that needed to be answered prior to proposing to move this season back one week earlier, was whether or not young pheasants would have sufficient plumage for hunters to properly identify them. After reviewing age data from past years, Leif found that this issue was not a concern.
"By the first weekend of October, most (75 percent) of the young-of-the-year roosters are 12 weeks old," Leif noted. "By this age, young cocks have enough colored feathers to be easily identified when they flush."
Leif added that details would be simpler and less confusing if the youth season is separated from the resident season. "Explaining to residents and nonresidents, youth and adults, who could hunt where (public land vs. private) and start hunting when (sunrise vs. noon) was difficult

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