Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nonresident Issues

I am not a big one for writing and posting from odd places that I find myself hanging my hat for a day or two, but this is coming from the VA hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. I actually completed my appointments a couple of hours ago but the hospital has free WiFi for patients so I thought I’d take advantage of that and post something that has been on my mind for a couple of days.

North Dakota restricts nonresidents from waterfowl hunting for the first two weeks of the season. The logic is to provide residents an opportunity to enjoy the state’s abundance of waterfowl before the state is inundated with nonresidents. I disagree with this policy. I do not believe that any state should have the power of restricting the legal access of hunters to any migratory game that routinely crosses state borders, whether it is annually or otherwise. I do not have any problems with nonresidents being required to pay extra for their hunting license, but in the same breath I do believe that some states charge nonresidents excessive fees.

Do excessive license and other fees imposed on nonresidents violate the spirit of the J-D and P-R Fund programs? Also, is it possible that these fees and restrictions on nonresidents actually develop such resentment among nonresidents that in their frustration when the fishing or hunting is poor after they pay the extra fees, usually in addition to the money they spend on other services and products within the state, they find themselves breaking the law or other actions that are detrimental to the outdoor sports? Over the past 30+ years too many times I have witnessed poor behavior by hunters (and anglers) in public places (restaurants, airports, etc.) and I’ve heard them complain (as justification for their actions) that they believe they have been gouged or screwed by the state’s nonresident fees and restrictions. Their poor behavior, whether it is just being part of a public spectacle, or actually breaking the law, always hurts the public image of both anglers and hunters.

Is the problem with the state as well as the individual and is it equally shared between them? Or, as some argue, it is the sportsman/woman’s responsibility to accept these fees and restrictions without public complaint/reaction?

What think?