What are your expectations for the fall hunting season?
Published November 1, 2002 | November 2002 issue
Things look very good for this year, as far as our upland situation.
Our pheasants look good across the stateespecially in the lower
part of the state and very good in the western part. We're offering 10,000
more deer permits this year than last yearup to about 116,000. It's
going to be another banner year. Habitat conditions are a little different
this year. We had a dry year. Smaller wetlands have dried up, which may
concentrate birds a little more. That may be a good thing. I don't think
hunters will be crowded yet. I guess that remains to be seen. We still
have plenty of wetlands and lots of ducks.
Greg Link, Assistant Chief of Wildlife Division
North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Bismarck
I expect the bird season to be solid and steady, no major change
from last year. I expect a drop of 10 percent for deer season sales
due to CWD [chronic wasting disease]. Deer license sales are down
30 percent compared to this time last year [late September], which
is a huge social and economic impact statewide. Archery will be
impacted to a greater extent; baiting was eliminated statewide,
and bow hunters were used to that. Deer hunting is the biggestpumps
a lot of money into the state. There's no historical precedence
for CWD, so there's nothing to base it on. I anticipate good sales
overall, except for deer, which may have a ripple effect.
Mitch Mode, Owner
Mel's Trading PostRhinelander, Wis.
We're a new business, so we're not too established yet. We're not
fully booked for fall, and we're at 40 percent capacity for the
winter, a little better than last year. ... I predict we'll have
a hard winter, where the animals are down low [at the base of the
mountain] and the harvest will be greater. Hunting licenses for
out-state are at record levels, so I know the [deer and elk] hunters
will be coming here. I don't feel that CWD is an issue for our
Kerri Anderson, Co-owner
Arrow Cross Cabins and ShuttlesGlen, Mont.
Our start has been fairly equal to last year. I think we're about
2 percent over last year. The heavy part of the year is in October
due to the pheasant season. The economy won't affect traffic, but
it does affect the sale of higher-price items. CWD is not a factor
in our area. Deer hunting equipment sales are constant. I think
our business is steady from local traffic because we're cushioned
from the national economy because of farming. We don't have the
lows and peaks.
Scott McIntire, Owner
Sodak Sport and BaitAberdeen, S.D.
This will be one of our better deer seasons. I would have estimated
it to be a record harvest if it weren't for CWD. ... We're looking
forward to a better waterfowl season due to the Minnesota breeding
populationmore birds migrated here because of the Western
drought. This should be a banner year for goose, and we're looking
at a record bear population, but because of the super-abundant amount
of food in the woods, bear baiting isn't working. The pheasant population
has improved because we've got better habitat from two mild winters
and drier springs, and because the farm bill conservation programs
that have improved habitat. Currently, there is a low population
of grouse due to weather, but that'll improve. They cycle over a
five-year period. CWD has caused the number of deer harvest permits
to increase. Minnesotans seem to be approaching this differently
than Wisconsinites. CWD has not been identified in our [wild] deer
Tim Bremicker, Director, Wildlife Division
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul
We're not totally booked, but more so than last yearabout
50 percent more. We had a couple of articles written about us. In
the fall, about 80 percent of our guests are grouse hunters and
20 percent duck hunters. We're booked for the first week of deer
hunting season. We're not concerned about CWD. We have a ton of
deer, and hopefully it'll be a good harvest.
Joanne Schwanke, owner
Wilderness Bay Lodge and ResortWatersmeet, Mich.