ND Game & Fish Pleads with Feds to Keep Hunting Land Open - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

ND Game & Fish Pleads with Feds to Keep Hunting Land Open

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North Dakota's Game and Fish Director is pleading with the Federal Government to reconsider its actions to close down hunting and fishing land.

With pheasant season opening Saturday, Terry Steinwand sent a letter to the Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting him to immediately reverse his decision.

Jared Piepenburg has more on how the government shutdown will effect one of the most popular hunting weekends...

"This is just one of the government shut-down things that in our mind is designed to make it hurt...and we think it is wrong," said Randy Kreil, Wildlife Division Chief for ND Game and Fish Dept.

The North Dakota Game and Fish department is frustrated about a huge chunk of prime hunting land in the state being "off limits". The US Fish and Wildlife service has closed Waterfowl Production Area's because of the government shutdown.

"The Fish and Wildlife service deciding to put 288 thousand acres of waterfowl production areas off limits to hunters the opening weekend to pheasant season and in prime waterfowl season-- doesn't make a lot of sense to us," said Kreil.

The federal land is equal to a third of the Game and Fish's PLOTS land. Since hearing about the federal land closing to hunters, the North Dakota Game and Fish has been doing their part to get this resolved. They're also worried about the confusion this will cause for hunters and its effect on local economies.

"It is just a bad deal all the way around and it is not going to accomplish anything. Our director is doing his best to get this changed," said Kreil.

Hunters will have a hard time knowing the land is "off limits" as you can see -- signs list nothing about being closed.

"State Game and Fish Department wardens do not have the legal authority to enforce this Federal directive. If there are federal law enforcement people out there - they may or may not be. We do not know. It is up to them," said Kreil.

Although some land being closed to hunting may change your plans, private and state land is open for hunting.

"There is still opportunities out there. People don't shouldn't stay home just because of that. It is kind of an irritant and an unnecessary irritant and a complication for people when they are just trying to enjoy the outdoors," said Kreil.

With KX News- I'm Jared Piepenburg.

Kreil says coincidentally the federal land is paid for by hunters, with federal duck stamps.

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