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North Dakota will again try to limit Out Of State (OOS) duck hunters. If the bill passes this time be quick to order your licence!

Here's a quick look at some outdoors-related bills that likely will attract attention during the coming North Dakota legislative session, which begins Thursday Jan 6:

• "Hunter Pressure Concept" legislation to control nonresident waterfowl licenses based on a formula that includes spring wetland conditions and the previous year's license sales will resurface. Last session, the bill (SB2048) lost by a single vote in the House after passing the Senate.

• Bills to further regulate the guiding and outfitting industry are expected to surface in some form.

• A "Favorite Son" bill, which would allow nonresidents who meet certain criteria to purchase a lifetime hunting and fishing license for $500, as long as they buy an annual general game license for $20. The bill would include nonresidents born in North Dakota who attended at least five years of elementary school in state, and nonresidents not born in North Dakota, but who graduated from high school and completed at least five years of elementary and secondary education in the state.

• Legislation that would set the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's budget for the biennium beginning in July 2005 at $48 million. According to Paul Schadewald, administrative services chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck, that's an increase of about $4 million from the current budget. Besides inflationary adjustments, the additional money would include more dollars for fishing and boating access, a new nongame wildlife position and four other positions. There's also money in the budget to put Web-based licensing into several sporting goods stores around the state. That would allow nonresident waterfowl hunters to buy licenses from vendors instead of having to go online to apply, Schadewald said.

• A number of deer hunting-related bills also will be coming down the pike. Among them is a bill Rep. Jon Nelson, R-Wolford, plans to introduce that would drop the price for a resident antlerless (doe) tag to $10 and raise the price for a buck tag to $30 or $40. The goal, Nelson said, is to encourage more hunters to buy doe tags. Hunters who want to focus on bucks would pay more, while meat hunters would get a better deal.

• Given the sometimes-stormy state of hunter-landowner relations, a bill requiring hunters to ask permission to access land, even if it's not posted, wouldn't come as a surprise, Nelson said. "I've been in the Legislature since 1997, and only one session there hasn't been a trespass bill," he said. "The law of averages tells us there will be something again."

• Already introduced is a bill, HB1058, which would eliminate the governor's role in setting game and fish regulations. Instead, the Game and Fish Department would have to go through an administrative rules process and defend its regulation proposals through a committee of legislators.
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