Doug Leier: Out of doors recreation thrived in 2020


Much like virtual conferencing and online shopping suddenly becoming more popular than ever due to reduced contact and reduced concentration, so was spending time outdoors. In many cases, fresh air and spacious rooms replace indoor concerts and sporting events.

The nature was open and more hunters and anglers went to the fields and waters. About the only outdoor activity that was canceled was the spring paddle fishing season. (Note: rest assured, unless unforeseen circumstances arise, this year’s season will open on May 1st.)

From the occasional birdwatching to visiting a park to hiking for non-consuming activities, the outdoor leisure industry has not only survived but thrived.

Some hunters and anglers may not have participated in years, while others never hunted pheasants or caught a pike. Regardless of the reason, people flocked to the outdoors, and the rangers’ job of enforcing the rules and regulations for game and fish was more important than ever. Fulfilling their duties while maintaining the safety of others presented COVID-19 precautionary measures with new challenges.

Scott Winkelman, Head of the Game and Fish Division, reports that they have mastered the challenges without a break: “By tackling the daily COVID-19 challenges, the increasing numbers of hunters and anglers, and technological changes, the rangers continue to have that done what they did Get on without a break and provide North Dakota with exceptional service, ”he said.

The department’s rangers are also husbands, wives and parents. They faced their own challenges while doing their job and balancing needs outside of business hours.

“The men and women who sacrifice their weekends, holidays, season openings, and family time to protect North Dakota’s natural resources and ensure the safety of those who relax outdoors are sure to deserve a huge thank you,” said Winkelman.

Along the way, the enforcement department also implemented new computer programs to keep track of their activities.

“This new system is specifically designed to meet the needs of the enforcement department and provides new and interesting data to help develop and improve enforcement,” said Winkelman. “While we have always been able to report the number of quotes issued in a year, that number pales in comparison to the number of people contacted by a ranger who was not quoted. Those license exams, bag inspections, boat safety inspections, public safety prompts, wildlife issues, permits, the list goes on, are just as important as the number of citations and are now being tracked. “

Between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, 11,937 contacts were made by rangers and 1,061 quotes were written. This information shows in more detail the impact gamekeepers have, rather than just looking at the citation numbers.

With this information now available, the Enforcement Department will continue to develop and implement enforcement strategies and operations for the benefit of North Dakota wildlife and those who enjoy the outdoors.

Incidents 2020 – Top Counties

(An incident is defined as any situation that requires a response from a gamekeeper. It doesn’t have to be a crime. For example, the situation could be a stranded angler.)

  • Ramsey – 200
  • McKenzie – 197
  • Burleigh – 190
  • McLean – 173
  • Williams – 168
    Quotes 2020 – Top Counties
  • Ramsey – 320
  • Williams – 163
  • McKenzie – 128
  • Stutsman – 108
  • Burleigh – 106

Lyre is a biologist in the game and fish department. His email is [email protected]


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