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Chassan Katherine, Published October 27 2010

It doesn’t qualify as hunting

North Dakotans will be asked Tuesday whether to permit fenced hunting on private land. Many of us who grew up appreciating the vast prairie and all its bounty have an opinion on this issue.

First, let’s define the standard behind traditional hunting.

What are you hunting? Knowledge of the prey animal begins the hunt way before the neon orange is worn. Knowing if a ring-necked pheasant migrates, where it nests, what time of year it nests, what it eats and whether it prefers to fly or walk on the ground matters in the strategy of the hunt.

Now that we know what a pheasant is, what time of day is best to hunt it? Most hunters wake up before break of dawn, often earlier than their work/school day. Adhering to a schedule that doesn’t apply to one’s wishes, like sleeping in on Saturday morning, matures a person beyond individual selfishness.

Now that we get up before the break of dawn, how long will the hunt take or be allowed by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department? Is it better to patiently wait behind a blind or flush them out of the cattails and swamps? Teaching a young hunter to patiently wait for a goal is not a bad thing.

How many birds are allowed, and should a hunter care about bird conservation?

Hunting doesn’t just happen in October and November; it takes a year-round commitment. Shaping patience, cunning, promoting education (through understanding the prey), and nurturing selfless behavior (only shoot your limit) all falls under a true hunter’s code. Killing a prey animal (or a farm animal) takes in a great deal of responsibility.

What are the standards behind high-fenced hunters where the prey animal raised on a farm is hunted within an enclosed range?

The hunter knows little about its prey, they can hunt at a time it’s convenient for them, the goal rewards impatience, and shaping character is optional.

In a recent newspaper article, I read the owners of the current North Dakota high-fence hunting sites complained that the opposition only sees the “killing” aspect. From a traditional hunter’s perspective, that’s all high-fenced hunting is, just killing and nothing else.