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Don O’Connor, Carlton, Minn., Published November 09 2013

Letter: Pleasure and privilege to hunt in North Dakota

We have hunted in North Dakota for more than 30 years. We are extremely grateful to all of the farmers who have graciously allowed us to hunt on their properties over the years.

Be assured, we have never hunted on any property, posted or un-posted, without first obtaining permission. We have the utmost respect for the people of North Dakota and the farmers in the area. Our group believes that hunting is a privilege not to be taken lightly.

We have worked hard to represent out-of-state hunters in a positive manner. We hunt legally and ethically. We respect the wild game by only taking good shots when birds are in range, and make every effort to recover all downed birds. If we can’t find one, we count it in our bag limit. We respect all of the laws, respect the land and its owners, leave as little a footprint as possible where we travel, remove all of our garbage and empty shells from the fields, properly dispose of our game carcasses, and keep our vehicles out of the way of the farm machinery, both on the roads and in the fields.

We’ve had farmers join our hunts. We’ve shared our bounty of game with any of the farmers who wanted some. In addition, we try to be supportive guests in the area communities. We patronize the local hotels, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and cafes. We’ve played cards with the seniors from the senior center in Milnor. We’ve helped farmers with the harvest, field work and other chores. We stop and pick up other hunters’ trash along the roads.

We support area fundraisers such as pancake breakfasts, lutefisk dinners, various raffles and other charitable events whenever possible. I won a gun in one of the raffles a few years back, and gave it to the son of one of the farmers who had let us hunt on his land.

We are acutely aware that with the influx of out-of-state hunters, there are some groups that don’t respect what a wonderful opportunity and privilege it is to be able to hunt in North Dakota. Those are the groups that give other hunters and hunting a black eye. I just wanted to let you know that they are the exception.

We, along with most other hunters, take great pride in being good representatives of the hunting world, and in maintaining positive relationships with our friends in North Dakota. I hope they finish the year with a great harvest.