You’ve got to credit to the folks at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department: they have a crystal clear understanding of where their bread is buttered.
Announcing the results of its recent review of activities taking place on wildlife management areas (WMAs) in the state, the agency said it would prohibit paintballing and geocaching on those public lands, beginning immediately.
In paintballing, teams square off and compete in simulated combat games. Geocaching participants utilize GPS units and follow a series of coordinates while attempting to locate a position, or “treasure” before a competitor does.
The lion’s share of the funding used to purchase WMAs across the country comes from federal excise taxes generated by the sale of firearms, ammunition and bowhunting equipment. The funds are distributed to the states by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service each year and are required to be used for hunting land acquisition, hunter safety programs and other specified purposes.
Scott Peterson, Game and Fish Department wildlife resource section supervisor, said the agency determined that paintballing and geocaching activities could potentially interfere with those using the WMAs for their primary purpose, which is hunting and fishing.
“While these types of activities may not always create a significant impact to an individual WMA, they do create a considerable amount of unnecessary disturbance to both wildlife and wildlife habitat,” Peterson said. “They also have the potential to create competition with hunters and anglers who help pay for managing WMAs.”
Here at the Newshound, we say hats off to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for the respect it has shown for hunters, anglers and wildlife habitat.
Or, in the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, who once called the Dakota Territory his home: