This past weekend marked the “official” end to a 3 week North Dakota state unofficial holiday, Deer Hunting rifle season. Many schools schedule the day off on opener, others take time off work, many travel, and the sight of bright orange is almost blinding each weekend. Although the focus has changed from hunting to provide food for ones self or family, many still fill freezers and find this an annual time to gather with family and friends! 

 North Dakota is one of a few states that requires land owners or the person given control, to post the land if they do not want people to hunt or if they want to have control of who can or who is hunting on their land.  Ok, perhaps confusing. It may be simpler to say what we don’t do…. We, the State of ND, do not claim that all land is posted and require permission for a parcel of land to be hunted. We assume all land is open for hunting unless posted, signs posted every 880 ft or if land is fenced, on the gates and corners.

It is this posting to “close” land that gets me thinking. Is it better to have all land closed and force hunters to dig in order to find the person who controls and can allow hunters on a piece of land or is it better to have land “open” to hunting unless it is posted. I ask myself whether “closed” places the burden on the hunter and allows the “owner” to sit back and not have to worry.  I also wonder if “open” land forces  the “owner” to act upon his/ her responsibility as owner it person in control of the land to oust it if they desire to have control over who and when people hunt. I have no concrete answer and find myself simply saying, “Yes!”.

Hunting is a privilege. Owning or controlling land comes with responsibility. Is there a happy medium between two different “posted” land systems? Does it matter as long as we all communicate, know the rules, and follow them. Hmmm. Another question to answer a question. Perhaps if we do what’s right things are just fine the way they are: land considered “open” for hunting unless a sign says it’s not. Let’s hope people can read and care enough about others and their chance at that “big buck or doe” to comply with the rules and won’t have to talk about “the one that got away” because the the signs were missing or not read!   

 I hope all those who hunted during this years season had success! 

Thanks for showing interest in the sport, sharing your interests with those near and far, and helping control the deer population while adding food to your freezer for another year!