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Landowners charging excessively for hunting privileges are being blamed for the slow death of small rural communities. Gary Johnson from Mekinock, N.D often travels through the rural areas of North Dakota and likes to go in and see how local communities are doing.

During his visit in the fall of 2014, he noticed something rather interesting and worrying – many of the small local cafes and businesses were gone. Since these trips were made during the pheasant hunting season, he expected that there would be the usual “Welcome Hunters” signs dotted around the state. On this trip, he was surprised to find relatively few.

When he did find a cafe that was still open he decided to investigate a little more. He talked with the owners and a few of the customers. Both groups were very vocal about why the hunters were no longer coming to the area.

According to both groups, local landowners had found out that they could charge $129 or more a day per gun. This is an extortionately high price for hunters and they simply refused to pay these charges. But the knock on effect is that local businesses are now struggling without the surge of traffic that they saw during past hunting seasons.

Many cafe owners and other local businesses have stated that they used to do good business during the hunting season. It allowed them to save some money for when there weren’t customers around. However, with the hunters gone, times have got tough.

Landowners charging hunters excessively isn’t the only problem, many are blaming farmers for the decline in the pheasant population as they remove shelterbelts and tree claims, the natural habitat of so many hunted species, to put the land back into production.

Before too long, there won’t be any pheasants to attract hunters and this will lose landowners another revenue stream.

What is your opinion? Do landowners charge too much for hunting?

Let us know in the comments below.


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