ND ranchers support ban on hunting rights sale
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Property rights advocates are squaring off with sportsmen and ranchers as the state Legislature decides whether to extend a ban on selling the right to hunt on property separately from the land itself.
The ban - the only one of its kind in the nation - has support from the group that represents the state's beef cattle industry, the North Dakota Stockmen's Association, but its foes predict more opposition as people learn more about it.
"I don't think it's a legislator's business to determine what somebody should be or shouldn't be able to do with their land," said Rep. Duane DeKrey.
Last year, the Legislature overwhelmingly voted to bar landowners from permanently selling the right to hunt on their property without selling the land itself along with it.
The restrictions expire June 30. The Legislature's interim Natural Resources Committee, which has been studying the issue during the past year, has recommended making them permanent.
North Dakota law allows landowners to sell other property rights separately, including the right to mine coal, graze livestock, pump water and explore for oil.
In western North Dakota, separate sales of mineral rights have created circumstances where landowners have to tolerate disruption caused by oil drilling, while someone else collects royalties from oil production.
The legislation does not prevent landowners from leasing temporary hunting rights to others, and a North Dakota Game and Fish Department program that pays landowners to allow hunters access to their property is exempt from its provisions.
A permanent sale of the right to hunt a parcel of land "affects every future landowner of that particular piece of property from then on. It really strips your ownership rights," said Rep. Chuck Damschen, who supports the ban.
Source: Associated Press