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Tips for protecting natural resources while hunting this fall

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Friday, November 3, 2023   

North Dakota's firearm deer-hunting season kicks off Nov. 10, and pheasant hunting is already underway. Conservation voices have some guidance on how to be a good steward of the land.

If you're planning a hunting trip this fall, the nonprofit Backcountry Hunters & Anglers hopes you keep certain conservation rules in mind.

Trey Curtiss, the group's conservation programs coordinator, said obvious tips include not littering or lighting campfires in extremely dry areas, even with North Dakota seeing plenty of snow already. He added that when you take down an animal, you should try to make use of most of the carcass to avoid any waste. It goes beyond the meat that's collected.

"Thinking about ways that you can use more, whether it's bones for stock or some of the entrails for a 'dirty rice' recipe," he said, "and then, even maybe some of the hair or feathers for fly-tying, and things like that."

The fly tying he refers to involves using feathers for fly-fishing hooks. Curtiss also urged people to train and practice as much as possible to avoid firing unnecessary rounds. Being in good enough shape to remove meat from an animal quickly and get it on ice is another way to avoid waste.

If you're successful, Curtiss said, avoid taking a gratuitous picture with the animal and posting it on social media. He said many states still face challenges in attracting a new generation of hunters and can't afford to turn off more people to the sport.

"I think it's noteworthy that hunters be respectful and realize that their audience isn't always just hunters," he said. "There are other folks that are going to be looking on, and it's up to us to ensure that we promote hunting in the best light possible."

He reminded people that a lot of wildlife conservation funding in the United States comes from taxes and fees on hunting and fishing. As for waterfowl hunting, Curtiss stressed not using lead ammunition to avoid harmful elements making their way into the water. The Biden administration has been pushing to phase out lead ammo for hunting on federal lands.


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