Hunters flock to southwest N.D. for pheasant, turkey openers"If you really look back through time, the number of hunters that we've had actually out in the field has really increased since 2000," said Stan Kohn, upland game biologist for the North Dakota Game Fish Department.
By: Ashley Martin, Dickinson (N.D.) Press
Blaze orange is a popular color this weekend since fall turkey and pheasant season opened Saturday.
Dick Thomason of Bessemer, Mich. has returned to the Dickinson area for another year of pheasant hunting.
"We've been coming here for at least 20 years," he said Saturday while cleaning his kill for the day.
Thomason got his limit in about three hours Saturday morning and compared pheasant numbers to last year.
He hunts in other states as well, but said he enjoys the friendly company of North Dakota residents.
"We just like the North Dakota area," Thomason said.
He hunts strictly pheasant because his dogs, Jack, Doc and Beary can participate and he likes the action.
"Our whole family can do it," Thomason said.
An average of eight family members hunt with him yearly and he comes to the area five or six times during the season.
Thomason is staying at the Comfort Inn for the weekend and Melissa Johnson, general manager, said the hotel is booked through Oct. 16.
"It looks to be a pretty normal year as far as the number of hunters we're seeing," she said. "It's a normal time of year for us to be full."
About 35 rooms were booked for hunters this weekend, many of them large groups reserving several rooms at a time, she added.
"It's a little bit lighter this first weekend," Johnson said. "Starting Tuesday the 12th, it gets pretty crazy around here."
Part of the reason for less hunters staying during opening weekend could be because out-of-state hunters have different regulations this weekend, said Stan Kohn, upland game biologist for the North Dakota Game Fish Department.
"This weekend nonresidents cannot hunt any of the state wildlife management areas, nor can they hunt the walk-in areas that are called the PLOTS areas," Kohn said. "The PLOTS areas are private lands that we lease with the landowner and we give him a payment for allowing his land to be open for hunting."
The amount of hunters that come to the state continues to increase, he added.
"If you really look back through time, the number of hunters that we've had actually out in the field has really increased since 2000," Kohn said.
Larger pheasant populations have likely increased the number of hunters, he said.
The Dickinson Press and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.