Permanent stands gain traction in N.D.
Even on the prairies of North Dakota, they're becoming more apparent every year. Deer stands, some hunters call them. Houses on stilts, say others. Either way, the increasing number of permanent stands reflects a new direction for North Dakota hu...
Even on the prairies of North Dakota, they're becoming more apparent every year.
Deer stands, some hunters call them. Houses on stilts, say others.
Either way, the increasing number of permanent stands reflects a new direction for North Dakota hunters. A move away from pushing the brush and covering ground to roust out deer, toward waiting in one place - often in heated comfort - for deer to wander into shooting range.
Gary Rankin, district game warden for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Larimore, N.D., says he even has seen hunters construct stands in old trucks and, in one case, a combine.
"You get out into some of the large grassland areas with sloughs, heavy cover and hard to push deer out, and you're starting to see more and more of the stand-type hunting, where people are waiting for the deer to move," Rankin said. "I'm also seeing - I wouldn't say lots - fish houses that, before going out to the lakes, people are using them for hunting blinds."
Not like Minnesota
Still, it's nothing like Minnesota, where deluxe stands on stilts often are more abundant than homes in rural areas. Roger Johnson, big game biologist for Game and Fish in Devils Lake, says North Dakota farm country is less conducive to the fancy stands because fields that are attractive to deer one year might hold none the next, depending on the crop.
"With all the cropland and CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) land, those types of field situations change from year to year more than the heavy bush country that Minnesota has," Johnson said. "That stays the same year in and year out. . . . These elaborate stands aren't really set up to take down."
Johnson, who grew up near Strathcona, Minn., got his start hunting deer before the days of the elaborate stands that now dot the Minnesota landscape.
"When I grew up in Minnesota, I think we hunted pretty much the same as we do here now - go out and walk and chase and this kind of thing," he said.
Instead of elaborate permanent stands, Johnson says portable stands seem to be the most popular option in North Dakota.
Deer hunters with experience in both states also cite other differences. Craig Hanson of Warren, Minn., hunted North Dakota for 12 years beginning in 1988 while working for Farm Credit Services in Grafton.
"Much of the time, hunting deer in North Dakota, it was just for the day, and we wound up at home that night," Hanson said, adding there were almost no home-built stands.
That was beginning to change about the time he moved back to Minnesota in 2000, Hanson said. More North Dakota hunters were buying land and building cabins, he said, along with permanent-type stands.
Nowhere, perhaps, is the trend more apparent than the Pembina Hills.
"There's more and more every year," said Mike Sedlacek, district game warden for Game and Fish in Cavalier, N.D. "It doesn't seem like there's that many people in the field any more, but they're all sitting in an enclosed stand."
Johnson, the big game biologist, credits the forested terrain, which by nature is more conducive to permanent stands.
"That's pretty heavy timber, and you could go sit in the stand all season long and have a good chance of seeing deer," Johnson said. "Maybe it will come to rest of the state, but the changing ag situations don't lend themselves to that as easily."
Reach Dokken at 780-1148, (800) 477-6572 ext. 148, or email@example.com .