Friday, 9 March 2012
I attended a very interesting session this week called the Sporting and Oil Industry Forum. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a dialog between North Dakota’s oil and gas industry and the State’s conservation leaders. Hunters and fisherman were represented by virtually all of the conservation/hunting groups. I was representing Delta. Pheasants Forever, DU, Mule Deer Foundation, NWTF, RMEF, Audubon and several others were there as well.
North Dakota, long the butt of countless jokes and only in the news when 14 foot drifts cover our highways or someone dies of lutefisk poisoning, finds itself in the rare position of being newsworthy. Unemployment is staggeringly low, the agricultural economy is strong and oil and gas development is proceeding at a frantic pace. North Dakota is well endowed with great duck and other habitat. It has wonderfully nice people. It is also blessed with remarkable resources. Coal, a long-term staple in the State is now joined by wind development and the emergence of the Bakken formation, one of the largest domestic sources of oil and natural gas. North Dakota news outlets refer to the Bakken as the American Saudi Arabia. The people of North Dakota are movin’ on up.
Friday, 13 January 2012
A miraculous thing happened the other day in Bismarck—it snowed. A light skiff of snow finally put a white frosting on a brown landscape in the Dakotas. Duck hunters everywhere have been waiting endlessly for a cold front and some snow “Up North” to dislodge the ducks and reenergize the migration. Up here, our sleds haven’t left the shed, our winter boots are still in the closet and a brown Christmas was had by nearly all.
I haven’t had to spend time on my 4-wheeler plowing the driveway or shoveling, and while that has been a nice reprieve, it certainly ruined my treasured late-season pheasant hunting. In fact, my buddies who chase deer with a bow feel a little cheated too.
What is extraordinary is how quickly weather changes. Just mere months ago, flooding across the prairies made big headlines; crops couldn’t be planted due to flooded fields, and everyone was just flat-out soaked. Virtually every nook and cranny of the prairies was wetter than heck and set the table for nesting ducks.