Who’s in more trouble? Canada or North Dakota?
With the Canadian borders closed to waterfowl hunters this fall, Joe Genzel of Outdoor Life said in an article earlier this week that “thousands of outfitters across the province will lose a total estimated $68 million dollars in the first month.” North Dakota will see a troubling amount of hunters flock to their state because Canada is no longer an option for the start of the season for many water fowlers. Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird management supervisor for North Dakota Game and Fish said North Dakota will look like a war zone with hunters come October 3rd.
What is certain is the amount of pressure there will be in North Dakota. Mike told Tony Kennedy from The Star Tribune, “there will be a ton of competition for hunting spots this year. Without Canada, thousands of hunters will come to the fields and marshes that North Dakota offers.” Mike also stated, “It will be interesting to see the turnout in person; I can imagine our game wardens to be busy 24/7 when our season opens up on October 3rd”
Every year, thousands of duck and goose hunter go north across the border into Canada to have the first opportunity to harvest waterfowl.
With COVID-19 still a factor in everyday life, and travel across the world being very limited; Canada has decided to close its borders to American hunters this year. Leaving many people upset and worried about what the future brings.
Canada is home to over 25,000 hunting outfitters, lots of Americans stay and go on professional guided hunts for certain amounts of money. Outfitting is big business for Canadian Provinces, and with the border closed; outfitters will hurt financially this fall. Fox News reporter Michael Hollan found that in 2018, there were about 17,000 licensed waterfowl hunters in Saskatchewan and 54% percent were nonresidents. American duck hunters reportedly outnumber resident duck hunters in other parts of Canada as well.
Too many hunters from the states, going to Canada is a dream come true and a great way to start the season off with a bang! In a recent survey conducted by OutdoorLife’s Genzel, over 81% of Canadians didn’t want the border to open for American hunters. This was due a spike in covid cases in the states, but some see it differently. Canadian Travel and Tourism generates around $74 billion and employs 1.8 million people, (Startribune.com), they have been pleading to the prime minister to allow healthy Americans back into Canada. Without American tourists, Canada has already lost a lot of money. Star Tribune also says, “It’s estimated that over $68 million dollars will be lost just from hunting outfitters in Alberta alone”.
Not only is the waterfowl industry huge in Canada, it’s also a way of life and a main income for thousands. Many animals are hunted from outfitters and people lives depend on clients from parts of the world to come hunt. This past spring, a major waterfowl outfitter lost a total estimation of $140,000, (Outdoorlife.com).
Closing the border has left a big impact on hunters in the states as well. With Canada closed, the next area for hunters to travel to is North Dakota. North Dakota outfitters are filling up fast and with an unlimited number of licenses to hand out, ND seems like it will be a zoo with hunters come this fall. Waterfowl biologist Al Afton says the pandemic and the closure of Canada will lessen the pressure of hunters that ducks and geese face in Canada. Instead they will be awoken when the cross the border into the states.
COVID has really had an impact for data research and management within government agencies like Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl. Due to COVID, much of the data that is collected annually was not collected in full amount because of CDC guidelines. Many biologists couldn’t go to work and many wildlife officers weren’t able to get an accurate and full count on how well the hatch of ducks and geese were (Fox News).
Without this data, hunters are left uncertain on how well the season might go, and whether or not they will even see birds come out of Canada. With Canada closed, hunters are speculating birds will stay in Canada longer, due to the lack of hunting pressure. Many theories are coming from duck hunter across the country on every bulletin board and social media site across America. We are just left uncertain.