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Matters of Opinion

Authors and Contributors

Terry Steinwand

It’s a busy time of year in North Dakota’s outdoors.

By the time this magazine is printed and mailed to subscribers, the echoes of the first shotgun blasts, signaling the state’s pheasant opener, will have faded.

I’m hoping that hunters went in to the pheasant season with reasonable expectations, considering bird numbers are down in many areas following a difficult winter, drought and an altered landscape.

Even so, I’m guessing those hunters willing to burn a little boot leather, shot some birds and enjoyed their time outdoors.

Of course, North Dakota’s waterfowl hunting season is in full swing, has been for a couple weeks or so. Bowhunters, be it those archers sitting in tree stands waiting for a whitetail to wander by, or those stalking bedded mule deer in the badlands, have also been hunting for more than a month.

Based on photos and anecdotal evidence we’ve received, the elk and moose seasons have also gone well. While there’s a lot of time to go yet, that part of the hunting landscape sounds positive.

And let’s not discount those people who enjoy the outdoors by simply hiking or camping at this time of year when the temperatures have cooled considerably and the landscape is turning colors.

Like I said, it’s a busy time of year in North Dakota’s great outdoors.

On the cover of the issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS, the flipside of this page, you’ll notice a fall fishing scene from the Missouri River south of Bismarck. This photograph is significant, I believe, because it serves as a reminder of the great fishing North Dakota offers in fall.

With so many hunting opportunities available, I understand the want and need to swap out the fishing rods for shotguns, rifles and bows. Yet, I encourage you to not forget about the wonderful fishing on the Missouri River System, Devils Lake, the state’s many prairie walleye lakes, and elsewhere.

Because we are always seemingly in transition here on the Northern Plains, it won’t be too long before these open waters are frozen over and we’re drilling holes in the ice, while contemplating the open-water fishing that will once again arrive in spring.

I’ve always said how much of a fan I am of our four seasons in North Dakota and the opportunities each season offers. Yet, if I could alter any, just a bit, I would make certain that fall stuck around just a little longer than it does to afford us the chance to experience all passions and pursuits during what is arguably the best time of year.

Here’s wishing that maybe, just maybe, Mother Nature is paying attention.

If she does or doesn’t, I still encourage everyone to get outside to remind yourself what is so special about this place and the many opportunities available in North Dakota’s great outdoors.