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Matters of Opinion

Authors and Contributors
Terry Steinwand

The mission of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is to protect, conserve and enhance fish and wildlife populations and their habitats for sustained public consumptive and nonconsumptive use.”

I’ve written these words before in this space and it’s a good bet you’ve read them elsewhere in North Dakota OUTDOORS over the years.

Here at Game and Fish, those 30 words guide us. We take them very seriously.

We also take seriously the safety of those individuals while they hunt, fish and recreate in North Dakota’s outdoors.

While proper instruction from parents and mentors goes a long way in readying new hunters – armed for the first time with shotguns and high-powered rifles – for the field, much of the credit falls into the hardworking and tolerant hands of our volunteer hunter education instructors.

More than 700 hunter education instructors volunteer their valuable time annually to teach proper gun-handling and other safety measures, ethics and conservation to students who, for the most part, have designs on becoming hunters.

Those 700-plus volunteer hunter education instructors devote thousands of hours per year. In 2018, for example, more than 4,000 students were certified in the standard classroom setting, while another 300-plus passed the online hunter education course.

While fall, and the many hunting opportunities available to new and veteran hunters alike in North Dakota, is still weeks away, summer is upon us. Which means anglers and many other people will be recreating on or near the many waters found across North Dakota.

Things can go wrong quickly on the water, which is why this agency will forever remind boaters to follow the law and have enough life jackets on board to accommodate all passengers. Also, remember that North Dakota law requires all kids ages 10 and younger to wear a personal flotation device while in boats less than 27 feet in length.

While things can go south on the water under the best of circumstances, accidents are more likely to happen if those people operating boats are impaired.

In an effort to help throw water on any accidents from happening, while educating boaters on the dangers of boating under the influence, Department wardens and other law enforcement will again participate in Operation Dry Water this summer on waters across the state.

During this boating under the influence campaign, water recreationists will see more law enforcement officials on the water. To learn more about the program, a story on Operation Dry Water is featured in this issue of NDO.

Be safe out there in North Dakota’s great outdoors this summer, and mindful of those people with whom you are sharing the resources. Be courteous at boat ramps and help those who need it.