ND and Three Affiliated Tribes reach hunting, fishing agreement

By Dale Wetzel
Bismarck, North Dakota (AP) 4-08

New agreements between North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department and the Three Affiliated Tribes should make it easier for boaters to use tribal land for access to Lake Sakakawea, state and tribal officials say.

Marcus Wells Jr., chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, and Gov. John Hoeven signed the two agreements recently.

The accords say the two governments will recognize each other’s hunting and fishing licenses, and that state and tribal game wardens will assist each other in prosecuting regulatory violations.

The Three Affiliated Tribes no longer will charge access or conservation fees for boaters who wish to use tribal lands to launch their craft into Lake Sakakawea, said Terry Steinwand, director of North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department.

In exchange, the department will pay the tribe $25,000 annually, and agency funds may be used to help develop boating and fishing facilities on tribal land, the fishing agreement says.

“The idea we had was one stop instead of two stops, to get access to the lake, to get the hunting and fishing going,” Wells said during a news conference in the state Capitol. “That’s what we’re trying to do, is make it a package ... versus having to go to different offices to get the same access.”

Hoeven said the boating regulatory agreement also paves the way for other joint efforts in developing such things as access, boat ramps and docks.

Non-Indian hunters who are hunting on land that is privately owned by non-Indians but is within the boundaries of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation will need only a state hunting license under the agreement.

A tribal license still will be needed if a hunter is hunting on tribal trust lands or land that is privately owned by a tribal member, the agreement says. A hunter who has a tribal license and shoots game on Indian land will be able to take it off the reservation without buying a state license.

Steinwand said the boating regulatory agreement gives people the opportunity to cross reservation lands to access Lake Sakakawea for fishing. “In the past, they did have to legally have access permits from the tribe,” he said.

“This makes it easier for the public, and it certainly makes it a lot easier for the tribe,” Steinwand said.