How can they hay this much public ground

Tbear

UPH Master
Really disappointed in the state letting this much public go to hay ground. 75-50% of everything we saw way hayed down to the ground. Won’t be coming back for my Second week. Not worth the money. Went to a spot that was 300 acres of beautiful bluestem last year and nothing was left this year. This is going to leave a lasting problem for years to come.
 

gettinbirdie

Active member
I know its tuff when you commit time and money on a trip but you got to understand that someone might be trying to make ends meet on a bad year....it happens. I just hope all these hard working ag-folks get through this and continue to support the "public" lands program. Theres always other properties... and next year..
 

gimruis

Well-known member
You aren't going to win the fight against Big Ag. Ever. Hoping that the drought ends by next spring and doesn't return for years would be about the best circumstance.
 

McFarmer

Well-known member
It’s my understanding that the original poster is saying publicly owned land is being hayed. Is that correct?

So big ag and making ends meet wouldn't have anything to do with this situation. It’s just a management decision the DNR made.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding.
 
They subcontract that out to a local farmer. However, McFarmer is right. Unless the state agency is being strong armed into over haying their public ground (which could be possible) it's a management decision, and probably a good one.

There's a good chance the drought gave land managers the opportunity to manage stands of vegetation that have been too wet to hay for a couple years. 2019 was epically wet out here and it took until this past fall for water levels to get to near normal levels. If you have a chance to get into an area that's normally inaccessible to manage it, you have to take it.

That's not saying there isn't political forces at play. There could be. However, it might just be a regular management practice that has been put off for a few years due to the conditions.
 

McFarmer

Well-known member
Folks around here get really wound up when the DNR grazes some of their land. It’s a very common practice around here. Extremely low stocking rate of cows gives them the mix of heights they want to see. They do this mostly on pure native grass stands.

There was an old farmer near here that had a native pasture he grazed and hayed when possible, it was a wet piece of ground. Some folks found a very rare native orchid on it. The DNR bought it and within three years the orchid couldn’t be found, or very much diminished.

The DNR fenced it, put a few cows back on it and lo and behold the orchid flourished again.

Can‘t very well hunt it while the cows are there but remember, hunting isn’t their primary concern.
 

Munster927

Well-known member
I can't speak for SD, but in MN I've never seen them hay public land. I've seen them burn it, not hay.

I'm wondering if the public TBear is referring to is a public land that's technically private but has a contract with the state to allow public hunting. In MN we call these areas "Walk In Areas".

If that is what was hayed, I could see that as the land is owned by a private owner, they can do whatever they want with their land. But if it's actual state land owned by SD game and fish, that is odd they hayed it.
 
I can't speak for SD, but in MN I've never seen them hay public land. I've seen them burn it, not hay.

I'm wondering if the public TBear is referring to is a public land that's technically private but has a contract with the state to allow public hunting. In MN we call these areas "Walk In Areas".

If that is what was hayed, I could see that as the land is owned by a private owner, they can do whatever they want with their land. But if it's actual state land owned by SD game and fish, that is odd they hayed it.
That's possible. WIA's and CREP are private land open to public hunting. I believe if they hay over a certain percentage of it they get less money from the state. These lands are definitely hayed more than game production areas or WPA's. However, haying is still used as a management tool (along with grazing/burning) on both GPA's and WPA's.

They also hay WMA's in MN. I've seen them do it numerous times. They usually hay when they can't burn due to the location, or if the burn crew didn't have time to get to it. I think it's more common in some areas of the state then others.
 

jackrabbit

Active member
I can't speak for SD, but in MN I've never seen them hay public land. I've seen them burn it, not hay.

I'm wondering if the public TBear is referring to is a public land that's technically private but has a contract with the state to allow public hunting. In MN we call these areas "Walk In Areas".

If that is what was hayed, I could see that as the land is owned by a private owner, they can do whatever they want with their land. But if it's actual state land owned by SD game and fish, that is odd they hayed it.

Possibly... After rethinking what I saw last week in SD, CREP (private, open to public), WIA (private, open to public), WPA (federal) were the ones that I know I saw hayed. I can't recall if I saw WMA's (or other state owned land) that was hayed.
 

Woollybob

Member
Possibly... After rethinking what I saw last week in SD, CREP (private, open to public), WIA (private, open to public), WPA (federal) were the ones that I know I saw hayed. I can't recall if I saw WMA's (or other state owned land) that was hayed.

Similar to what we saw - All WIAs were hayed and many of the WPAs hayed. CREP was mostly planted corn.

And the freshly baled hay is stacked up next to the older bales from years past that were unused and rotting. Also frustrating to see the mowed down WIAs next to the unmowed private ground.
 

mutthunt

Active member
Yep, the decimation of cover is a serious gut punch.

Here's a rancid cherry on top: if we have another drought next spring and summer, and/or we have a very severe winter, next year will be even worse.
 

gimruis

Well-known member
Here's a rancid cherry on top: if we have another drought next spring and summer, and/or we have a very severe winter, next year will be even worse.

Its a very real possibility. Drought takes time to occur; it also takes time to recover. Hate to say it but we may need an epic amount of snowfall this winter to make a dent.
 

BRITTMAN

Well-known member
Haying probably saved some ranchers ...

Can you imagine if there was not this CRP and CREP safety net ??

I have seen ND WPAs (Federal) both farmed and grazed. What I don't understand is it is often all of the grass ... not just a portion ... even on really large units. Grazing if done right supposedly replicates Bison.

Burning is probably better ...

Much of the Dakotas received a tremendous amount of rain in September and October. Drought not gone but the baseline is improved.
 

BRITTMAN

Well-known member
Leased walk-in land ... do they still get their payment if hayed ?? Assume they do.

Leased private land ... private people or outfitters ... assume they would not pay (contract void) if hayed.

Thus the discrepency noted above (I observed the same thing when out there the 1st week of October).
 

BRITTMAN

Well-known member
Finally ... I have no issue with both ND and MN walk-in areas that are a mix of cover and ag crop land. There is great opportunity to hunt these parcels ... I would much rather hunt 160 or 320 acre patch with lots of edges than one with the entire area in continuous CRP grass ... and I have Brittanys which excel in grass birds.
 

3car

Active member
Really disappointed in the state letting this much public go to hay ground. 75-50% of everything we saw way hayed down to the ground. Won’t be coming back for my Second week. Not worth the money. Went to a spot that was 300 acres of beautiful bluestem last year and nothing was left this year. This is going to leave a lasting problem for years to come
What counties did you hunt?

 
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