Appointment Of DeKrey To N.D. Game And Fish Post Draws Criticism

While far short of an outcry, the reaction among members of the conservation community to the appointment of Duane DeKrey as deputy director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department isn’t surprising — now that the word is out.

No one’s applauding.

I wrote about DeKrey’s appointment Sunday, describing the naming of the former legislator to the Game and Fish post as “odd.” DeKrey’s record as a legislator and member of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee included opposition to pretty much every conservation measure proposed in the state in the past 15 years.

Terry Steinwand, director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, announced the news of DeKrey’s hiring in an email to employees the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. The official announcement came out this afternoon, when Steinwand in a news release said he was looking for an individual who would work with him “to address challenges into the future.”

“Duane showed that he is willing and has the ability to integrate our current views, as well as provide a different viewpoint that will help move the department forward,” Steinwand said.

In my column Sunday, I said sportsmen and others with an interest in conservation — which is facing threats never before seen in the state — could be excused for being skeptical of DeKrey’s appointment. Traditionally, the job has gone to a person with a background in natural resources.

One response took exception to my use of the word “skeptical.”

“That’s the mildest term I’ve heard so far,” the reader wrote. “This is a travesty.”

Mark Mazaheri, a Fargo sportsman and longtime activist in the state’s fish and wildlife community, wrote a letter to Steinwand on Monday, copying it to several media outlets and others in the Game and Fish Department, criticizing the appointment as “totally unacceptable” and saying it had more to do with pressure from Gov. Jack Dalrymple than a hiring based on DeKrey’s merits or ability to do the job.

“It’s simply incomprehensible,” Mazaheri wrote. “DeKrey’s track record is clearly unsupportive of resident sportsmen and resource preservation.  You need only look at his record on the Natural Resources committee to see that.  He does not belong in the Game and Fish Department.”

Hopefully, DeKrey proves the doubters out there wrong. One thing’s for sure: They’re definitely watching.

5 Responses

  1. ValleyGuy

    I am applauding! Lets see, a new member of management of the Game & Fish Dept. who will have common sense.

    Here is some things that have gone on with the G & F Dept. and the (mis) management of property they own:
    1) Not paying property taxes. I’ve seen where a parcel owned by the G & F, was listed in a county newspaper “tax delinquency”, for not having paid the property tax on that G & F property.

    2) When a parcel of G & F property was on fire, a game warden told a firefighter to let G & F property burn.

    3) Placing a cable across a trail in a G & F Dept. parcel. The deer ran through the trail, hit the cable breaking there neck. So much for save the deer!

    The G & F Dept. needs some common sense. This new person is the right person!

  2. Johnny

    I applaud the choice as well. Someone with a totally different background.

    Just another negative hit piece by the lefty libs at the Herald…nothing new from them.

  3. Mark Mazaheri

    You guys should do some homework on the issues. Go to the legislature’s website and look at DeKrey’s history on bills. I’m proud to be ultra-conservative, but I won’t blindly follow the Republicans when they introduce politics into the science of wildlife management. I’ll call BS on the statement about delinquent taxes, too. NDGF doesn’t actually pay property taxes, they make “payments in lieu of taxes” in an amount equal to the assessment. They are required by law to pay, unlike any other state agency or university.

  4. ValleyGuy

    They didn’t make the “lieu of taxes” payment in this case. When gov’t owns property, they expect roads, fire protection and a host of other services for it.

    In this one case, the “in lieu of taxes” was not paid. The public schools and other gov’t entities never got their money on time, that the G & F was suppose to be pay.

    Also, I have been on G & F land that had leafy spruge on it. Leafy spurge is a listed noxious weed.

    Before the G & F goes out and wants more land, they need to adequately manage what they already own. Maybe even give up some land, if they have too much.

    The G & F needs some accountability. Looks like they got the right man in their to do it!

    1. CT

      ValleyGuy- maybe there’s a reason why you saw leafy spurge on Game and Fish property….probably because Game and Fish doesn’t have enough money so that they can hire seasonal biotechs to go out and eradicate exotic invasive species. You know what would be really great? If you would quit whining about it, go get your pesticide applicator’s license, and work with your District Game and Fish office to coordinate a citizen/workder’s field day. Do your homework and check out how Game and Fish gets funded…then you might be a little more sympathetic. What would be even better is if Dalmrymple would make a legislative appropriation to Game and Fish Department and funnel some of the state’s million dollar surplus from the oil boom to conservation.

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