I’ve had the opportunity to be the staff photographer for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department since November. It was an incredible job, but we couldn’t find a place to call home. And to be honest, I don’t know if anywhere outside Wyoming will ever be my home.
So I’m coming back. It’s a bummer to leave the job, because it’s probably the coolest job on the planet. But it’ll be good to be back in Wyoming, too.
Wyoming and North Dakota have a lot of similarities. They’re both great states for hunting and fishing, but the species you find in each state are a bit different. North Dakota has mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorns and elk, as well as bighorn sheep and moose. But you can’t just buy a general deer license over the counter in North Dakota, and you can only get one elk, moose or bighorn sheep license in your entire lifetime.
There’s a big difference in access to hunting, too. I think as a Wyoming native, I’ve taken the public land for granted. Wyoming’s about 50 percent public land, whereas North Dakota is only about five percent public. That doesn’t give you many options of places to go hunting.
I’ll be sorry to leave a state with such a robust population of wild pheasants, too. Even though the pheasant population is down about 80 percent from its high point a few years ago, there are still more pheasants up here than you can shake a shotgun at. I can’t go anywhere – even in town – without seeing at least a few of them. And the pheasants here are almost the size of Wyoming turkeys.
But as I said, it’ll be good to be home. And I’m planning my public-land elk hunt already.