Doug Leier: Terry Steinwand talks about his career at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Steinwand on his career path to becoming Director of Game and Fish.

I started out as a garrison diversion fishery biologist. I have managed the canal lakes and a few other lakes around central North Dakota. Mainly worked on biota transfer issues. In 1990, the post of head of fisheries was opened. I applied for it and was lucky enough to have the title for 15 years. When the director position opened after Dean Hildebrand retired, the governor’s office actually asked me to apply, and I applied and got appointed.

Terry Steinwand, Director of the North Dakota Hunting and Fishing Department. (Photo / ND Hunting and Fishing Department)


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What comes to your mind when asked about North Dakota’s outer resources?

They are constantly changing. We can go from boom to bust very quickly. When I took over as head of the fisheries division, we were in the midst of a drought. And, of course, not having much water in the landscape, our fisheries weren’t doing very well. With 185 lakes and some of them quite shallow at the time, we could just try to maintain some recreational fisheries in those lakes.

Fast forward to 2006 when I became director. We were actually in the middle of a wet cycle and there were 3.2 million acres of CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) in the landscape and we were really gaining momentum on the recreational fishing side. , but even more on the birds, pheasants, grouse, white-tailed deer… they were doing fantastic, so we really did witness some terrific hunting and fishing at that time.

Since then we have lost approximately 2 million acres of CRP and we have seen other challenges associated with managing the resource or producing that resource. The peaches continued to really climb, however; the fishermen have done a wonderful job. Over 400 lakes managed for recreational fishing right now, and I can’t think of one that isn’t a great fishery right now.

And of course our wildlife division has done a tremendous job of getting back quite low numbers of deer. But again, a bad winter can set us back. We still have to continue working on habitat issues.

By dedicating his entire career to the outdoors.

I got into this business because I love to hunt and fish. Anyone who buys a license enjoys hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors. And I’m proud of it. I’m proud to be part of the process, to be part of the team, to be part of this whole community that offers opportunities. I want everyone’s children and grandchildren to enjoy what I have had the opportunity to enjoy. And if we can improve it, then we should improve it.

On the sequel.

Once my boat is repaired, I go fishing. And when fall comes, I’ll go hunting. But I will miss people and have to keep busy. And I have four grandchildren aged 1 to 5, not very old yet, and I want them to have the same love of the outdoors that I have acquired. Granted, I had a slightly different upbringing on a farm and was able to do things that they are not able to do now. But I want to give them this opportunity. Let’s go shore fishing in a little lake here. Let’s go for a walk in the pasture. I want to show them what I was able to do as a kid.

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Leier is an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Contact him at [email protected]

Doug leier

Doug leier

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