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Search continues for new G&F director

Steinwand to retire in July

—Terry Steinwand

BISMARCK – The search continues to find a replacement for North Dakota Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand. Steinwand is retiring from his position at the end of July.

Steinwand started as a fisheries biologist with Game and Fish in 1982, was named fisheries division chief in 1989, and appointed director in 2006 by former Gov. John Hoeven, now a U.S. senator. It is up to Gov. Doug Burgum to name a replacement.

A spokesman for Burgum said the position was “posted nationally” and added that if the position is not filled by Aug. 1 then the naming of an interim director is a possibility.

“They haven’t asked me about a replacement and, typically, they would not,” said Steinwand. “If they name an interim, Scott Peterson is very capable and I know he’s applied for the job.”

Peterson is currently the deputy director of Game and Fish.

When asked about his most memorable accomplishments during his time as G&F director, Steinwand noted that the department “reached the one-million acre goal in PLOTS”, Private Land Open To Sportsmen. The amount of PLOTS land has since slipped below one million acres but Steinwand says “It’s better right now because it’s habitat based.”

Steinwand, who said he tends not to look backward but just forward, did note other changes in the department under his leadership.

“Going electronic. I’m hoping it was really useful to the public, especially with our doors closed during COVID, and certainly above-normal license sales,” said Steinwand. “Those are two of the things that stick in my mind right now.”

Sales of all hunting and fishing licenses issued by Game and Fish recently increased 15%.

“I attribute some of that, maybe most of that, to the ability to go online and buy a license,” remarked Steinwand.

The retiring director called himself a “fairly simple person” who tasked his employees with “getting the job done within budget” and gave credit for doing so to his staff which he said will continue to perform at a high level under new leadership.

“There won’t be a missing of any beats. The staff here is just so great,” said Steinwand. “They get the job done. They just go get stuff done.”

Steinwand said his retirement will include work on the family farm near Garrison and plenty of hunting and fishing.

“I’ve got lots of stuff to do, even in winter. I’d really like to do some coyote hunting,” said Steinwand.

The initial deadline for applications for Steinwand’s position was June 15. However that deadline has been extended.

“We are extending that until June 30th,” said Mike Nowatski, spokesman for Gov. Burgum. “We’ve received five applications so far, which is a bit lower than we would normally see for a cabinet position like this.”

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