North Dakota Deer News

Demand for pronghorn hunting licenses high in North Dakota August 31, 2015 North Dakota, Wahpeton Daily News
... about 6,500 people applying for just 410 licenses ...  a big reason for the increase in licenses this year is a jump in the buck-to-doe ratio... estimated 44 bucks for every 100 does — about double the ratio during years in which hunting was closed...  estimated North Dakota's pronghorn population at 5,500 animals, up 53 percent from the recent low point in 2012...

Hunters must deal with chronic wasting disease August 27, 2015 North Dakota, The Bismarck Tribune
... during North Dakota’s 2009 deer season, a hunter shot a mule deer in Sioux County that was later confirmed to have CWD. That set into motion some transportation rules for deer taken in that part of the state ... Hunters harvesting a big game animal this fall in North Dakota deer unit 3F2 cannot transport a carcass containing the head and spinal column outside of the unit ...

More North Dakota land being dedicated to wildlife habitat August 20, 2015 Bakken.com
... The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting an additional 25,000 acres of land in the state into programs under the Conservation Reserve Program ... protects water quality and restores significant habitat for ducks, pheasants, turkey, quail, deer ...

Small number of North Dakota deer licenses remain August 7, 2015 North Dakota, The Dickinson Press
... received 95,000 applications for deer licenses during the first part of its lottery process ... 51,000 of those applications were unsuccessful...

Hunters Reminded of Big Game Transport Rules August 2, 2015 South Dakota, NDGF News
     Big game hunters are reminded of requirements for transporting deer, elk and moose carcasses and carcass parts into and within North Dakota as a precaution against the possible spread of chronic wasting disease.  Hunters harvesting a big game animal this fall in North Dakota deer unit 3F2 cannot transport a carcass containing the head and spinal column outside of the unit unless it’s taken directly to a meat processor. The head can be removed from the carcass and transported outside of the unit if it is to be submitted to a State Game and Fish Department district office, CWD surveillance drop-off location or a licensed taxidermist...

ND to study climate change impacts on wildlife June 14, 2015 North Dakota, INFORUM
... state game officials will include climate change in their wildlife management plans... Weather patterns also have been shown to affect mule deer populations, as winters alternate between mild and severe in response to the shifting El Nino, La Nina pattern ...

Game and Fish discusses the reduced tags in North Dakota and the effort to expand deer populations. June 3, 2015



Trying to bring deer numbers back May 22, 2015 North Dakota, Jamestown Sun
... This year's deer season is designed to get the population, particularly for whitetails, headed back in a positive direction. Game and Fish has allowed for 43,275 total licenses, 4,725 fewer than last year... Game and Fish is allocating 1,875 licenses for antlered mule deer in 2015, an increase of 525 from last year. [mule deer population is increasing in the badlands]

N.D. Game and Fish prepares for paperless licensing May 21, 2015 North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune
... A state law passed in 2013 requires licenses to be sold electronically starting April 1... It will mean vendors must have have computers and printers and, as of now, only about 100 of the vendors print online licenses for their customers ...

... the number of licenses allocated for this fall is the lowest since 1978... deer numbers are much lower than the peak population in the mid-2000s, considering we've had several severe winters since 2009, and a significant loss of habitat on the landscape throughout much of the state...

North Dakota Cuts Deer Tags Again May 7, 2015 Valley News Live
...  Jeb Williams, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department, said deer populations remain well below management objectives in most units ...

Deer Season Set, Online Apps Available May 6, 2015 North Dakota, NDGF News
     North Dakota’s 2015 deer season is set, with 43,275 licenses available to hunters this fall, 4,725 fewer than last year, and the lowest number since 1978.  Jeb Williams, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department, said deer populations remain well below management objectives in most units, and continuing a conservative management approach is needed to help with recovery efforts.  Any-antlerless (down 2,650 from last year) and any-antlered (down 1,150) licenses make up the majority of the reduction, while antlerless whitetail (down 800) and antlered whitetail (down 650) account for the remainder.
     On a positive note, Williams said the mule deer population in the badlands increased for the third consecutive year, with numbers showing the spring mule deer index is up 24 percent from last year.  However, as was the case the past four years, there are no antlerless mule deer licenses available in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. This applies to regular gun, resident and nonresident any-deer bow, gratis and youth licenses.
     The number of licenses available for 2015 includes 1,875 for antlered mule deer, an increase of 525 from last year; 828 for muzzleloader, down 104 from last year; and 187 restricted youth antlered mule deer, an increase of 53 from last year.

Mule deer does in badlands off limits for 4th straight year May 4, 2015 North Dakota, Oklahoma News
... It was the third consecutive year of a mule deer population increase of at least 15 percent, but biologists want the animals to recover even more before once again hunters go after females in the badlands...

Spring Mule Deer Count Complete April 27, 2015 North Dakota, NDGF News
... western North Dakota’s mule deer population has increased 24 percent from last year.  Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor, said the increase is a result of less severe winters the past couple of years, no harvest of antlerless mule deer during the past three deer hunting seasons, and improved fawn production. The 2015 index is 16 percent higher than the long-term average.  “In order to maintain further population growth we need to maintain a conservative management approach, with no antlerless mule deer harvest again in 2015,” Stillings said.
     Biologists counted 2,376 mule deer in 306.3 square miles during this year’s survey. Overall mule deer density in the badlands was 7.8 deer per square mile, which is up from 6.3 deer per square mile in 2014...

ND Game and Fish revisits deer license goals April 16, 2015 North Dakota, Dickinson Press
...  the department uses five key indicators--five-year average harvest rates, regional license densities, regional aerial survey data, regional hunter observation rates and biological/social factors such as disease and deer-vehicle collisions — to set license goals...

NDGF revisits deer license goals April 12, 2015 North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald 
... The challenge, he said, is to set license numbers at a level that maintains the 70 percent success rate North Dakota hunters have come to expect. Habitat loss resulting from expiring Conservation Reserve Program contracts, more land being developed for agriculture and the oil boom out west means the landscape no longer can support as many deer as it could in the early 2000s ...

Deer discussion dominates meeting April 12, 2015 North Dakota, Minot Daily News
...  "We are doing our best to manage that herd and build numbers back up, but it is going to take some time." ... "deer are still declining" and that "this year will see a reduction in deer tags again."  "A lot of grassland is gone. Where we used to have whitetails popping up like popcorn we're just not going to have the whitetails that we used to have," ...

Upping North Dakota hunter success rates April 9, 2015 Dickinson Press
... In addition to harvest rates and surveys, Game and Fish biologists monitor a number of other population indices to determine license numbers, as well as depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and agency field staff...

... One of the primary benchmarks that North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists use to assess deer populations and hunter satisfaction is the success rate by gun hunters...  a success rate of around 70 percent means hunters are generally satisfied ... archery license holders...  a success rate of 30 percent...

Don't count conservation out in N.D. April 6, 2015 North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald
...  pronghorn antelope, mule deer buck, elk, moose and even whitetail deer licenses have been cut back from where they were in years past ... As it turned out, Measure 5 [the conservation measure] failed to galvanize anywhere near enough support...

Crookston fire, DNR team up to rescue deer stuck in Red Lake River April 2, 2015 North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald 
... The men struggle to bring the boat alongside the deer, which the radio stations reported had been in the water for an estimated four hours, before helping the exhausted animal into the boat. [video below seems black but shows the rescue when played]


... Bow hunters who participated in Fargo's 2014-2015 annual wildlife management program harvested 35 deer ... Since the program started in 2006, 182 deer have been harvested...

Two Deer Test Positive for CWD March 23, 2105 North Dakota Game and Fish
... Two mule deer taken during the 2014 deer gun season from unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the State Game and Fish Department. The total now stands at seven deer to test positive for CWD since 2009, and all were from the same general area within unit 3F2. “This isn’t surprising, and the number of positives coming out of the area remains low,” Grove said, while mentioning both hunters were notified of the positive results... Since the Game and Fish Department’s sampling efforts began in 2002, more than 25,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD...

... All of the deer that have tested positive for CWD in recent years have been in the 3F2 hunting unit in southwestern North Dakota...

N.D. deer hunting success rises slightly in 2014 March 22, 2015 North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald
...  Here's a look at license numbers and hunter success in the previous five years: 2009: 144,400 licenses; 85,000 deer; 59 percent success.  2010: 116,775 licenses; 67,000 deer; 64 percent success.   2011: 109,950 licenses; 57,000 deer; 52 percent success.  2012: 65,300 licenses; 34,500 deer; 63 percent success.  2013: 59,500 licenses; 32,725 deer; 55 percent success.

2014 Deer Season Summarized March 16, 2015 North Dakota, NDGF
     North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 26,300 deer during the 2014 deer gun hunting season.  The State Game and Fish Department made available 48,000 deer gun licenses in 2014, and all licenses were issued. Overall hunter success was 60 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.  Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 60 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 56 percent.  Mule deer buck success was 82 percent. No mule deer doe licenses were issued in 2014...  [Muzzle loaders took 356, archers took 6,046 for a total of 32,702]

Elk and Moose Seasons Set, No Bighorn Sheep Season March 3, 2015 North Dakota, NDGF
     North Dakota’s elk and moose hunting seasons are set with more licenses available in 2015 than last year. However, the bighorn sheep hunting season will be closed for the first time since 1983.  A total of 301 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, an increase of 40 from last year....

Fish, wildlife managers weigh in on mild winter February 19, 2015 North Dakota, Dickinson Press
...  deer and other critters are utilizing a lot of energy from feed sources to bedding areas,” he said. “They’re able to move freely, conserve a lot of energy, and it puts them into good shape going into spring.”  That’s apparent in the low number of depredation complaints from farmers about animals raiding feed supplies ...

North Dakota Data: About 12,000 mule deer and 105,000 whitetails in 2014.  A 2015 spring survey of western North Dakota showed a 24 percent increase in the mule deer population of the Badlands after a few mild winters bringing the count to 2376, or 7.8 per square mile of the 306.3 square miles in the Badlands where the survey was conducted.  Mule deer anterless tags continue to be restricted in an effort to increase the population.  
     Although the deer population rose to a recent record level in 2007, the deer population is near a 30 year low.  The number of deer tags have been reduced to 48,000 in 2014, also a 30 year low,  and 59,500 n 2013  to help the herd rebound. The state issued 150,000 deer tags in 2007 to reduce the population. Harsh winters and habitat loss have further reduced the deer herd, particularly in the northern Red River Valley.  Two million acres of land has been lost from the Conservation Reserve Program, the oil boom has disrupted habitat.  Western mule deer populations rebounded in 2013, but declined in the east.
    The continuing loss of habitat will put downward pressure on deer populations into the future.  Grasslands are needed for nesting.  Mild winters have supported deer populations in the southwest, but epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) reduced white-tail populations in the Bowman to Bismark area.. Mule deer doe tags have been restricted in an effort to boost the population.  Deer populations are below target in most of the state. The state issued the fewest licences in 2013 since 1983.  
    The number of licenses issued is typically targeted to provide a 70 percent hunter success rate.   Deer gun success in 2013 was 55 percent and archery success was 33 percent.  The new five year plan calls for increasing license sales to provide 124,800 deer gun licenses, about 25 percent over the 2005 goal.  
   White-tail deer in North Dakota migrate an average of 3.8 miles from winter to summer habitat. Some migrate very little.  Mule deer density in the badlands is 6.3 per square mile in 2014, 5.3 in 2013, up from 4.6 in 2012, but below the long-term aveage of 6.8. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.46 in 2013, 0.37 in 2012, and the long-term average is 0.43 -- a higher ratio and more robust herd than in some states to the west such as California. Deer populations had been rising in the early to mid 2000's. Hunting data  Chronic Wasting Disease has been identified in a few deer in western Grant County since 2009, two in 2013.
     In 1915 deer populations in North Dakota were nearly extinct, due to over hunting.  The state suspended deer hunting to preserve the herd until 1931.  During seven years over the next 20, seasons were closed.  In 1941, 7,000 to 8,000 deer with 2,900 taken by hunters.  The state issued 41,000 licences in 1951 then closed the season again in 1952.  The Conservation Reserve Program helped the herd grow.  During the early 2000's the state issued 140,000 licenses.
     Elk were hunted to extinction in the early part of the 1900's, reintroduced from other states in 1942.
     An estimated 5,500 pronghorn in 2015;  5,700  in 2014, hunting had been closed since 2009 due to the small population but reopened in some areas in 2014. About 2,800 in 2012. Once abundant, only about 200 pronghorns in the 1920's.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department

North Dakota Game and Fish News