North Dakota Deer News

Limited Pronghorn Season to Open July 15, 2014 North Dakota, NDGF News
...North Dakota will have a limited pronghorn hunting season this fall for the first time since 2009... Game and Fish biologists surveyed more than 11,000 square miles, 100 percent of the 21 survey units in the state, in early July. Statistics indicate a statewide population estimate of 5,700 pronghorn, with 1,650 in the area open to hunting.  “The number of pronghorn observed in Unit 4-A falls within our regional population objective of having a limited season, while all other units do not,” Kreil said...

North Dakota mule deer on the rise June 29, 2013 Grand Forks Herald
... Wildlife analysts covered about 300 square miles of land for the survey... 19 percent more mule deer from the same time last year ... The mule deer population peaked in the 2000s from 2005 to 2008 ... Biologists calculated 6.3 deer per square mile in the badlands, which is up from 5.3 deer per square mile last year...  below the long-term average of 6.8 deer per square mile... 

NDDOCR to offer archery hunt June 18, 2014 North Dakota, Devil's Lake Daily Journal (blog)
... An experimental antlerless deer archery season will open this fall on the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation land south of Bismarck...

Another year of choices for deer hunters, decline of deer population May 29, 2014 North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune
... The watershed year for deer and deer hunters was 2007 ... The strategy to reduce the number of deer was an aggressive approach to harvest more does.  Then the perfect storm hit. Three consecutive brutal winters knocked fawn production back significantly as deer struggled to survive the harsh conditions...  it may take years — if ever — before the deer herd numbers see a significant increase...

... North Dakota's deer population has now reached lows not seen in approximately 40 years... The reason for these population declines is simple – habitat loss...  support the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment ... 

Deer licenses decline in 2014 May 2, 2014 North Dakota, Mandan News
... Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the Game and Fish Department, said despite reducing the number of gun licenses in each of the past five years, deer populations are still below desired levels in all but three hunting units ... “Harvest and survey data indicate deer numbers are still declining, especially in the eastern part of the state,” ...

Wildlife faces major hurdles May 1, 2014 North Dakota, The Bismarck Tribune 
... Overall, mule deer density in the Badlands was 6.3 deer per square mile, which is an increase from 5.3 deer per square mile in 2013, but still slightly below the long-term average of 6.8 deer per square mile...  three consecutive bad winters ... fragmentation of habitat, disturbance from energy exploration, predators and habitat loss are primary hurdles facing the mule deer...

Lowest number of deer tags offered in more than 30 years April 29, 2014 North Dakota, The Bismarck Tribune
... One of the messages heard at the winter meetings was that hunters want the Game and Fish Department to take the necessary steps to rebuild the deer herd.  From a biological standpoint, one of the ways to do that is to reduce the number of doe licenses... 

Deer Season Set, Online Apps Available May 5 April 29, 2014 North Dakot, NDGF News
     North Dakota’s 2014 deer season is set, with 48,000 licenses available to hunters this fall, 11,500 fewer than last year, and the lowest number since 1980.  Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department, said even after five years of reducing gun licenses, deer populations are still below management objectives in most units. Currently, only units 3F1, 3F2 and 4F meet or exceed management goals.  “Harvest and survey data indicate deer numbers are still declining, especially in the eastern part of the state,” Kreil said.  The statewide hunter success rate in 2013 was 55 percent, which is lower than in 2012 (63 percent), and well below the department’s goal of 70 percent.
     Total deer licenses are determined by harvest rates, aerial surveys, depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

Mule deer population rebounds in western ND April 29, 2014 North Dakota, Washington Times 
... A spring survey has concluded that western North Dakota’s mule deer population has increased 19 percent from last year...

N.D. wildlife faces challenge to reproduce April 26, 2014 North Dakota, Jamestown Sun
... “One of the biggest impacts of a bad winter is not the loss of adults during the winter but the lack of reproduction next spring,” he said. “In order to survive, they’ll actually reabsorb the fetuses for the energy and they just won’t have fawns the next spring...  People need to be very concerned about the loss of habitat that’s ongoing in this state ... "

Tracking mulies April 24, 2014 North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune
... About 90 mule deer in western North Dakota have been captured and radio-collared to determine the effects of oil and gas development on their numbers...The five-year study is in the early stages of data gathering, said Jesse Kolar, a research assistant at the University of Missouri...


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North Dakota Data: Although the deer population rose to a recent record level in 2007, the deer population is now at a 30 year low.  In 2013 issued 59,500 deer tags, also a 30 year low, to support the population. 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.  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.  White-tail deer in North Dakota migrate an average of 3.8 miles from winter to summer habitat. Some migrate very little. The number of licenses issued is typically targeted to provide a 70 percent hunter success rate.   Deer hunter success in 2013 was 63 percent, an all-time low of 51 percent in 2011.  In 2012 there were 65,150 licenses issued and 34,555 deer harvest, 32,499 whitetails and 2,056 muile deer.
   Mule deer density in the data is 5.3 per square mile 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.
     An estimated 5,700 pronghorn in 2014, hunting had been closed since 2009 due to the small population but reopened in some areas in 2014. 

Other useful links:
North Dakota Game and Fish Department
Mission Statement: The mission of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is to protect, conserve and enhance fish and wildlife populations and their habitat for sustained public consumptive and appreciative use.

2010 Deer Management Goals Every five years, North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists establish a benchmark for deer licenses in the state – a number that will guide management decisions for several years.

North Dakota Game and Fish News