North Dakota Deer News

Magazine
... North Dakota currently has the lowest deer population in the last 30 years, a result of three consecutive hard winters, loss of CRP habitat and an aggressive deer harvest management program ...

Limited deer, antelope seasons possible this fall March 27, 2014 North Dakota, The Bismarck Tribune 
... Antelope populations, like deer, are still trying to rebound from a string of three consecutive brutal winters that led to adult mortality coupled with poor reproduction. ... For the first time, the Game and Fish Department live-streamed the meeting from Bismarck, and some 650 people watched it over the Internet...

ND hunters less successful as deer numbers fall March 19, 2014 North Dakota, Ct Post
... "Unless measures are taken to reduce the loss of habitat and efforts are made to replace habitat that's been lost, our deer population will have a very difficult time rebounding," ...

ND, SD partner on whitetail study: Crew puts radio-collars on 150 does March 16, 2014 North Dakota, The Dickinson Press 
...  part of the North Dakota study area is in deer hunting Unit 3F2, where chronic wasting disease has been documented. The brain disease, which affects deer and elk, is fatal.  “Hopefully we’ll get some information on how those deer move around,” ... Like southwest North Dakota, the South Dakota study area has suffered deer die-offs from a disease called epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD ...

Awaiting deer season decisions March 9, 2014 North Dakota, Minot Daily News 
.... The department has urged sportsmen to comment on the deer population and seasons via the NDG&F website at (gf.nd.gov). According to Game and Fish, no significant changes, if any, will be made to the state's deer hunting regulations until the 2015 season...

Time to weigh in on deer management March 6, 2014 North Dakota, The Bismarck Tribune
...  attendance at last week’s deer management meeting in Bismarck was standing room only.... The decline in the state deer population is not a new story ...  North Dakota Game and Fish Department ... has been out front on this issue for a few years. Game and fish officials started talking about the impact to deer herds, pheasants and other wildlife when it became apparent that CRP enrollment in the state would continue its downward spiral...

Wildlife questions:  Search for a deer solution  March 2, 2014 North Dakota, Minot Daily News
... remember the three severe winters in a row? After the first bad winter, Game and Fish issued approximately 140,000 licenses. After the second winter another 140,000 ...and the third year approximately 110,000 ... it took Game and Fish quite some time ... to finally discover that the mule deer herd was at a record low, and the antelope population was so low in numbers that there were not enough antelope for an antelope hunting season...

The hunt is on for a solution to deer problem March 2, 2014 North Dakota, Minot Daily News 
...  the state's deer herd is in decline ... bad weather, loss of habitat, the impact of energy development and a few seasons of heavy harvest... it seems obvious that there will be fewer licenses issued this year... 

Krapp honored for work by Mule Deer Foundation February 27, 2014 North Dakota, Bismark Tribune
... Ryan Krapp, Bismarck, North Dakota state chair for the Mule Deer Foundation, received the Maggie Justice Award for leadership at the group’s Western Hunting & Conservation Expo recently... active in working with private landowners to improve mule deer habitat ...

Deer management system draws a crowd; no change expected this year February 25, 2014 North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune 
... In addition to those at the meeting, about 650 others tuned in via the Internet for what was the first livestreamed meeting ever broadcast by Game and Fish Department... online comments will be accepted through March 17...

Game and Fish to Livestream Final Deer Management Meeting  February 25, 2014 
     The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will livestream one of its final deer management meetings tonight, starting at 7 p.m.  Interested deer hunters can access the broadcast on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, or click the following link http://gf.nd.gov/about-us/game-and-fish-advisory-board/deer-meetings/stream.

Outlook on deer situation remains bleak February 23, 2014 North Dakota, Minot Daily News 
... The number of deer in the state has plunged in recent years... a few seasons of bad weather, loss of Conservation Reserve Program acres, recent record numbers of licenses issued and the energy boom in western North Dakota, and you have what NDG&F Wildlife Division Chief Randy Kreil calls a "train wreck." ...

Meetings to focus on deer management  February 16, 2014 North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune 
...  An aggressive deer harvest strategy, three consecutive bad winters and shrinking habitat led to the perfect storm.  "All that leads up to a very serious threat to wildlife populations," Kreil said...  tree rows, shelterbelts and wetlands, along with about 200,000 acres of grasslands, have disappeared in favor of cropland and more than 2 million acres of Conservation Reserve Program is gone...

Search for a deer solution February 14, 2014 North Dakota, Minot Daily News
     It's a first for the North Dakota Game & Fish Department. Deer management meetings will be held at eight locations in the state beginning next Tuesday. The reason? The state's deer population is believed to be at its lowest point in 30 years... carrying capacity ... "You have to have habitat to carry deer ... our carrying capacity has dropped dramatically." ...

Game and Fish Dept. to put on deer management meetings February 11, 2014 North Dakota, INFORUM 
... Anyone who hunts deer has probably noticed a declining deer population over the last half-dozen years ...  winters, plus significant habitat loss and fragmentation [since 2008] plus a significant die-off of whitetails in due to epizootic hemorrhagic disease in the southwestern part of the state all contributed to significant whitetail and mule deer populations declines... 

Declining deer population reduces hunting success February 9, 2014 North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald 
... the Game and Fish Department has scheduled eight public meetings this month to discuss deer management in the state ... “We’re all aware that the state’s whitetail and mule deer populations have declined considerably in recent years,” Kreil said in a news release. “In 2013, we had approximately 40,000 hunters who applied for a deer gun license and didn’t get one...

North Dakota Game and Fish collar 106 mule deer in initial year February 6, 2014 Dickinson Press & Advertiser 
... The findings for the survey are to investigate and measure the effects of oil development on mule deer in western North Dakota. The survey is looking at survival movement, resource selection and recruitment of mule deer which are more oil developed than less developed...The survey will also work with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in collaring mule deer in eastern Montana...

Avoid deer-vehicle crashes by design January 26, 2014 North Dakota,  Bismarck Tribune
... A wildlife crossing is being designed on U.S. Highway 85 near Williston ... The plan, according to Bruce Kreft of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, is to put 2 1/2 miles of fence on either side of the highway that will funnel animals into a 15-foot-high- by-40-foot-wide underpass...

Deer Test Positive for CWD January 24, 2014 North Dakota, NDGF News
Two bucks taken from unit 3F2 during the 2013 deer gun season tested positive for chronic wasting disease.  Both adult bucks, a mule deer and whitetail, were shot in western Grant County. Their heads were submitted for testing as part of the hunter-harvested surveillance program. Testing was performed at Michigan State University.
     In addition, results from the remaining 3F2 samples, as well as all samples from the eastern third of the state, should be known soon.  In total, five deer have tested positive for CWD since 2009, and all were from the same general area within unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota.
     CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.

ND Game and Fish sets deer management meetings January 19, 2014 North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald 
... “We’re all aware that the state’s whitetail and mule deer populations have declined considerably in recent years,” said Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck. “In 2013 we had approximately 40,000 hunters who applied for a deer gun license and didn’t get one...

Why does a deer's coat change colors over the year January 19, 2014 North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald 
... Summer coats appear reddish and are thin, allowing deer to better cope with heat stress. In the fall, deer begin a process of molting, which is triggered by hormonal changes ... The outer guard hairs are hollow, stiff and grow about 2 inches longer than the undercoat. The inner layer is soft and dense, which insulates deer from the cold weather ...

New wildlife crossing a first in North Dakota January 19, 2014 North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune 
 ... the general area of the bridge is a natural travel corridor for big game and other wildlife as they move to and from the 8,139-acre Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area along the river.  The plan, Kreft said, is to construct 2½ miles of fence on either side of the crossing that will funnel animals into the 15-foot-high by 40-foot-wide underpass... research from other parts of the country indicates it takes three to four years for wildlife to get accustomed to using these man-made travel routes...

CWD found again in southwestern ND hunting unit January 7, 2014 North Dakota, Atlanta Journal Constitution 
... A second deer killed during the 2013 hunting season in western Grant County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.  It is the fifth deer killed in the 3F2 hunting unit to test positive for CWD in five years. Infected deer also were killed in 2009, 2010 and 2011...

The deer are not here December 29, 2013 North Dakota, Minot Daily News 
... The number of deer in North Dakota has been on a steep decline since a record number of nearly 150,000 licenses were issued a few years ago... there is a lot of concern about the future of our deer herd and deer hunting opportunities in the state," said Randy Kreil, NDG&F wildlife division chief... Some hunters say deer numbers are so low that the season should be closed...

Habitat a key factor in maintaining wildlife December 17, 2013 North Dakota, In-Forum
...  the “good old days” of deer and pheasant hunting that reached their peak only a half dozen years or so ago...  the statewide pheasant harvest fall by more than a third, and deer harvest is down by more than half... since 2007, it’s no coincidence that pheasant and deer numbers are declining because of cutbacks in CRP [conservation reserve program] acres...

...  the meetings will be in addition to the Advisory Board meetings the agency is mandated to hold twice a year in each of the state’s eight Advisory Board districts.  “With our deer herd being at the lowest level in 30 years and with all the habitat loss we’re experiencing across the state, there’s a real concern ... a study of deer movement and mortality ... Mortality resulted from a variety of factors ... including coyotes, cancer, ruptured muscles and even a heart attack...

... It is the fourth deer killed in the 3F2 hunting unit to test positive for the disease in the past five years. Infected mule deer were killed in 2009, 2010 and 2011, all within a circular area with a diameter of about 15 miles. ...

CWD found again in southwestern ND hunting unit December 9, 2013 North Dakota, Atlanta Journal Constitution 
... A mule deer shot by a hunter in western Grant County in southwestern North Dakota has tested positive for chronic wasting disease...

A new reality for deer hunters? Lower Deer Numbers November 21, 2013 Bismarck Tribune 
... White-tailed deer numbers, maybe more so than mule deer, mirror the availability, or lack of, habitat. ...  From 1960-62, there were more than a quarter of a million acres enrolled in the Soil Bank program and white-tailed deer followed suit.  Hunters took about 25,000 .. CRP enrollment peaked in 2007 with more than 3 million acres enrolled and since has declined to 1.7 million acres.  The rate for white-tails also dropped to around 45,000 last year.

It's a good time to get involved in outdoors issues November 14, 2013 North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune
... Deer hunting in North Dakota has seen a dramatic turnaround in just a few years.  
We went from a time when the average hunter could legally shoot five deer to a point when many can’t get a license.  Some may remember the three harsh winters that took their toll on deer numbers... The Game and Fish Department's fall advisory board meetings have been scheduled...

Bloody Deer... Just a Part of the Scenery This Time of Year November 11, 2013 North Dakota, Valley News Live
...  a small car with two dead, and very bloody deer hanging out of the trunk... nothing is illegal in the transporting of these goods just as long as both deer are tagged. Legalities aside though, maybe moms and dads out there don't appreciate the conversation piece introduced to their kids. "Mom why is Bambi hanging out of the end of the trunk? ...

2013 deer season will have challenges November 7, 2013 North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune
... Going back to the three consecutive brutal winters of 2008-10, the deer population endured heavy snow and other brutal conditions that resulted in lower fawn production.  
With the loss of habitat as thousands of acres came out of the Conservation Reserve Program — and the transformation of thousands of acres of other lands into crops — it doesn’t take long to add up....

A different type of deer season on tap for ND November 7, 2013 North Dakota, 
INFORUM 
...  the drastic reduction in gun tags this year results from a decline in deer numbers in most parts of the state...  A string of severe winters ... Game and Fish also was given a directive by the 2011 state Legislature to reduce deer numbers ...“Without severe weather, we can anticipate deer bouncing back a little ... that’s going to be tempered by the habitat losses we’re experiencing,” ...  Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck 

Fall Mule Deer Survey Completed November 6, 2013 North Dakota, The Roundup
...  the combination of no antlerless harvest and milder winter conditions over much of mule deer range in 2011 and 2012 has provided conditions needed to begin mule deer population recovery in the badlands...

Fall mule deer survey November 4, 2013 North Dakota,  North Dakota Outdoors and beyond
... fall mule deer survey indicated production in 2013 was higher than in 2012.... The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.46 (0.37 in 2012) is similar to the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.74 (0.59 in 2012) was the highest since 2009, but still below the long-term average of 0.91 fawns per doe...

N.D. offers lowest number of deer tags in 30 years November 3, 2013 North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald 
... Game and Fish Department this year offered 59,500 tags ... offered a record 145,250 deer gun licenses in 2004, a season when North Dakota hunters killed 98,500 deer ... “People fully understand the situation and understand we need to cut back on licenses, and so we’re not hearing a lot from disgruntled people,” ...

EHD, Hunters Report Few Sightings of Dead Deer October 23, 2013 North Dakota, roundupweb.com 
... Game and Fish personnel have been monitoring the deer population in the southwest since late August, when the first reports of dead deer, attributed to epizootic hemorrhagic disease, came in from Bowman, Grant and Burleigh counties... “The area of the state where EHD traditionally occurs is covered with hunters.  With only a minimal number of dead deer sightings, combined with recent overnight low temperatures below freezing, it appears the worst of the EHD outbreak may be behind us.” 

Deer disease now being found in some ND cattle, EHD October 10, 2013 North Dakota, Kansas City Star
 ... Cattle cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease — commonly known as EHD — have been reported ... The state Game and Fish Department last month suspended further sales of deer hunting licenses because of an outbreak of EHD in deer. Deer south and west of the Missouri River have been affected ...

... mule deer population increased 15 percent from last year. However, the 2013 spring mule deer index is still 22 percent lower than the long-term average... The 2012 North Dakota numbers were as follows: 65,150 licenses available, estimated 34,555 total deer harvested. (32,499 WTD and 2,056 mule deer). 2012 overall success rate of 63 percent. Harvest down 14,907 from 2011 or a decline of 30 percent. No antlerless mule deer licenses issued in 2012...

... The 2012 deer season saw the hunter success rate bounce back from an all-time low of 51 percent in 2011 to 63 percent... Severe winters in 2008, 2009, and 2010 continued to have a noticeable effect on the number of whitetail deer ...


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North Dakota Data: Deer population at a 30 year low. Harsh winters and habitat loss have 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.  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. 
   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. Deer populations had been rising in the early to mid 2000's. Hunting data

Other useful links:

North Dakota Wildlife Action Plan
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