North Dakota deer season

Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 7:16 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota’s 2021 deer season is set, Mike Anderson gives us a preview in this week’s segment of North Dakota Outdoors.

This is the sixth consecutive year North Dakota deer hunters will have more hunting opportunities this fall.

“72,200 licenses, which is approximately 3,100 more than last year, where we were at 69,050 licenses. So more licenses means more deer hunting opportunity for North Dakota deer hunters,” said NDGF wildlife division chief Jeb Williams.

Williams says there are several factors big game biologists use to determine the number of licenses available. Hunter harvest, aerial surveys, public observations, and they also consider if landowners are having deer issues.

“The department’s deer management strategy consists of 38 units in the state where we’re able to provide some flexibility in each one of those units to address either high deer numbers or lower deer numbers to where we can be a little more precise in that management,” said Williams.

Whitetails seem to be holding their own the last few years.

“Whitetail populations have been increasing over the last six years, some parts of the state more so than others. But overall, the whitetail population has been slowly increasing all across the state,” said Williams.

Mule deer numbers are heading in the right direction, too.

“Mule deer population continues to be quite healthy, stable here now this year compared to last year, but at a very comfortable number with mule deer both within our traditional mule deer range and then also within some of our fringe areas where we’re noticing good mule deer numbers as well,” said Williams.

There are a couple of reasons we’re seeing an increase in deer numbers in North Dakota.

“We’ve been very conservative with our management over the last eight years. And also, it’s where we live in North Dakota when we get mild winters, that definitely makes a difference on the quality of deer on our landscape as well,” said Williams.

The deadline to apply for a 2021 deer license is fast approaching.

People can apply on our Game and Fish Department website at and the application deadline is Wednesday, June 2nd.

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