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North Dakota upcoming deer season

Published: May. 22, 2022 at 5:55 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota’s deer season is set and Mike Anderson gives us a preview.

64,200 deer gun licenses were made available to hunters in this year’s deer lottery, 8,000 fewer than last year.

“So the decrease is mainly due to EHD outbreak that we had along the Missouri River and southwestern North Dakota, reduced some of those populations, especially in certain units by quite a bit. And so, as we looked at all the information, we felt that that reduction was needed to help bring the herd back,” said NDGF wildlife division chief Casey Anderson.

Deer numbers in the last decade were slowly heading in the right direction after bad winters of 2009, 10, 11.

“And so, after this EHD outbreak, it kind of sets us back a little bit. But we know how EHD works on the landscape and the deer population should rebound from it,” said Anderson.

Whitetail deer populations outside the EHD areas are doing OK.

“We had a few units increase a little bit and a few units decrease a little bit, but overall stable compared to 2019, which was the last time we were able to fly those units because of snow cover,” said Anderson.

Mule deer populations are doing good.

“We were a little concerned coming out of the extended drought that if winter got bad out in the western part of the state where most of our mule deer are, that it would kind of hit them hard. But luckily, they had a fairly easy winter, and it looks like they’ve carried fawns through the winter to recruit into the population, so the mule deer populations look either stable or increasing a little,” said Anderson.

How exactly do big game biologists come up with the number of licenses to make available to hunters?

“So our deer numbers are set by a lot of different aspects that we look at. Hunter observations, our aerial surveys that we’re able to complete, landowners and maybe depredations that are happening on the landscape. We also do a hunter harvest survey every winter after the seasons are over, and we look at hunter’s success in that and any other information that we can glean from there to try to best set those license numbers,” said Anderson.

To apply for a deer gun license, go to gf.nd.gov. The deadline is Wednesday June 8th.

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