The North Dakota Game and Fish Department cut the number of firearms deer licenses that were available last fall, and the reduction buoyed hunting success, the department said.
Deer hunters last fall reported 63 percent hunting success and spent an average of 4.4 days afield. Game and Fish issued 65,150 gun licenses, down from 109,950 licenses available in 2011 and the lowest total since 1988.
Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for Game and Fish, said the reduction helped hunter success bounce back from an all-time low of 51 percent in 2011.
“The 63 percent clip is fairly good, but still below the long-term average of around 70 percent,” Kreil said. “In addition, the number of days spent hunting is still higher than usual, which is expected with lower deer populations.”
Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 76 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 62 percent. Mule deer buck success was 81 percent. No mule deer doe licenses were issued in 2012.
Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses almost exclusively shoot white-tailed deer. These buck and doe hunters each had a success rate of 64 percent.
Game and Fish is in the process of determining how many licenses to issue for the 2013 deer season. Department staff will discuss the recommendations at the spring Game and Fish advisory board meetings, scheduled for the week of April 15-18.
The proclamation setting the rules for this fall’s deer season will be sent to the governor’s office for approval in late April.