The North Dakota Game and Fish Department announced the details of this year’s pronghorn hunting season today, and 410 licenses will be available in five open units.
Applications will be available online Thursday at gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be available the week of July 24 for printing off the website, from license vendors or by calling (800) 406-6409.
In a news release, Bruce Stillings, big game management supervisor for Game and Fish, said the recently completed aerial survey showed a 14 percent decline in pronghorn numbers from last year.
“Numbers were a bit disappointing, but not unexpected due to a combination of a tough winter and extreme drought conditions,” Stillings said.
A total of 30 licenses are available in 2B, 25 in 3A, 80 in 3B, 225 in 4A and 50 in 4C. All licenses are valid for any pronghorn. Units 1A and 2A, which were open to pronghorn hunting in 2016, are closed this year as a result of the population decline.
“We just don’t have the numbers to support a season in those two units this year,” Stillings said.
Stillings said the fawn-to-doe ratio of .74 to 1 was the highest since 2002. The buck-to-doe ratio of 38 bucks per 100 does remained stable.
“This year’s high fawn production is encouraging for future population growth,” Stillings said in the news release. “A moderate winter, with average fawn production next summer, may provide conditions needed for pronghorn population growth to support additional hunting opportunities in 2018.”
A few other details from the news release:
- Similar to last year, each unit will have a season that is split into an early bow-only portion, and a later gun/bow season.
- The bow-only portion of the season is from noon Sept. 1-Sept. 24. Anyone who draws a license can hunt pronghorn with a bow in the unit printed on the license.
- From noon Oct. 6 through Oct. 22, hunters who still have a valid license can use legal firearms or bow equipment and again must stay in the assigned unit.
- Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a 2017 pronghorn license. Hunters who have accumulated bonus points and choose not to apply this year will not lose their points.
- State law allows youth who turn age 12 on or before Dec. 31, 2017 to apply for a license.
- The pronghorn license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older and $10 for hunters younger than 16. The deadline for submitting applications is Aug. 2.