A total of 48,717 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 31,350 deer during the 2018 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey.
Overall hunter success for both antlered and antlerless white-tailed deer was 64 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field. Game and Fish made available 55,150 deer gun licenses last year.
Mule deer buck success was 81 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 83 percent.
Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses generally harvest white-tailed deer, as these licenses are predominantly in units with mostly whitetails. Buck hunters had a success rate of 69 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 65 percent.
Game and Fish issued 13,098 gratis licenses in 2018, and 10,785 hunters harvested 5,832 deer for a success rate of 54 percent.
A total of 1,022 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2018, and 900 hunters harvested 349 white-tailed deer (176 antlered, 173 antlerless). Hunter success was 39 percent.
A record 28,824 archery licenses (26,318 resident, 2,506 nonresident) were issued in 2018. In total, 22,666 bow hunters harvested 8,914 deer (7,927 whitetails, 987 mule deer), for a success rate of 39 percent.
The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2019.
In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, Game and Fish staff monitor other population indices to determine license numbers, including depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.