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ND hunter success rate high; aerial surveys complete

From the North Dakota Game and Fish Department

-- North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 67,000 deer during the 2010 deer gun hunting season for overall hunter success rate of 64 percent, according to Bill Jensen, big game biologist.
   
Game and Fish made available 116,775 deer gun licenses in 2010, with more than 99 percent issued to hunters.
   
Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 68 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 63 percent. Mule deer buck success was 68 percent, while mule deer doe hunters had a success rate of 70 percent.
   
Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses almost exclusively harvest white-tailed deer. These buck and doe hunters each had a success rate of 64 percent.
   
Hunters drawing a muzzleloader license had a success rate of 46 percent, while young hunters during the youth season had a success rate of 55 percent.
   
Jensen said significant snow cover this past winter enabled the Game and Fish Department to complete aerial deer surveys in all monitoring blocks and long-term study areas. The surveys took longer to complete than usual - all of January and February - because of  poor weather conditions.
   
"Deer numbers in many parts of the state continue on a downward trend following three consecutive difficult winters," Jensen said. "Coupled with an aggressive harvest approach on antlerless deer in units with deer numbers above management goals, this has resulted in a reduction in the deer population in many, but not all, units."
   
Aerial observations in units south and west of the Missouri River indicate white-tailed deer numbers remain stable to increasing, and mule deer numbers are stable.
   
Large monitoring blocks in the northwest and north central portions of the state (3A1, 3A4, 2K1 and 2K2) have been stable to declining over the last three years, while the Cando area (2E) has shown declining deer numbers.  The Wing-Tuttle (2J1 and 2J2) and Dawson (2I) areas show stable to decreasing deer numbers over the last three years.
   
Survey areas in the Red River Valley show decreasing to stable deer numbers in unit 2A, while units 2B, 2C and 2D show a stable to slightly increasing deer population.
   
Game and Fish staff will fly the annual mule deer survey in April after the snow melts.
   
The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in the 2011 deer proclamation. These recommendations will be discussed with the public at the upcoming Game and Fish advisory board meetings, scheduled for the week of April 18.
   
In addition to harvest rates and aerial surveys, the department monitors a number of other population indices to determine license numbers, including deer-vehicle collision reports, depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

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