From the North Dakota Fish & Game Department
-- North Dakota’s 2009 deer season has been set, with 144,400 licenses available to hunters this fall, a decrease of 5,000 from last year.
Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said progress toward reducing deer numbers was evident this past year in the northwestern, north central and southeastern portions of North Dakota. As a result, these areas will have stable to lower license numbers.
“The significant decline in deer numbers in several hunting units resulted from multiple years of high harvest on does,” Kreil said. “In addition, the difficult winter of 2008-09 resulted in significant deer mortality in northern and eastern North Dakota, and creates a potential for lower reproductive success in 2009.”
However, mule deer and white-tailed deer in the southwest (outside the badlands) have increased to above management goals, Kreil said. “Winter in this area was not as severe and losses are expected to be much lower,” he added. “Additionally, the impending loss of most CRP in the southwest by 2012 will reduce habitat and will not be able to sustain the current population.”
The mule deer population in the badlands remains at or above management goals. The 2009 population survey indicates a stable to slightly lower number of mule deer than in 2008. As a result, the number of mule deer licenses available is nearly the same as last year.
In addition to a second special herd reduction season for antlerless deer in the northeast in units 2C and 2D, the 2009 deer proclamation also offers a special herd reduction season in the southwest in units 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2 and 4F. The early season in the northeast runs from Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, and the one in the southwest is Oct. 2-9.
“Special herd reduction seasons are intended to reduce deer populations in the area,” Kreil said. “It was successful last year in the northeast, and we anticipate the same success in the southwest.”
The number of licenses available for 2009 includes 8,700 for mule deer, an increase of 100 from last year; 2,714 for muzzleloader, down 102 from last year; and 345 restricted youth antlered mule deer, the same as last year.
North Dakota’s 2009 deer gun season opens Nov. 6 at noon and continues through Nov. 22. Online applications for the regular deer gun, youth, muzzleloader, and resident gratis and nonresident landowner seasons will be available by mid-May through the Game and Fish Department’s Internet website at gf.nd.gov. Also, paper applications will be at vendors throughout the state by May 15. The deadline for applying is June 3.