From the North Dakota Game & Fish Department
-- The severe winter didn’t have much of an impact on North Dakota’s mule deer population, based on observations taken during the state Game and Fish Department’s annual spring mule deer survey in April.
Bruce Stillings, big game biologist, Dickinson, said the badlands mule deer population index for western North Dakota was down only slightly from 2008, but remains higher than the long-term average.
“I was a little concerned mule deer would suffer more of a loss over the winter,” Stillings said. “I am pleasantly surprised numbers were this close to last year.”
Biologists counted 2,483 mule deer in 291 square miles, compared to 2,649 in 2008. Mule deer density per square mile was 8.5, a slight decrease from 9.1 in 2008.
Biologists have completed aerial surveys of the same 24 study areas since the 1950s. The survey assists the department in obtaining solid mule deer population data for the badlands, such as demographic trends and production ratios (buck-to-doe and fawn-to-doe).
Mild winters, good production, and a conservative and responsible harvest strategy have provided above-average mule deer density in the badlands.