40 percent fewer deer licenses available for ND's 2012 season

2012-05-07T23:15:00Z 2012-05-07T23:26:48Z 40 percent fewer deer licenses available for ND's 2012 seasonBy BRIAN GEHRING | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK, N.D. - The 2012 deer season has been set and will have the fewest licenses available since 1988.

Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said a total of 65,300 licenses will be available this year, 44,650 fewer than last year.

Two major changes for hunters this year will be no issuing of mule deer doe tags in the state’s Badlands units and no concurrent season.

“It is expected there will be very few, if any, licenses remaining after the initial lottery,” Kreil said. “Therefore, there is not a concurrent season this year.”

Hunters will be able to draw one license for the deer gun season, one for the muzzleloader season and purchase an archery license, unlike past years when they were able to receive more than one license for the deer gun season.

The state’s deer population is still rebounding from brutal winter conditions in 2008-10 that resulted in adult mortality and decreased births of fawns.

The numbers tell the story: In 2008, a record 149,400 deer licenses were available.

Hunter success last year bears out the low numbers — 52 percent in 2011, the lowest on record. The normal success rate for deer gun hunters is between 70 percent and 75 percent.

The decline of fawn births in the the Badlands units — 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F — was especially severe.

It was the lowest fawn birth rate observed between 2009-11. Survey numbers show mule deer in the Badlands are down 23 percent from last year and 52 percent below 2007.

The number of licenses available for 2012 is 1,200 for antlered mule deer, a decrease of 3,350 mule deer licenses from last year; 1,282 for muzzleloader, down 826 from last year; and 120 for restricted youth antlered mule deer, a decrease of 130 from last year.

Kreil said it can be assumed that white-tail fawn births also saw record lows during the same period, but surveying white-tail fawns is virtually impossible during the spring.

Mulies are surveyed by air twice a year.

Kreil said only two hunting units in the state are at or above management goals — 4F and 3E2, both in the southwest area of the state.

The harsh conditions followed almost a decade of aggressive management to reduce doe numbers in many areas. The reduction will help deer herds rebound, Kreil said.

Low deer numbers are evident in all portions of North Dakota, Kreil said, since all but two hunting units are below management goals.

The deer gun season opens at noon Nov. 9 and continues through Nov. 25. Online applications for the regular deer gun, youth, muzzleloader, and resident gratis and nonresident landowner seasons will be available later this week through the Game and Fish Department’s website at http://gf.nd.gov.

Paper applications will be at vendors throughout the state the week of May 14. The deadline for applying is June 6.

Reach reporter Brian Gehring 250-8254 or brian.gehring@bismarcktribune.com.

Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. buckhunter
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    buckhunter - May 08, 2012 8:38 pm
    I believe the cost all starts with the farmers & ranchers . If they post land & not let it b hunted then they should not b payed for their crop damage due to the deer eating there crops . This would give game & fish lots of money for food plot & wild log conservation programs
  2. farmall
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    farmall - May 08, 2012 12:24 pm
    The non resident hunters are actually the ones that bring some money to the local economy. Local hunters don't add much money to the area. But other than that Tim, most of your ideas have some sense behind them
  3. Tim308
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    Tim308 - May 08, 2012 11:49 am
    ND residents should have priority when it comes to our hunting resources, we're the ones paying to support them with our taxes, licenses, fees etc.

    If you want to blame someone for anything to do with non-resident tags though don't blame the game and fish, that is set by the legislature.

    I'd love to see a lot of changes to it. First a "reciprocity" tag fee schedule. In other words if it costs me $500 for a non-resident deer tag to hunt in Colorado, anyone from Colorado that wants a non-resident ND tag should pay $500 for it as well.

    Second resident tag fees should increase, $20 that gets fully refunded is a joke. You wonder why the game and fish has no money for projects and to increase their ability to work with farmers/ranchers on plots land, depredation issues etc. well how are they supposed to make any money when tags are $20 and they refund 100% of it for anyone not drawn in the lottery? It's a miracle they can even survive.

    I see guys all over taking $100K worth of gear ($3K rifles, $50K trucks, $25K in quads/trailers, $5k in optics etc.) out into the field they can afford $50 for a deer tag.

    Then when a tag is $50 do it this way. First $10-15 gets you in the lottery, that never gets refunded. If you get drawn you pay the balance. Game and fish makes a lot of money from everyone that wants in the lottery, and that gives them a ton of money to work with, which only helps to improve the hunting for the rest of us.
  4. farmall
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    farmall - May 08, 2012 11:42 am
    It'll probably degrade to paid hunting. Oh, I guess everybody already pays G&F. They will just have to pay the landowner too. Lots of out of staters working here with lots of money.
  5. HappyCamper1
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    HappyCamper1 - May 08, 2012 10:25 am
    A great opportunity to still participate in a hunt without a license.

    If you are unsuccessful to get a deer license this year, find someone that was successful, a friend or relative.

    Help them by walking without a gun and still gain the experience!

    I have done it before and the kill, in my opinion is not the most important result in a hunt.

    Venison jerky is great (maybe someone will share) ~ and just the experience in the field with a friend, co-worker, relative is great too.

    Good luck!
  6. madbiker
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    madbiker - May 08, 2012 9:59 am
    Jokerz49 said: "ok I have no problem having the number of tags dropped 40% as long as they cut out ALL OUT OF STATE tags first. Why should a ND hunter not be able to hunt in his home state but some one from CA that has tiny deer be able to come in hire a guide and get a deer. "

    If you want this changed yo have to talk to you legislators they set the numbers for out of state hunters not Game and Fish
  7. Marvin51
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    Marvin51 - May 08, 2012 9:35 am
    The target population is really too high. A year ago with the tough winter it was just a nightmare for a lot of ranchers, and those deer are eating all the time. The population has now collapsed and it actually almost seems strange that licenses are only down 40% because there isn't one third the deer there were.

    The population of eastern whitetails can come up some, but it shouldn't be more than twice what it is right now. There really is no reason to have a population goal that has some hunters with 4 or 5 licenses. A population that allows those who want to hunt and have a license or at most 2 is a reasonable place.

    If the Fish and Game wants more than that, they should be planting winter habitat, that's really the limitation in ND. One or two "wildlife" plantings are really a joke, and the management of public lands in the western part of the state as far as deer are concerned is a joke.

    The one thing I am thankful is that we didn't have this past winter and then the winter of two years ago.
  8. B in M
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    B in M - May 08, 2012 8:33 am
    There is a problem with the out-of-state archery tags. They are set at a level of the previous year's mule deer tags (I think 15%), so this year there will be too many issued and next year it will come in line with the reduced tags. For management considerations, it is a year behind. So far, all ND residents can get an archery tag.
  9. smokingcrater
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    smokingcrater - May 08, 2012 7:46 am
    RockNDBakken said: "The more tags they sell, the higher the income for Game and Fish, why not sell 200,000?"

    Really, are you serious? Ok, let me explain basic game population control. If you sell 200,000 this year, and 200,000 next year, there will be about 10 deer left running around at year 3. Make decent money for year one, make a little money for year two after people figure out there are no deer left, and make no money for year 3.

  10. netreader
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    netreader - May 08, 2012 5:37 am
    Non-resident licenses have been limited by state law for a long time. That limit is 1% of available licenses in the first and second drawings. There are no restrictions after the second draw. Suspect we won't run into too many Californians while deer hunting this fall.

    Not sure how the guide thing works.
  11. farmall
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    farmall - May 08, 2012 12:04 am
    I don't see any reason ND residents should think they have more right to hunt deer than out of staters. Maybe only gratis licenses to landowners would help with the hunter issues in the rural areas.
  12. RockNDBakken
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    RockNDBakken - May 07, 2012 8:07 pm
    The more tags they sell, the higher the income for Game and Fish, why not sell 200,000?
  13. Jokerz49
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    Jokerz49 - May 07, 2012 6:49 pm
    ok I have no problem having the number of tags dropped 40% as long as they cut out ALL OUT OF STATE tags first. Why should a ND hunter not be able to hunt in his home state but some one from CA that has tiny deer be able to come in hire a guide and get a deer.
  14. Mo River Rat
    Report Abuse
    Mo River Rat - May 07, 2012 5:30 pm
    Congrats to the Game and Fish Department for having the courage to take the steps necessary to appropriatly manage one of ND's most important natural resources. I'm sure that some folks will overact to this decision, but it's a good one.
  15. BDUB
    Report Abuse
    BDUB - May 07, 2012 3:24 pm
    40 precent?
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