North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 34,500 deer during the 2012 deer gun hunting season.
The State Game and Fish Department made available 65,150 deer gun licenses in 2012, and more than 95 percent were issued. Overall hunter success was 63 percent, and each hunter spent an average of 4.4 days in the field.
Randy Kreil, wildlife chief, said this past season’s hunter success rate bounced back from an all-time low of 51 percent in 2011. “The 63 percent clip is fairly good, but still below the long-term average of around 70 percent,” he added. “In addition, the number of days spent hunting is still higher than usual, which is expected with lower deer populations.”
Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 76 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 62 percent.
Mule deer buck success was 81 percent. No mule deer doe licenses were issued in 2012.
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.
The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in the 2013 deer proclamation. These recommendations will be discussed at the upcoming Game and Fish public advisory board meetings, scheduled for the week of April 15-18. The proclamation will be sent to the governor’s office for approval in late April.
In addition to harvest rates and winter 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.