Dramatic Decline in North Dakota Antelope
North Dakota used to be home to at least 10,000 antelope, sometimes up to 15,000. The antelope survey has just been finalized, and the numbers are drastically the lowest they've been in years. The survey is done in late June early July when the fawns have been born and are visible, the count this year is at 4,500. Five airplanes covered more than 11,000 square miles of aerial transects within pronghorn habitat. With these numbers the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is recommending not having an antelope season this year.
The state has experienced three severe winters, with high adult mortality followed with low fawn production equals an ever decreasing antelope population. “Our numbers are declining with few young animals observed due to poor production in 2009 and 2010,” Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor in Dickinson said. “To make matters worse, production this year was the lowest documented since biologists began surveying in the late 1950s.”
The 2011 pronghorn season will be closed to both gun and archery hunters. Applicants who have accumulated preference points will maintain their current points. From The Jamestown Sun.