Dramatic Decline in North Dakota Antelope

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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.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Talk about taking a hit. 

Talk about taking a hit.  Geez, to go from 15,00 to less than 5,ooo antelope in such a short time is a disaster. 

The hunting community probably won't like it, but they're going to need to cut back on permits for many, many years to let the herd rebound.  Plus, they will hope that the catch a break in the string of severe winters that they have been having.

Always wanted to hunt antelope, but mainly looking at Wyoming.  However, I know some guys that have hunted North Dakota, and I can't imagine they'll be too happy with the news of the decline in herd size.

hunter25's picture

I always knew that North

I always knew that North Dakota had antelope and I looked forward to hunting them there one day but it looks like that even in the best of years the population has never been that great. It sounds like holding off on the hunts for a couple of years or more is the best thing for now. Hopefully the weather cooperates and that is all it will take. If there are some good bucks left in the herd now the trophy hunting could be phenomenal when they open it back up. I hope it recovers quickly so I can put that state back on the list of where I need to go hunt them as they are one of my favorite and easy low cost hunts.

niceshot_smitty's picture

To bad on the numbers.  i now

To bad on the numbers.  i now all about low antelope numbers here in NM.  Just hope its not longer then one year being closed.  i know there is some good hunting up there. 

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Wow that is some pretty low

Wow that is some pretty low numbers, but I am sure with all the snow that had hammered them lately has not helped at all.  Good to see them make a decsion this early to close the hunting season.  Atleast that might give the antelope a chance to recover a bit.  Now they just need a milder winter next year to really help things along.