North Dakota Deer Season Set

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North Dakota's 2008 deer season has been set with 149,400 licenses available to hunters this fall, an increase of 850 from last year.

Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said mild winters and a corresponding increase in reproductive success have maintained white-tailed deer populations above management objectives in many units in northeastern, north central, and parts of southwestern North Dakota. "We will continue to be aggressive in units where deer numbers are above management goals," Kreil said.

The results of an aggressive approach to lowering deer numbers is evident in the northwest and southeast where many units will have stable to lower license numbers. "A significant decline in deer numbers in these areas is a direct result of several years of high harvest on does," Kreil said.

Because of high deer numbers in northeastern North Dakota, the department established a seven-day September antlerless deer gun season in units 2C and 2D. "We have been aggressive in trying to lower deer numbers since 2004, and the response in some units is not what we had hoped for and we need to take additional measures," Kreil said.

This experimental season will run from Sept. 26 – Oct. 2, and is only for hunters with 2C and 2D antlerless (doe) deer licenses.

Another consideration in this first-of-its-kind special season is the serious bovine tuberculosis outbreak in neighboring northwestern Minnesota. "We believe it would be prudent to reduce deer numbers in this area ahead of an unlikely but not improbable movement of this disease into North Dakota," Kreil said.

The mule deer population in the badlands remains at or above management goals. The 2008 population survey in the badlands indicates a stable to increasing number of mule deer. As a result, the number of mule deer licenses available in 2008 will be slightly higher than in 2007.

The number of licenses available for 2008 includes 8,600 for mule deer, an increase of 250 from last year; 2,816 for muzzleloader, up 12 from last year; and 345 restricted youth antlered mule deer, up five from last year.

North Dakota's 2008 deer gun season is set to open Nov. 7 at noon and continue through Nov. 23. Online applications for the regular deer gun, youth and muzzleloader seasons are available through the Game and Fish Department's Internet website, Paper applications will be available at vendors throughout the state by mid-May. The deadline for applying is June 4.