North Dakota Mule Deer Population in Good Shape

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North Dakota's mule deer population remains in good shape, based upon aerial observations during the state Game and Fish Department's fall reproduction survey.

Bruce Stillings, big game biologist, Dickinson, said two primary indicators – ratio of fawns-per-doe, and bucks-per-doe – were near long-term averages. The fawn-to-doe ratio was .88 fawns per doe, and the buck-to-doe ratio was .42 bucks per doe.

Observers who accompanied pilots in fixed-wing planes counted 2,126 mule deer during the October survey, which encompassed 21 study areas and 265.5 square miles in western North Dakota. Each spring, biologists survey the same study areas to determine a population index.

Surveys continue to indicate a population with stable recruitment and good numbers of adult bucks, Stillings said. "The badlands mule deer population continues to move in the right direction."