North Dakota Sets Deer Season, App Deadline June 2

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North Dakota's 2010 deer season has been set with 116,775 licenses available to hunters this fall, a decrease of 27,625 from last year and the fewest since 2001.

Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said a significant reduction in deer numbers was evident statewide this past year with statewide hunter success rates dropping to 59 percent, down considerably from 70-75 percent success rates North Dakota deer hunters typically experience.

"The reduced deer numbers are a result of significant mortality from the past two difficult winters and subsequent low reproductive success," Kreil said, "and nearly a decade of aggressive deer management by having a large number of antlerless licenses available in many units because the population was well above management goals."

As a result, 35 of the 38 hunting units will have fewer deer licenses. The only exceptions are three units in the southwest where deer populations remain above management objectives and winter mortality was least evident.

"The mule deer population in the badlands was also hurt by the winter of 2008-09, and probably by this past winter as well, and as a result there are fewer mule deer licenses available this fall," Kreil said.

Another noteworthy change from last year's deer season is the use of lighted nocks on arrows is now allowed for big game archery seasons. Kreil said this is the only exception to the regulation that prohibits the use of electronic devices attached to the bow or the arrow.

The number of licenses available for 2010 includes 7,275 for mule deer, a decrease of 1,425 from last year; 2,190 for muzzleloader, down 524 from last year; and 320 restricted youth antlered mule deer, a decrease of 25 from 2009.

North Dakota's 2010 deer gun season opens Nov. 5 at noon and continues through Nov. 21. The dates for the youth deer season are noon Sept. 17 through Sept. 26. No special herd reduction deer gun seasons are included in the 2010 proclamation.

Paper applications will be at vendors throughout the state by mid May. The deadline for applying is June 2, 2010.