Spring Mule Deer Survey

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Western North Dakota's mule deer population continues to increase, based on observations during the annual spring mule deer survey in April.

Biologists counted 2,220 mule deer in 16 units surveyed, an increase of 38 percent from 1,607 tallied in the same units last year, said Mike Oehler, North Dakota Game and Fish Department big game biologist, Dickinson. Density of mule deer per square mile was 10.2, up from 7.4 in 2000. The average density of mule deer for all units flown each year over the past 11 years is 5.5 deer per square mile.

Biologists surveyed 218 square miles of survey units during the spring count. "I believe we owe this abundance of mule deer to our recent mild winters," Oehler said, "and also a conservative, yet responsible harvest strategy."

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hunter25's picture

I enjoy reading these old

I enjoy reading these old reports of favorable conditions and easy winters that have led to big increases in the game herds. Here we are ten years later reading about huge winter kills and several years of bad winters that could take years to recover from. I know that is how the ups and downs of the cycles have always worked but I sure like to see the good reports instead of the bad ones we are getting like the winter we just came through.

Of course this is mostly due to my own desire that I share with most here to see growing herds and increased hunting opportunity. And of course it's sad to see the way some of these animals die in the struggle for survival in the outdoors. Let's pray for some better winters to get things on the road to recovery and back to the good years.