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."