Fall Mule Deer Survey Completed

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicates that mule deer had another good year of fawn production.

Biologists counted 3,003 (2,157 in 2015) mule deer in the annual aerial survey in October. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.48 (0.42 in 2015) is higher than the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.90 (0.84 in 2015) is the same as the long-term average.

Big game management supervisor Bruce Stillings said the mule deer population continues to recover nicely following the devastating winters of 2008-10, with its third consecutive year of fawn production near or above the long-term average.

“This year’s good fawn production has the potential to result in a nice population increase next spring, depending on the severity of the winter,” Stillings said.   

The fall aerial survey, conducted specifically to study demographics, covers 24 study areas and 306.3 square miles in western North Dakota. Biologists also survey the same study areas in the spring of each year to determine population abundance.