A total of 44,140 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 29,300 deer during the 2016 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.
Game and Fish made available 49,000 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 66 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.
Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 72 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 60 percent.
Mule deer buck success was 89 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 78 percent.
Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses generally harvest white-tailed deer, as these licenses are predominantly in units with mostly whitetails. Buck hunters had a success rate of 71 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 66 percent.
Game and Fish issued 13,466 gratis licenses in 2016, and 11,369 hunters harvested 6,593 deer, for a success rate of 58 percent.
A record 26,755 archery licenses (24,532 resident, 2,223 nonresident) were issued in 2016. In total, 22,071 bow hunters harvested 9,492 deer (8,686 whitetails, 806 mule deer), for a success rate of 43 percent.
The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in the 2017 deer proclamation. The proclamation will be sent to the governor’s office for approval in late April.
In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, the department monitors a number of other population indices to determine license numbers, including depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.