A total of 49,407 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 30,100 deer during the 2017 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.
Game and Fish made available 54,500 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 61 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.
Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 66 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 61 percent.
Mule deer buck success was 83 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 86 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 63 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 60 percent.
Game and Fish issued 13,402 gratis licenses in 2017, and 11,503 hunters harvested 6,059 deer, for a success rate of 53 percent.
A total of 1,022 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2017, and 933 hunters harvested 354 white-tailed deer (196 antlered, 158 antlerless). Hunter success was 38 percent.
A record 28,481 archery licenses (26,114 resident, 2,367 nonresident) were issued in 2017. In total, 23,003 bow hunters harvested 8,900 deer (7,854 whitetails, 1,046 mule deer), for a success rate of 39 percent.
The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2018. 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.