‘Baby-Makers’ Protected from Deer Hunters for Fourth Straight Season

Mule deer bucks in North Dakota will be hunted again this season but does are off limits as population numbers continue to increase.

Mule deer bucks in North Dakota will be hunted again this season but does are off limits as population numbers continue to increase.

A mild winter has helped the mule deer population in the Badlands but hunters will still be prohibited from hunting does this season for the fourth straight year to help continued growth.

North Dakota Game and Fish officials conducted their annual spring survey and found 2,376 mule deer in a 306-square-mile area of the Badlands. That’s an increase of 24 percent from 2014 and 16 percent higher than long term averages.

But hunters will still not be able to hunt does this season as efforts continue to increase the numbers. It’s the third straight year officials have seen an increase, so it appears things are looking up. State officials are working with the Mule Deer Foundation on the project. The foundation has been awarded $480,000 of state and oil industry money to help with a habitat improvement project with private landowners.

“Our momentum is really starting to build,” Foundation Regional Director Marshall Johnson said. “I strongly believe in that, until we get those populations sustainable. You can’t kill the baby-makers.”

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