More Than Half of Licensed Hunters Successful, But is That OK?

If slightly more than half of hunters had a success rate for a deer season, would you consider that to be good or bad?

North Dakota buckThat’s what one state’s wildlife officials will be reviewing, along with other regulation proposals, to present to the public later this spring.

North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 28,600 deer during the 2013 deer gun hunting season.

The State Game and Fish Department made available 59,500 deer gun licenses in 2013, and more than 98 percent were issued. Overall hunter success was 55 percent, and each hunter spent an average of 4.6 days in the field.

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 62 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 55 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 82 percent. No mule deer doe licenses were issued in 2013.

Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses almost exclusively kill white-tailed deer. Buck hunters had a success rate of 57 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 54 percent.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in the 2014 deer proclamation. These recommendations will be discussed at the upcoming spring Game and Fish public advisory board meetings, scheduled for March 31 and April 1, and April 7-8. 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.