BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — There will be a bit less deer hunting this year after a viral disease led North Dakota Game and Fish to drop the number of licenses by about 8,000.

2022 will allow 64,200 licenses because of the number of deer that died, many from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD)

The assistant chief of the Wildlife Division says conserving habitat will help get the license numbers back up again.

“Along the Missouri River system and southwest, we have some pretty good deer habitat,” said Bill Haase. “So we’re hopeful they’ll return through reduction and being more conservative with the number of deer licenses. In the eastern part of the state, we have lost a lot of wildlife habitat. There isn’t the amount of CRP in the landscape and just a lot of other issues.”

Haase said most of the land in the state is privately owned and there are programs to help landowners improve the habitat for deer.

You can also contact the Private Lands Division for more help.