Survey: North Dakota mule deer numbers holding steady

State News

FILE – In this April 2013, file photo, mule deer graze in Yosemite National Park in California. The mule deer population in the western North Dakota Badlands continued its rebound this year. Big game biologist Bruce Stillings says fawn production was up and that’s encouraging news. But unit 4A in the Watford City area remains closed to doe hunting for a seventh straight year. State Wildlife Chief Jeb Williams says there likely are several reasons for the slower mule deer recovery in that area, including harsher winters, energy development and mountain lions. (AP Photo/Kathy Matheson, File)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A fall survey indicates the mule deer population continues to recover in the western North Dakota Badlands thanks to another good year of fawn production.

Mule deer in the region endured three straight harsh winters ending in 2011 that led to record-low fawn production.

Biologists counted 2,218 mule deer during the October survey, close to last year’s 2,446. The ratios of 41 bucks per 100 does and 84 fawns per 100 does also held steady.

State Wildlife Chief Jeb Williams says the stable numbers are encouraging even though they don’t represent an increase.

Hunting mule deer does was banned for four straight seasons beginning in 2012 to help the population recover.

North Dakota’s gun season for mule and white-tailed deer opens at noon Friday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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