North Dakota Deer Disease Kills Hunter Success and License Numbers | Mandan News

An outbreak in western North Dakota last year reduced hunters’ success during the fall season, as well as reducing the number of licenses offered to hunt this year.

The state Department of Hunting and Fishing provides 64,200 licenses, down 8,000 from last year — an 11% drop.

Any antlers licenses have decreased by 150 from last year, any without antlers by 350, white tail antlers by 4150, and white tail antlers by 3,700. Deer licenses for antlers remained the same, and licenses for antlers increased by 350. Permits for antlers decreased by 350. Muzzleloader by 168, and youth-restricted Muzzle Horn Deer licenses remain the same.

“An epidemic haemorrhagic disease has dramatically reduced white-tailed deer populations along the Missouri River and parts of some western hunting units” in 2021, said Wildlife Service Chief Casey Anderson. As a result, licensing allocations in some units have been significantly reduced. “

The state issued 72,200 deer gun licenses last year. A total of 57,086 hunters killed 32,793 deer during deer rifle season last November, according to a Game and Fish survey.

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Overall success fell sharply from 68% in 2020 to 57% in 2021, and was below the state’s threshold for a “good” season for the thirteenth consecutive year. Game and Fish generally consider 70% a successful season, although the minimum is not absolute.

Last year, about 10 percent of eligible North Dakota deer hunters requested a refund of their license due to the outbreak of EHS in the wild. The disease known as EHD emerged in late August, and the state has received more than 1,200 reports of deer deaths.

“The (hunting) units where we had EHD, where we had layoffs, had a much lower success rate in those units,” Anderson said. “Those units without EHD were much closer to 70%.”

North Dakota Wildlife Chief Casey Anderson


dehydration and disease

The impact of the disease extended over most of western and central North Dakota, with the greatest concentration of reports along the Missouri River, particularly in northern and southern Bismarck Mandan.

EHD is a viral disease transmitted by mosquito bites. It is in North Dakota at a low level most years, but sometimes environmental conditions such as drought last year create ideal breeding grounds for insects, and outbreaks occur. The disease affects white-tailed deer more than mule deer, due to the animal’s composition. It is not considered dangerous to people.

EHD outbreaks end once severe freezing kills the midges.

“The drought conditions were kind of the main story for EHD, the prolongation of the warm weather,” Anderson said. “We usually get that first frost in the last week of September in Bismarck, but it wasn’t until late October. This edge spreads over the landscape much longer.”

Recent moisture in the area from April’s storms may help avoid environmental conditions that could lead to another outbreak this year. As Anderson said, “The deer that survived and did have a very strong immunity to the disease.”

“Normally it’s not as bad as the first year when you have a gullible herd, as it was along the Missouri River last year,” he said.

Define licenses

Harvest rates are one of many factors in deciding annual deer licenses, along with winter population surveys, loot reports, hunters’ observations, input to advisory board meetings, and feedback from the public, landowners, and department field staff.

North Dakota has experienced a loss of wildlife habitat in recent years due to oil development and reduced grassland areas resulting from changes in farming practices. This has essentially halved annual permit numbers compared to the peak deer numbers in the mid-2000s.

Last year, the department’s latest five-year target for annual licenses of up to 75,000 expired. Officials are reconsidering the target due to things not taken into account, such as an increase in chronic wasting disease, according to Anderson.

“In the five-year target that we had, we were somewhat conservative with deer licenses, on the cautious side; with CWD that is not necessarily the case,” he said.

Officials don’t want deer densities to rise enough in areas of CWD that deer begin to move to new areas and spread disease.

“The more habitat we can have in the landscape, the more deer the landscape can handle,” Anderson said. “Our big driver now is how do we get more habitat in the landscape.”

The number of licenses that are issued is important to the country’s economy. Deer hunters spend an average of about five days, spending hundreds of dollars a day, according to Game and Fish and State Tourism Division data.

2021 season

Hunter had success last fall for white-tailed antler 40%, and for white-tailed antler 48%. The success rate of mule deer is 72%, and the hornless mule deer is 80%. Success rates are usually higher for pimples, which are generally not the same as whitetail.

Hunters with either horned licenses or any licenses without antlers generally harvest white-tailed deer, as these licenses are often in mostly white-tailed units. Buck hunters have a success rate of 63%, while bear hunters have a success rate of 57%.

Game and Fish issued 12,113 free licenses in 2021, and 9,311 hunters harvested 4,713 deer, with a success rate of 51%.

A total of 1,336 muzzleloader licenses were issued, and 1,049 hunters harvested 492 white-tailed deer – 258 horns and 234 horns, with a success rate of 47%.

A total of 29,762 shooting licenses were issued (26,251 resident, 3,511 non-resident), with 23,466 bow hunters harvesting 7,251 deer – 6,144 white-tailed and 1,107 mule deer – with a success rate of 31%.

2022 season

The 2022 North Dakota Deer Pistol season begins November 4 at noon and runs through November 20.

Applicants for regular, free, youth and muzzleloader deer pistol licenses can apply online through the Game and Fish website at The deadline is June 8.

A general game and habitat license is required when applying for a deer license. The applicant has the option to redeem their game license and common domicile if their deer license is not drawn in the lottery.

Unpaid applicants who previously applied online will automatically carry over their land description to this year’s application. But any changes to the land descriptions from last year must be made before the 2022 application can be submitted.

Free applications received on or before the regular deer rifle application deadline will be eligible for any legal deer license. Under state law, free applications received after the deadline will be processed based on licenses remaining after the lottery. In general, only licenses that do not have a century remain.

“Last fall, 26 deer were harvested during the hunting season that tested positive for CWD, including three in new units,” Anderson said. “This has consequently changed deer management strategies in those and surrounding units.”

Hunters harvesting deer in units 3A1, 3A2, 3B1, 3C, 3D1, 3E2, 3F2, 4B and 4C cannot move the entire carcass out of the unit, except that they can move the entire carcass between adjacent CWD restricted carcass units.

It is illegal for anyone to catch big game on bait, or put a bait to lure big game for the purpose of hunting, in Units 1, 2B, 3A1, 3A2, 3A3, 3A4, 3B1, 3C, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2 , 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.

Contact News Editor Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or [email protected]

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