Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Deer Application Deadline is June 6

Deer hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting applications for the 2018 gun season is Wednesday, June 6.

 

Applicants for regular deer gun, youth and muzzleloader can apply online through the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov, or call 800-406-6409. A service fee is charged for applications made through the 800 number.

 

Gratis applicants must apply online – the toll-free licensing telephone number is not set up to receive gratis applications. In addition, paper applications are no longer available for any lottery or gratis licenses.

 

Applicants who do not have access to a computer can submit the application at a public service location such as a public library, stop at a Game and Fish office, or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor.

 

Gratis applications received on or before the regular deer gun lottery application deadline will qualify for an any-legal-deer license. As per state law, gratis applications received after the deadline will be processed based on licenses remaining after the lottery – generally only antlerless licenses remain.

Deer Season Set, Online Apps Available

North Dakota’s 2018 deer season is set, with 55,150 licenses available to hunters this fall, 650 more than last year.

In total, antlered mule deer licenses increased by 150 from last year, antlerless mule deer by 550, antlered whitetail by 150 and antlerless whitetail by 150. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reduced the number of “any antlered” licenses by 100, and reduced “any antlerless” license by 250.

In addition, restricted youth antlered mule deer licenses increased by 15, and muzzleloader licenses remained the same.

As in the past several years, no mule deer doe licenses are available in unit 4A.

North Dakota’s 2018 deer gun season opens Nov. 9 at noon and continues through Nov. 25.

Applicants for regular deer gun, youth and muzzleloader can apply online through the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov, or call 800-406-6409. A service fee is charged for applications made through the 800 number.

Gratis applicants must apply online – the toll-free licensing telephone number is not set up to receive gratis applications. In addition, paper applications are no longer available for any lottery or gratis licenses.

The deadline for applying is June 6.

Applicants who do not have access to a computer can submit the application at a public service location such as a public library, stop at a Game and Fish office, or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor.

Gratis applications received on or before the regular deer gun lottery application deadline will qualify for an any-legal-deer license. As per state law, gratis applications received after the deadline will be processed based on licenses remaining after the lottery – generally only antlerless licenses remain.

Total deer licenses are determined by harvest rates, aerial surveys, depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

Leave Baby Animals Alone, Watch for Deer

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department offers a simple message to well-intentioned humans who want to pick up and rescue what appear to be orphaned baby animals this time of year – don’t touch them. Whether it is a young fawn, duckling, cottontail rabbit or a songbird, it is better to just leave them alone.

 

More often than not, young animals are not abandoned or deserted, and the mother is probably nearby. Young wildlife are purposely placed into seclusion by their mothers to protect them from predators.

 

Anytime a young wild animal has human contact its chance for survival decreases significantly. It’s illegal to take wild animals home, and captive animals later returned to the wild will struggle to survive because they do not possess learned survival skills.

 

The only time a baby animal should be picked up is if it is in an unnatural situation, such as a young songbird found on a doorstep. In that case, the young bird could be moved to the closest suitable habitat.

 

Citizens should also steer clear of adult wildlife, such as deer or moose that might wander into urban areas. Crowding stresses animals, and this could lead to a potentially dangerous situation.

 

In addition, motorists are reminded to watch for deer along roadways. June is one of the peak months for deer‑vehicle accidents because young animals are dispersing from their home ranges. With deer more active during these months, the potential for car‑deer collisions increases.

2017 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 49,407 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 30,100 deer during the 2017 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.

 

Game and Fish made available 54,500 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 61 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.

 

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 66 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 61 percent.

 

Mule deer buck success was 83 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 86 percent.

 

Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses generally harvest white-tailed deer, as these licenses are predominantly in units with mostly whitetails. Buck hunters had a success rate of 63 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 60 percent.

 

Game and Fish issued 13,402 gratis licenses in 2017, and 11,503 hunters harvested 6,059 deer, for a success rate of 53 percent.

 

A total of 1,022 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2017, and 933 hunters harvested 354 white-tailed deer (196 antlered, 158 antlerless). Hunter success was 38 percent.

 

A record 28,481 archery licenses (26,114 resident, 2,367 nonresident) were issued in 2017. In total, 23,003 bow hunters harvested 8,900 deer (7,854 whitetails, 1046 mule deer), for a success rate of 39 percent.

 

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2018. 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.

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Tentative 2018 Season Opening Dates

Tentative 2018 Season Opening Dates

To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2018, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates for the coming year.

Dates become official when approved by governor’s proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2018 include:

Spring Turkey April 14
Deer and Pronghorn Bow, Mountain Lion August 31
Dove September 1
Sharptail, Hun, Ruffed Grouse, Squirrel September 8
Youth Deer September 14
Youth Waterfowl September 15
Early Resident Waterfowl September 22
Regular Waterfowl, Youth Pheasant September 29
Pronghorn Gun October 5
Pheasant October 6
Fall Turkey October 13
Mink, Muskrat, Weasel Trapping October 27
Deer Gun November 9
Deer Muzzleloader November 30

 

Hunter Education Classes

Individuals or parents with children who will need to take a course in 2018 should monitor the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, as classes that begin in January will be added as times and locations are finalized.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

After accessing the “Buy and Apply” link, click on the hunter education link and “list of hunter education courses.” Classes are listed by city, and can also be sorted by start date. To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class, and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required.

Individuals interested in receiving a notice by email when each hunter education class is added can click on the “subscribe to news and alerts” link found below the news section on the Game and Fish home page. Check the box labeled “hunter education” under the education program updates.

In addition, SMS text notifications of new classes can be sent directly to a cell phone. Simply text “NDGF HunterClass” to 468311 to subscribe to this feature.

State law requires anyone born after December 31, 1961 to pass a certified hunter education course to hunt in the state. Hunter education is mandatory for youth who are turning 12 years old, and children can take the class at age 11.

Donate Deer to Sportsmen Against Hunger

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding deer hunters to keep in mind the Sportsmen Against Hunger program this fall.

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While this year’s deer proclamation allows only one deer gun license per hunter, families with more than one license might want to consider donating a deer to this worthy cause. In addition, hunters with an archery and muzzleloader license can help as well.

The list of participating processors is available on the Community Action Partnership of North Dakota website, www.capnd.org.

Sportsmen Against Hunger is a charitable program that raises money for processing of donated goose and deer meat, and coordinates distribution of donated meat to food pantries in North Dakota. It is administered by CAPND, a nonprofit agency that serves low-income families across the state.

Fall Mule Deer Survey Completed

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated fawn production in 2017 was lower than in 2016.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND    Game and Fish

Biologists counted 2,548 (3,003 in 2016) mule deer in the aerial survey in October. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.32 (0.48 in 2016) was lower than the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.76 (0.90 in 2016) was down from the long-term average of 0.91 fawns per doe.

Big game biologist Bruce Stillings said survey conditions were much warmer than normal, with nearly 50 percent leaf cover, which he said could explain the lower buck-to-doe ratio.

“And this year’s lower fawn production was expected based on the previous winter conditions, but it was still at a level able to support stable-to-increasing deer numbers, depending on the severity of the upcoming winter,” Stillings said.

The fall aerial survey, conducted specifically to study demographics, covers 24 study areas and 306.3 square miles in western North Dakota. Biologists also survey the same study areas in the spring of each year to determine deer abundance.