Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

2019 Upland Game Seasons Summarized

After two years of lower upland game populations, fewer hunters pursued these game birds last fall. With that said, North Dakota’s 2019 pheasant and sharp-tailed grouse harvests were down from 2018, while the number of Hungarian partridge taken last year was similar to the year before, according to statistics compiled by the state Game and Fish Department.

 

Upland game management supervisor Jesse Kolar said the overall harvest was down despite slight increases in most population survey estimates.

 

“This was likely due to continued declines in hunter numbers and hunter days afield following lower population trends,” Kolar added. “We also still have lower densities of upland game birds in areas that traditionally had much of the harvest – pheasant numbers were still low in the southwest and sharptail numbers remained low in the badlands.”

 

Nearly 50,000 pheasant hunters harvested 256,800 roosters (down 25%) in 2018, compared to 59,400 hunters and 342,600 roosters in 2018.

 

Counties with the highest percentage of pheasants taken were Hettinger, Divide, Bowman, Williams and McLean.

 

In 2019, 14,000 hunters harvested 34,300 sharp-tailed grouse (down 34%), compared to 15,200 hunters and 51,800 birds in 2018.

 

Counties with the highest percentage of sharptails taken were Mountrail, Burleigh, Ward, Stutsman and McKenzie.

 

Last year, 11,900 hunters harvested 32,600 Hungarian partridge (up 5%). In 2018, nearly 12,500 hunters harvested 31,200 Huns.

 

Counties with the highest percentage of Huns taken were Mountrail, Ward, McLean, Williams and Divide.

2019 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 57,949 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 37,250 deer during the 2019 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish made available 65,500 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 64 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.3 days in the field.

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 64 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 58 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 78 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 79 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 68 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 65 percent.

Game and Fish issued 11,981 gratis licenses in 2019, and 9,767 hunters harvested 5,416 deer, for a success rate of 56 percent.

A total of 1,206 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2019, and 1,040 hunters harvested 426 white-tailed deer (222 antlered, 204 antlerless). Hunter success was 41 percent.

A total of 27,582 archery licenses (24,902 resident, 2,680 nonresident) were issued in 2019. In total, 21,960 bow hunters harvested 8,978 deer (7,988 whitetails, 990 mule deer), for a success rate of 41 percent.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2020. In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, Game and Fish staff monitor 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.

2018 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 48,717 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 31,350 deer during the 2018 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish made available 55,150 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 64 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.

Hunter success for both antlered and antlerless white-tailed deer was 64 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 81 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 83 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 69 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 65 percent.

Game and Fish issued 13,098 gratis licenses in 2018, and 10,785 hunters harvested 5,832 deer, for a success rate of 54 percent.

A total of 1,022 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2018, and 900 hunters harvested 349 white-tailed deer (176 antlered, 173 antlerless). Hunter success was 39 percent.

A record 28,824 archery licenses (26,318 resident, 2,506 nonresident) were issued in 2018. In total, 22,666 bow hunters harvested 8,914 deer (7,927 whitetails, 987 mule deer), for a success rate of 39 percent.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2019. In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, Game and Fish staff monitor 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.

2018 Bighorn Sheep, Moose and Elk Harvests

Harvest statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department show overall hunter success during the 2018 season for bighorn sheep was 100 percent, 92 percent for moose and 65 percent for elk.

 

The department issued two bighorn sheep licenses and auctioned one. All three hunters harvested a bighorn ram.

 

The department issued 329 moose licenses last year. Of that total, 319 hunters harvested 294 animals – 138 bulls and 156 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:

 

Unit Hunters Bulls Cow/Calf Success Rate
M5 5 3 1 80
M6 14 9 3 86
M8 14 13 0 93
M9 93 34 49 89
M10

M11

107

86

50

29

52

51

95

93

 

The department issued 418 elk licenses last year. Of that total, 380 hunters harvested 248 elk – 135 bulls and 113 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:

 

Unit Hunters Bulls Cow/Calf Success Rate
E1E

E1W

57

37

17

10

16

17

58

73

E2 128 35 35 55
E3 125 52 40 74
E4

E6

22

11

17

4

0

5

77

82

2016 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 44,140 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 29,300 deer during the 2016 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.

whitetail buck in November

Game and Fish made available 49,000 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 66 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 72 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 60 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 89 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 78 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 71 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 66 percent.

Game and Fish issued 13,466 gratis licenses in 2016, and 11,369 hunters harvested 6,593 deer, for a success rate of 58 percent.

A record 26,755 archery licenses (24,532 resident, 2,223 nonresident) were issued in 2016. In total, 22,071 bow hunters harvested 9,492 deer (8,686 whitetails, 806 mule deer), for a success rate of 43 percent.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in the 2017 deer proclamation. 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.

2015 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 39,470 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 26,700 deer during the 2015 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the State Game and Fish Department.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND    Game and Fish

Game and Fish made available 43,275 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 68 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.3 days in the field.

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 70 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 64 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 86 percent. No mule deer doe licenses were issued in 2015.

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 75 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 67 percent.

A total of 826 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2015, and 745 hunters that participated harvested 348 white-tailed deer (194 antlered, 154 antlerless). Hunter success was 47 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 5.9 days in the field.

A record 25,703 archery licenses (23,710 resident, 1,993 nonresident) were issued in 2015. In total, 21,680 bow hunters harvested 7,527 deer (6,777 whitetails, 750 mule deer), for a success rate of 35 percent. Bucks accounted for 75 percent of the deer harvested with a bow. Archers spent an average of 10.7 days afield.

In addition, 4,004 youth licenses were issued in 2015. During the youth season, 3,487 hunters harvested 1,832 deer (393 bucks, 1,439 does). Hunter success was 52 percent, and each hunter spent an average of 2.9 days in the field. Youth hunters in the regular deer gun season harvested an additional 240 deer (196 bucks, 44 does) for an overall success rate of 59 percent.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in the 2016 deer proclamation. 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.