Awaiting deer season decisions

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is still receiving input regarding possible adjustments to the state’s deer hunting seasons. Game and Fish requested sportsmen to respond during a recent session of eight deer management meetings held throughout the state.

“The department was very satisfied with the number of people attending the meetings. There were thoughtful comments and recommendations,” said Randy Kreil, NDG&F wildlife division chief. “They recognized that habitat loss is a significant factor in the future of our deer population.”

The primary issue detailed by Game and Fish at the recent meetings was the increasing number of hunters who have been denied deer gun licenses. The number of available deer gun licenses has been declining for several years due to a declining deer population. Game and Fish is now tasked with evaluating sportsmen’s suggestions for possible future management of the state’s deer herd.

“Our biggest challenge is to categorize them all and see if there is a general theme to them,” said Kreil. “It’s been a great response. We are hearing from people every day.”

The department has urged sportsmen to comment on the deer population and seasons via the NDG&F website at ( According to Game and Fish, no significant changes, if any, will be made to the state’s deer hunting regulations until the 2015 season. As for 2014, NDG&F says it is too soon to say how many deer hunting licenses will be issued.

“It’s far too soon to even talk about that,” said Kreil this past week. “It would really help if spring got here and stayed. Winter mortality would be reduced and our spring fawning success rates would improve.”

Game and Fish annually evaluates deer population data from various regions of the state before deciding how many permits should be issued in each deer gun hunting unit. It is expected that standard adjustments will be made in 2014 as necessary. The state’s hunting proclamation is due on the governor’s desk the final week of April, meaning the number of deer gun tags issued in 2014 will have to be determined by that date. This year’s deer gun opener is tentatively set for Nov. 7.

Sportsmen should get some indication of what the 2014 deer hunting season will bring during eight Spring Advisory Board meetings. Those meetings are set to begin the week of March 31 at times and locations yet to be announced.