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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.

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.