The North Dakota Game & Fish Department has issued notification that the 2018 Deer Gun Season is set with 55,150 licenses available. This number represents 650 more licenses than issued last year.
The 2017 deer season proved to be a continued challenge for hunters. For the ninth straight season, hunter success was below 70%. The North Dakota Game & Fish Department considers a 70% harvest rate to be a good year, but last fall’s deer gun hunters hit a success rate of 63% for bucks and just 60% for does.
To put things into a historical perspective, there were more than 100,000 licenses available each season from 2001 through 2011. Beginning in 2004, there were six seasons of over 145,000 licenses. But after these years of issuing a historic amount of licenses, there was an unwelcomed storm of events that included loss of habitat, some disease, and brutal winter conditions. This resulted in a historic low number of licenses being issued in 2015, with just 43,275.
Although frustration exists among many hunters, because of fewer hunting opportunities, numbers are rebounding. Hopefully they will continue to trend upward. I believe that the more opportunities that exist, the less likely we are to witness the death of North Dakota’s deer hunting tradition.
Applications for the 2018 season can be submitted on the North Dakota Game & Fish website. The deadline is June 6th.