The last time the number of North Dakota hunting licenses was this low, President Jimmy Carter was in office.
The Game and Fish Department will make just over 43,000 licenses for 2015, which is 12 percent less than last year, and hasn’t been that low since 1978. State Wildlife Chief Jeb Williams said:
Declining habitat and some tough winters have taken a toll on deer. Deer populations remain well below management objectives in most hunting units, and a conservative approach to hunting is needed to help with recovery efforts.
The most significant decrease is the any-doe license, down 2,650 from the previous year, while any-buck licenses have dropped 1,150. The licenses for Whitetail doe are 800 less, and whitetail bucks have gone down 650.
In the badlands, mule deer population has actually increased for three straight years, but in an effort to increase population, there will be no mule deer doe hunting for the fourth consecutive year. Biologists are hoping to continue the recovery before they permit hunters to harvest females in the badlands.
This year, the deer gun season will start at noon on November 6 and run through November 22. June 3 is the deadline to apply for a license this year.