Nicole Stone

North Dakota Pronghorn Population Might be in Trouble, Here's Why

Is North Dakota's pronghorn population collapsing again? 

North Dakota's latest pronghorn survey and application status were released this week. However, to the disappointment of its residents, North Dakota's pronghorn population dropped 14 % this year. This is devastating news for a state that had just bounced back from a collapse.  There will only be 410 licenses available for the 2017 season. Last year the state issued 730. Licenses issued back in 2007? 6,000.

The limits per unit are as follows:

  • 2B - 30
  • 3A - 25
  • 3B - 80
  • 4A - 225
  • 4C - 50

There will be no hunting in units 1A or 1B.  Both were opened to hunting in 2016.

Managing the state's pronghorn population has been a serious struggle in recent years. The pronghorn population began collapsing in the mid-2000's, after reaching an all time high between 2005 and 2007.  Due to a series of harsh winters, numbers fell rapidly and the population couldn't rebound.  They were forced to close the season in 2010, in which it remained closed until 2014. Although they opened the season back up in 2014, they only released 250 tags that year. After a slow recovery over the previous few years, the state faces a set back with the low numbers.  A harsher 2016-2017 winter in the western part of the state is to blame.

Above is the historical fluctuation of the population. Photo Credit: Bismarck Tribune

If you are a resident looking to apply, applications are due on Wednesday, August 2nd. Last year, 8,900 people applied.

For those lucky enough to draw a tag, the archery only season will run from Friday, September 1 - 24. The gun season will begin on Friday, October 6 and run until the 22.


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