Short a few bucks, does: Area hunters to get fewer licenses after three rough winters shrink state’s deer populationDeer hunters in the Jamestown region will have fewer tags to fill this season. Units in the James River Valley are seeing declines in available licenses just like the rest of North Dakota.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Deer hunters in the Jamestown region will have fewer tags to fill this season.
Units in the James River Valley are seeing declines in available licenses just like the rest of North Dakota.
“After three tough winters the numbers have definitely dropped,” said Brian Kietzman, big game biologist with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. “You can see it in the countryside. There aren’t the number of animals out there we saw in the past.”
Statewide, the decrease in available licenses is about 40 percent with a reduction of 44,650 licenses to 65,300 this season. The decline in each hunting unit varies depending on the number of deer seen during counts this past winter.
Hunters will be limited to one deer gun season license this year. North Dakota Game and Fish officials don’t anticipate any licenses remaining after the first drawing is held.
The reductions in the available deer tags will also mean a drop in activity for some businesses.
“This is going to hurt,” said Michelle Bollinger, owner of Edgeley Meats. “We usually do about 400 to 500 deer each year. We shut down all our other operations to process deer.”
Bollinger said last year’s season was already less than normal because of lower deer numbers.
“Last year we only processed about 350 deer,” she said. “And there are less deer around this year.”
Kietzman said the mild winter this year should help deer numbers. The actual reproduction is not known yet with the does giving birth to fawns from late May through June
“The critical thing is we’re hoping the deer bounce back quicker,” he said. “But the landscape is changing. We’re losing CRP and tree strips so what kind of deer numbers we return to is an unknown.”
CRP, also known as the Conservation Reserve Program, pays farmers to leave land as grass, which serves as wildlife habitat. As much as 800,000 acres across North Dakota could be removed from the program in the next years, Kietzman said.
Farmers are also removing tree strips on farm land to make larger fields, which are more efficient for modern farm equipment.
Applications for the drawing for a deer gun license are due no later than June 6. Forms are available at license vendors or online at gf.nd.us.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com