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Number of deer, licenses discussed

Randy Kreil, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Wildlife Division chief, planned to limit how much he would talk about deer hunting and deer herd management challenges at the North Dakota Wildlife Federation’s annual convention Saturday in Jamestown.

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The topics of declining deer herd and the decrease in the number of people receiving deer hunting licenses took up his entire half-hour time slot.

Kreil said for the 2013 deer hunting season there were 100,000 people who applied for deer hunting licenses and 44,000 people didn’t get one.

“I got to know a lot of them on a first-name basis,” he said.

The issue became clearer to Kreil and his staff after they held a series of advisory board meetings in November and December. He said all that people wanted to talk about at these meetings was the deer herd and hunting licenses.

Kreil said the hunters he has talked with who didn’t get a license last year understand why the North Dakota Game and Fish Department limited the number of licenses.

“They understood we’ve had three tough winters, they’ve seen the habitat change going on,” he said. “People weren’t angry, but they are concerned.”

The Wildlife Division will host a series of special meetings in February just to talk about the deer herd and hunting license distribution. Kreil said meetings will be held in Jamestown, Casselton, Bismarck, Dickinson, Tioga and Devils Lake. The specific dates, times and locations for these meeting should be announced sometime this week, he said.

Kreil said the input taken from these meetings will help determine how many deer licenses will be given out later this year and how those licenses will be distributed. He said he wants to hear ideas from hunters and others about how to make the hunting license distribution more equal.

Kreil said when he hears about one person getting six deer hunting licenses and others getting none, he thinks there should be a better method developed for distributing the licenses.

Mike McEnroe, president of the North Dakota Wildlife Federation, said Kreil’s presentation was probably the most timely one given as federation members have been talking about deer hunting.

“One of the reasons we wanted Randy (Kreil) to speak was so he could tell our members where these special meetings were going to be held and get that information back to their clubs and spread the word,” he said.

McEnroe said the federation is working with state officials on long-term solutions to the deer habitat and licensing issues.

“We’re looking for long-term solutions,” he said. “We have to be prepared to live with some difficult times before we start turning the corner on this.”

The Stutsman County Wildlife Federation hosted the convention held Friday through Sunday at the Quality Inn in Jamestown.

Matt Opsahl, president of the Stutsman County Wildlife Federation, said overall he was impressed with the variety of speakers and subjects at the conference.

“There was some information presented here that I wasn’t quite aware of,” he said.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454