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NDGF seeks opinion on deer management today

Representatives from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department will hold a public input meeting from 7 to about 9 p.m. today at the Bunker, 1520 3rd St. SE, in Jamestown.

NDGF Director Terry Steinwand and Jeb Williams, assistant chief of the Wildlife Division, will host the meeting on the deer herd population and possible changes in how many deer hunting licenses are issued.

Wildlife Division Chief Randy Kreil said the meeting will consist of a 40-minute presentation on the past, present and potential future of the deer herd, how licenses are allocated and how to share hunting opportunities among various groups.

Kreil said NDGF held four meetings last week, will hold four more this week at various locations around the state, and expects more than a hundred people to attend the Jamestown meeting.

“We had over 100 people in Casselton, and over 80 people in Anamoose and Dickinson, and about 55 to 60 in Devils Lake,” Kreil said. “There is a whole list of suggestions (on hunting license allocations) that we have received from the public, and we don’t have a preferred alternative at this point, but we’ll go through the suggestions and comments and ideas that we’ve received, been talking about and been hearing about during the meeting.”

The number of deer licenses the state issues has dropped dramatically in recent years. In 2008, NDGF issued 143,990 licenses, and more than 3,000 fewer were issued the next year. Last year only 59,280 licenses were released.

Randy Meissner, NDGF licensing manager, said the state Legislature and poor weather were responsible for thinning the deer herd over the years.

“We had way too many deer in the state for a number of years,” Meissner said, “so the Legislature was pushing us to have a more aggressive harvest, so we issued more aggressive numbers, hunting permits than we probably should have. And there were a couple of really bad winters just on the heels of that, and that’s what they (NDGF biologists) believe combined to decrease the population so much now.”

Meissner said many factors are considered when the agency decides how many deer tags to issue.

“They fly aerial surveys every year; they do their best to approximate the number of deer that are in the state,” Meissner said. “Then they also take into consideration harvest surveys and questionnaires that we send out to the deer hunters regarding their success and how good of luck they had.”

Sun reporter David Luessen can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at