A total of 57,086 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 32,793 deer during the 2021 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.
Game and Fish made available 72,200 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 57%, with each hunter spending an average of 4.5 days in the field. Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 40%, and antlerless whitetail was 48%. Mule deer buck success was 72%, and antlerless mule deer was 80%.
Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses generally harvest white-tailed deer, as these licenses are predominantly in units with mostly whitetails. Buck hunters had a success rate of 63%, while doe hunters had a success rate of 57%.
Game and Fish issued 12,113 gratis licenses in 2021, and 9,311 hunters harvested 4,713 deer, for a success rate of 51%. A total of 1,336 muzzleloader licenses were issued, and 1,049 hunters harvested 492 white-tailed deer (258 antlered, 234 antlerless). Hunter success was 47%.
A total of 29,762 archery licenses (26,251 resident, 3,511 nonresident) were issued in 2021. In total, 23,466 bowhunters harvested 7,251 deer (6,144 whitetails, 1,107 mule deer), for a success rate of 31%.
The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2022. In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, Game and Fish staff monitor other population indices to determine license numbers, including depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.