Published May 23, 2022

Game and Fish Briefs

Written by
The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

Scholarships Available for Students

The North Dakota Game Wardens Association, Ray Goetz Memorial Fund, and Report All Poachers are sponsoring two $600 scholarships for graduating high school seniors or current higher education students interested in majoring in wildlife law enforcement or a related field.

Applicants must be North Dakota residents, be in good academic standing and have an interest in wildlife law enforcement or a related field. Scholarships will be awarded in fall upon proof of enrollment.

Applications are available by contacting the North Dakota Game Warden’s Association, ndgamewardens@gmail.com. Applications must be received no later than July 8.

Spring Mule Deer Survey Complete

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department completed its annual spring mule deer survey in May, and results indicate western North Dakota’s mule deer population is 13% higher than last year and 34% above the long-term average.

Biologists counted 2,923 mule deer in 298.8 square miles during this year’s survey. The overall mule deer density in the badlands was 9.8 deer per square mile.

Big game management supervisor Bruce Stillings said he is encouraged with current mule deer densities across the badlands.

“The spring index was higher than 2021 despite having very poor fawn production,” Stillings said. “Although fawn production was low due to extreme drought, habitat in the badlands was still in a condition able to provide high over-winter survival, leading to a slight population increase in 2022.”

Stillings said the 2022 spring survey was the longest on record due to two April blizzards.

“These two blizzards produced approximately 40 inches of snow with high winds and low temperatures,” he added. “The effects of these storms will not be understood until upcoming surveys are completed.”

The spring mule deer survey is used to assess mule deer abundance in the badlands. It is conducted after the snow has melted and before trees begin to leaf out, providing the best conditions for aerial observation of deer. Biologists have completed aerial surveys of the same 24 study areas since the 1950s.

Pronghorn Hunting Season Statistics

Hunter success during last fall’s pronghorn hunting season was 68%, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish issued 1,710 licenses (1,034 lottery and 676 gratis), and 1,457 hunters took 991 pronghorn, consisting of 807 bucks, 159 does and 25 fawns. Each hunter spent an average of three days afield.

The 2022 pronghorn hunting season will be determined in July.

Game and Fish Pays Property Taxes

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently paid more than $718,000 in taxes to counties in which the department owns or leases land. The 2021 in-lieu-of-tax payments are the same as property taxes paid by private landowners.

The Game and Fish Department manages more than 200,000 acres for wildlife habitat and public hunting in 51 counties. The department does not own or manage any land in Traill or Renville counties.

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