ND Game and Fish
North Dakota’s 2023 pronghorn hunting season is set, with 420 licenses available in eight units.
Bruce Stillings, big game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said license numbers are down significantly from last year, when the department allocated 1,970 licenses in 17 units.
“A limited season with a very conservative harvest strategy will be held to provide hunter opportunity while encouraging population growth,” Stillings said.
Hunting units 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4C, 5A and 7A will be open in 2023. The remaining hunting units will be closed due to low population levels not able to support a harvest at this time.
The July aerial survey indicated the overall pronghorn population is down 40% from last year. The fawn-to-doe ratio of 43 fawns per 100 does was the second lowest on record since 1950. The buck-to-doe ratio of 30 bucks per 100 does remains stable and at population objective, Stillings said.
“Significant snowfall fell in early November and winter conditions persisted into April, putting extreme stress on pronghorn,” he said. “Losses due to malnutrition were significant based on results from our aerial survey. Fawns and older adults are age classes impacted the most during extreme winter conditions.”
Currently, Stillings mentioned, habitat conditions are excellent following above normal winter and summer moisture, which provides ample resources for pronghorn.
“Future population recovery will be dependent on upcoming winter conditions and fawning success in 2024,” he added. “Pronghorn fawn production was the second lowest on record following one of the most extreme winters on record.”
Each unit will once again have a season that is split into an early bow-only portion, and a later gun/bow season.
The bow-only portion of the season is Sept. 1 (noon) – Sept. 24. Anyone who draws a license can hunt pronghorn with a bow in the unit printed on the license.
From Oct. 6 (noon) – Oct. 22, hunters who still have a valid license can use legal firearms or archery equipment, and again must stay in the assigned unit.
Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a pronghorn license. Hunters who have accumulated bonus points and choose not to apply this year will not lose their points, but will not earn a point for next year. However, hunters who do not want a license in 2023 have the option to purchase a bonus point on the application.
Applicants can apply online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. The pronghorn license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older, and $10 for under age 16. Applicants for a pronghorn lottery license must be at least 12 years of age on or before Dec. 31. The application deadline is Aug. 9