•Fall Mule Deer Survey Completed
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated fawn production in 2017 was lower than in 2016.
Biologists counted 2,548 (3,003 in 2016) mule deer in the aerial survey in October. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.32 (0.48 in 2016) was lower than the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.76 (0.90 in 2016) was down from the long-term average of 0.91 fawns per doe.
Big game biologist Bruce Stillings said survey conditions were much warmer than normal, with nearly 50 percent leaf cover, which he said could explain the lower buck-to-doe ratio.
“And this year’s lower fawn production was expected based on the previous winter conditions, but it was still at a level able to support stable-to-increasing deer numbers, depending on the severity of the upcoming winter,” Stillings said.
The fall aerial survey, conducted specifically to study demographics, covers 24 study areas and 306.3 square miles in western North Dakota. Biologists also survey the same study areas in the spring of each year to determine deer abundance.
•Donate Deer to Sportsmen Against Hunger
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding deer hunters to keep in mind the Sportsmen Against Hunger program this fall.
While this year’s deer proclamation allows only one deer gun license per hunter, families with more than one license might want to consider donating a deer to this worthy cause. In addition, hunters with an archery and muzzleloader license can help as well.
The list of participating processors is available on the Community Action Partnership of North Dakota website, www.capnd.org.
Sportsmen Against Hunger is a charitable program that raises money for processing of donated goose and deer meat, and coordinates distribution of donated meat to food pantries in North Dakota. It is administered by CAPND, a nonprofit agency that serves low-income families across the state.
•Special Allocation Lottery Apps Due Jan. 1
Nonprofit organizations that are eligible to receive big game hunting licenses in 2018, must have the application submitted to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department no later than Jan. 1
Deputy director Scott Peterson said as a result of a legislatively mandated study, Game and Fish worked closely with the 2017 state legislature on a strategy to allocate special big game licenses for fundraising purposes.
“House Bill 1025 was a result of that effort,” Peterson said.
The bill provides direction for the Game and Fish director to allocate big game hunting licenses to eligible organizations. Under this directive, up to two elk, moose and pronghorn licenses, and 10 white-tailed deer licenses, can be issued to organizations, which can then use them for fundraising.
Eligible organizations must be exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(c)(3), and must provide a copy of the letter from the Internal Revenue Service to that effect. In addition, organizations must be active and in good standing in the office of the North Dakota Secretary of State.
Successful lottery applicants must agree to donate at least 10 percent of the net proceeds of any license raffle to a conservation-related project, such as hunting access, conservation education, habitat development and shooting range management.