Deer Hunter Success Spikes in 2020

NDG&F Release

A total of 58,146 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 39,322 deer during the 2020 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.


Game and Fish made available 68,650 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 68%, with each hunter spending an average of 4.8 days in the field. In 2019, Game and Fish made available 65,500 deer gun licenses and overall hunter success was just 64 percent.


Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 67%, and antlerless whitetail was 63%.


Mule deer buck success was 81%, and antlerless mule deer was 83%.


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 70%, while doe hunters had a success rate of 69%.


Game and Fish issued 12,130 gratis licenses in 2020, and 9,678 hunters harvested 5,612 deer, for a success rate of 58%.


A total of 1,276 muzzleloader licenses were issued, and 1,093 hunters harvested 481 white-tailed deer (234 antlered, 247 antlerless). Hunter success was 44%.


A total of 30,336 archery licenses (27,041 resident, 3,295 nonresident) were issued in 2020. In total, 26,420, bowhunters harvested 9,911 deer (9,058 whitetails, 853 mule deer), for a success rate of 38%.


The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2021. 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.

Featured Photo: 2020 Tag Punched. Hunters found more success during ND’s firearms deer season in 2020 than they did the prior year. Simonson Photo.

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