Survey shows North Dakota mule deer numbers holding steady


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A fall survey indicates the mule deer population continues to recover in the western North Dakota Badlands thanks to another good year of fawn production.

Mule deer in the region endured three straight harsh winters ending in 2011 that led to record-low fawn production.

The Bismarck Tribune reported Thursday that biologists counted 2,218 mule deer during the October survey, close to last year’s 2,446. The ratios of 41 bucks per 100 does and 84 fawns per 100 does also held steady.

State Wildlife Chief Jeb Williams says the stable numbers are encouraging even though they don’t represent an increase.

Hunting mule deer does was banned for four straight seasons beginning in 2012 to help the population recover.

North Dakota’s gun season for mule and white-tailed deer opens at noon Friday.