North Dakota deer gun hunters have 55% success rate during 2023 season, Game and Fish reports

Mar. 21—BISMARCK — A total of 45,927 North Dakota deer hunters shot an estimated 25,146 deer during the 2023 deer gun hunting season, the Game and Fish Department said Thursday, March 21, in reporting the results of its annual postseason hunter survey.

Game and Fish offered 53,400 deer gun licenses last year, and overall hunter success was 55%, the department said, with each hunter spending an average of 4.7 days in the field.

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 54%, and 51% for antlerless whitetails.

Mule deer buck success was 80%, and 78% for antlerless mule deer.

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 60%, while doe hunters had a success rate of 55%.

Game and Fish issued 12,188 gratis licenses in 2023, and 9,664 hunters shot 4,216 deer for a success rate of 44%.

The department issued 1,020 muzzleloader licenses, and 890 hunters shot 280 white-tailed deer — 140 antlered, 140 antlerless — for a success rate of 32%.

A total of 27,607 archery licenses (24,237 resident, 3,370 nonresident) were issued in 2023. In total, 22,608 bowhunters harvested 6,436 deer — 5,411 whitetails, 1,025 mule deer — for a success rate of 29%.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2024. 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.