The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated production in 2014 bodes well for the future.

Biologists counted 1,969 (1,761 in 2013) mule deer in the aerial survey in October. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.50 (0.46 in 2013) was slightly above the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.95 (0.74 in 2013) was the highest since 1999, and above the long-term average of 0.90 fawns per doe.

“Overall, this year’s fawn production is very encouraging, and with average-to-good survival should result in another increase in the spring,” said Bruce Stillings, big game management supervisor, Dickinson.

While it is encouraging to see mule deer numbers increase for the short-term, Stillings said challenges remain for continued population growth, including changes in habitat quality due to fragmentation and disturbance, predators and weather.

The fall aerial survey, conducted specifically to study demographics, covers 24 study areas and 306.3 square miles in western North Dakota. Biologists survey the same study areas in the spring of each year to determine population abundance.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated production in 2014 bodes well for the future. Biologists counted 1,969 (1,761 in 2013) mule deer in the aerial survey in October. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.50 (0.46 in 2013) was slightly above the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.95 (0.74 in 2013) was the highest since 1999, and above the long-term average of 0.90 fawns per doe. “Overall, this year’s fawn production is very encouraging, and with average-to-good survival should result in another increase in the spring,” said Bruce Stillings, big game management supervisor, Dickinson. While it is encouraging to see mule deer numbers increase for the short-term, Stillings said challenges remain for continued population growth, including changes in habitat quality due to fragmentation and disturbance, predators and weather. The fall aerial survey, conducted specifically to study demographics, covers 24 study areas and 306.3 square miles in western North Dakota. Biologists survey the same study areas in the spring of each year to determine population abundance.