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Game and Fish Department: Number of pronghorn too low for hunting

BISMARCK (AP) -- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is recommending that the pronghorn antelope hunting season stay closed after a survey shows the population is 20 lower than last year.

Big Game Supervisor Bruce Stillings in Dickinson said the population estimate has dropped to about 3,600 pronghorn.

In 2007, the population was estimated at 14,000 head. The last year North Dakota had a pronghorn season was 2009.

Stillings said three severe winters and weak fawn recruitment has left an aging population with few prime-aged breeding females.

The decline mirrors one in the late 1970s, when three consecutive harsh winters prompted Game and Fish to nix hunting for four years.

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