The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has lowered the total number of deer licenses issued for 2009, but raised the number in the southwestern part of the state.
Deputy Director of the NDGF, Roger Rostvet said the deer hunting proclamation remains tentative as it awaits the governor's signature, but if it remains as currently written, overall permits will be lowered by about 5,000 to 144,400.
The hunting units taking a hit are mostly in the eastern and central parts of the state, with the southwest actually seeing an increase in licenses issued.
Along with an increase in licenses, the southwest will also see a special doe hunting season in units 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2 and 4F.
"Those are units, in general where we've raised the permits and in the past we've had a hard time selling all the does licenses," Rostvet said.
The special season will run from Oct. 2 until Oct. 9 and coincide with part of the antelope season. It will also coincide with the youth pheasant season, which was a subject of concern at the recent advisory board meeting held in Dickinson early this month.
Rostvet said it was definitely considered, but in the end, they determined there wouldn't be a great safety concern.
"The thing about it is we already have -- you know antelope season is going on at that particular time -- it was just one of those things, we considered it, but in the final outcome we decided to go with it that way," Rostvet said.
A similar season held in two northeastern units last fall saw only 10 percent of the doe harvest during the special time period, Rostvet said, adding that the usual low hunter density in the southwest also factored in their decision.
Mule deer licenses issued in 2009 will remain relatively unchanged with a few additional doe licenses issued.
Additionally, the 2009 season will see the introduction of 12-and-13-year-old hunters and apprenticeship hunters.
The 12-and-13-year-olds will be eligible for a statewide doe license to be filled during the youth deer season and the license will not affect their eligibility to participate in that season when they are 14- and 15-years-old.
According to Senate Bill 2165, which was recently passed by the North Dakota Legislature, an apprentice hunter is classified as anyone 16 years old or older who has not completed the hunter education course. The individual will have the opportunity to receive an apprentice hunter validation number from the NDGF -- good for one year.
After receiving the AHV, the individual can apply for a lottery deer license, but will not be issued any preference points if they do not draw a tag, Rostvet said.
"If they want to hunt, there's always doe tags available," Rostvet said.
Rostvet said the apprenticeship hunting is something the department is excited about.
"We think that it's proven to be a good recruiting tool in other states," Rostvet said "This is one where all the places it's been tried it has worked very successfully."