Open seasonAs summer draws to a close, the push into the fall hunting season is right around the corner.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
As summer draws to a close, the push into the fall hunting season is right around the corner.
However, in the case of the western side of North Dakota, there’s a new aspect on the horizon — a vast increase of people to the area.
“With the oil activity going on, a lot of those guys are bow hunters too,” said Dickinson’s Loren Adams, North Dakota Bowhunters Association Area 5 representative. “I’d probably say there’s going to be as many bowhunters out there this year as there ever has been with all the new people. There will be plenty of pressure with the amount of deer that are out there.”
The North Dakota deer bow and mountain lion seasons start Friday. Hunters should expect a lower number of deer in the area for a variety of reasons, but hunting isn’t always about harvesting a deer.
“The success is to actually harvest the animal, but most of the fun is the work,” Dickinson resident Nathan Lynch said. “For me its exercise, I like to walk around and stalk mule deer, hanging tree stands, hanging up trail cameras and scouting the land. That’s the most fun. With landowners, you get to make new friendships and you get to see people you don’t see in the summer.”
Deer rifle season starts at noon on Nov. 9, but North Dakota Game and Fish Wildlife Assistant Chief Jeb Williams said there could be an increase with the archery season. North Dakota set deer licenses at 65,300, the lowest since 1988.
“It’s going to be interesting this year,” Williams said. “One of the things we are going to be curious about is being there’s going to be so many more people going without a rifle tag this year. Are we going to see a spike of archery licenses, simply because they can buy archery tags right over the counter?”
The main reason behind the drop in deer licenses has been the three harsh winters experienced during the 2008-10 seasons. Williams, who is from Beach, said this past winter has helped but it’s only a step in the right direction to get the deer population back on track.
However, one nice winter after three winters in a row, hunters aren’t going to see the immediate rebound of a deer population, he said.
“It’s going to take a little time. We could use just another nice winter, there’s no doubt about that.”
Other reasons were from Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease and the amount of traffic along the road during the fall.
“With the harsh winters and the disease that went through last year, the number significantly dropped,” Heart River boys basketball coach Greg Pruitt said. “A guy going through sees 20 to 30 deer now sees five to 10 deer a night.”
The archery season starts Friday and runs until Jan. 6. Last year, the number of archery tags sold to North Dakota residents was 18,000 and about 3,000 to non-residents. Hunters are still purchasing tags this year, so numbers are not available.
Mountain lion season
There are two areas for mountain lion hunting. Zone 1 is mainly western North Dakota and Zone 2 is the remainder of the state.
Mountain lions in Zone 1 have an early-season quota set at 14, while the late-season quota is seven. The early season starts Friday and ends Nov. 25 and the late season opens Nov. 26 to March 31. Zone 2 doesn’t have a quota and opens Friday and ends March 31.
“One of the things that will be interesting to see with the amount of mountain lions harvested last year, there was a large number of those that were breeding age females,” Williams said. “We will monitor to see if it does affect the reproductive population of mountain lions in western North Dakota.”