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Mule deer populations increase in western ND

North Dakota’s mule deer production is higher this year than it was last year, according to a survey by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Biologists counted 1,761 mule deer in the aerial survey in October, an increase from 1,224 in 2012.

The buck-to-doe ratio of .46 was higher than .37 in 2012 and is similar to the long-term average of .43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of .74 was the highest since 2009, but still below the long-term average of .91 fawns per doe.

Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor in Dickinson, said the combination of no antlerless harvest and milder winter conditions over much of mule deer range in 2011 and 2012 has provided conditions needed to begin mule deer population recovery in the Badlands.

“In addition, substantial rainfall this spring provided much improved habitat conditions for fawning this year compared to 2012,” Stillings said.

Stillings said while it is encouraging to see mule deer numbers increase for the short-term, 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.

N.D. Game and Fish

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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