North Dakota mule deer are healthy and stable. Last month, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGFD) completed its annual spring mule deer survey, counting 2,671 mule deer in 306.3 square miles, according to the agency. The results show that the general population is holding steady and, in fact, 21% above the long-term average.
This is encouraging news, particularly with “current mule deer densities across the badlands,” said Bruce Stillings, NDGFD big game management supervisor; however, because of the existing drought conditions, biologists are keeping an eye on fawn recruitment.
“[W]e are concerned that mule deer are beginning the summer with poor rangeland conditions due to the extreme drought across the western part of the state, which could negatively affect fawn survival,” said Stillings.
NDGFD uses the annual spring survey to determine “mule deer abundance in the badlands.” The aerial surveys have been conducted annually for the same 24 study areas since the 1950s.