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N.D. Game and Fish sets deer management meetings

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled eight public meetings in February to discuss deer management in the state.

Department officials will present an overview of the current deer population and prospects for the future and look for input on possible options for changes in the way deer licenses are allocated.

"We're all aware that the state's whitetail and mule deer populations have declined considerably in recent years," said Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck. "In 2013 we had approximately 40,000 hunters who applied for a deer gun license and didn't get one. We're looking at some ideas that might help get more hunters in the field if deer populations remain similar to what they are now."

In the long term, Kreil said Game and Fish's strategy is to build deer numbers to a point that would provide a reasonable chance for anyone who wants to hunt to be able to get some kind of license.

"Right now we have a high public interest in deer hunting in North Dakota," he said. "We're hoping to come up with some solutions to help us maintain that."

Meetings, which will begin at 7 p.m. local time, are scheduled for the following North Dakota communities:

• Feb. 17: Devils Lake, Lake Region Community College Auditorium.

• Feb. 17: Casselton, City Fire Hall.

• Feb. 18: Dickinson, Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge.

• Feb. 18: Anamoose, Community Center.

• Feb. 24: Tioga, Farm Festival Building.

• Feb. 24: Fordville, Community Center.

• Feb. 25: Bismarck, North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

• Feb. 25: Jamestown, The Bunker.