A total of 58,146 North Dakota deer hunters shot about 39,322 deer during the 2020 deer gun hunting season, the Game and Fish Department said this week in reporting the results of a post-season survey it conducted.

Game and Fish offered 68,650 deer gun licenses last year, and overall hunter success was 68%. Each hunter spent an average of 4.8 days in the field.


Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 67%, and antlerless whitetail was 63%.

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Mule deer buck success was 81%, and antlerless mule deer was 83%.

In a news release, the department said hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses generally kill white-tailed deer, as the licenses are predominantly in units with mostly whitetails. Buck hunters had a success rate of 70%, while doe hunters had a success rate of 69%.

Game and Fish issued 12,130 gratis licenses in 2020, and 9,678 hunters harvested 5,612 deer, for a success rate of 58%.

A total of 1,276 muzzleloader licenses were issued, and 1,093 hunters harvested 481 white-tailed deer – 234 antlered and 247 antlerless – for a success rate of 44%.

The department issued 30,336 archery licenses – 27,041 resident and 3,295 nonresident – in 2020. In total, 26,420, bowhunters harvested 9,911 deer – 9,058 whitetails, 853 mule deer – for a success rate of 38%.

Game and Fish is in the process of determining deer gun license recommendations for 2021. In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, department staff monitor other population indices to determine license numbers, including depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

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