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North Dakota Game and Fish to offer license refunds to hunters in units with high EHD deer mortality

Hunters with antlered whitetail, antlerless whitetail, any antlered and any antlerless licenses are eligible for refunds in units 2H, 2I, 2J1, 2K1, 3A1, 3A3, 3B1, 3B2, 3B3, 3C, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.

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White-tailed deer are most susceptible to epizootic hemorrhagic disease, known as EHD, for short, and transmitted by a biting midge. (Contributed/ North Dakota Game and Fish Department)
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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is offering hunters with whitetail or “any” deer gun licenses in several units in western North Dakota the option of turning those licenses in for refunds, the department said Wednesday.

Casey Anderson, wildlife chief, said the decision is based on continuing reports of white-tailed deer mortality caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, and evidence of moderate to significant deer losses in some areas that might affect hunting success in those locations. The first confirmed EHD report occurred in early August.

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Casey Anderson, wildlife division chief, North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Contributed/ North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Hunters with antlered whitetail, antlerless whitetail, any antlered and any antlerless licenses are eligible for refunds in units 2H, 2I, 2J1, 2K1, 3A1, 3A3, 3B1, 3B2, 3B3, 3C, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. Hunters who return their licenses will have their bonus points restored, if applicable, to the same number of points prior to the 2021 deer gun lottery.

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North Dakota deer gun hunting units. (North Dakota Game and Fish Department)
Contributed / North Dakota Game and Fish Department

“Compared to previous years, a much larger portion of the state seems to be affected,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, substantial mortality has been documented in some areas.”

Game and Fish made license refunds an option for hunters in 2020 because of an EHD outbreak in limited units.

Department staff will continue to monitor reports to determine if licenses in additional units should become eligible for refunds because of the EHD outbreak. Hunters and landowners should report any dead deer along with photos, if possible, to the department through the online wildlife mortality reporting system, at gf.nd.gov/mortality-report.

Before deciding to turn in a license, hunters should make local contacts to find out the extent of mortality in their hunting unit, Anderson said.

“Consistent with previous EHD outbreaks, the impact can at times be severe in localized areas, while other areas within the unit have little to no impact and a good deer harvest may still be needed,” he said.

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License holders who qualify and want a refund must mail their tag, along with a note requesting a refund due to EHD, to the Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office no later than Thursday, Nov. 4. Envelopes postmarked Nov. 4 will be accepted.
EHD, a naturally occurring virus that is spread by a biting midge, is often fatal to infected white-tailed deer, while mule deer do not usually die from the disease. Hunters do not have to worry about handling or consuming meat from infected deer because the virus that causes EHD is not known to cause disease in humans. In addition, the first series of hard frosts typically kills the midge that transmits the EHD virus and will slow or halt the spread of the disease.

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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