North Dakota pronghorn numbers look to have dropped this winter. Hunters in North Dakota may face a challenging antelope season this year as the state’s Game and Fish Department has expressed concerns about the declining pronghorn population. The department recently initiated an aerial survey to assess the abundance of pronghorn in western North Dakota. This survey aims to determine the number of bucks and does that survived the winter and the number of fawns born.
Although the survey will take approximately two weeks to complete, Game and Fish supervisors have already admitted that the antelope numbers will likely be lower this year. This decline in the pronghorn population is alarming considering that the Game and Fish Department has not had to cancel the pronghorn season for over a decade.
Bad Winters and Population Loss
Last year marked a significant milestone for the department as they were finally able to open up all units in the state for antelope hunting. However, after one particularly harsh winter, wildlife experts are concerned about the impact on the pronghorn population.
“We were finally able to expand to the entire state last year, so it took a long time for us to get back to that point. Now, after one bad winter, we’ll see how much of a hit we take.” – Bill Haase, the Assistant Wildlife Division Chief at NDGF
The antelope season in North Dakota is currently scheduled to open on Friday, October 6. However, there is a related concern for deer hunters as well. This fall, North Dakota will have 10,000 fewer deer tags available, signaling a potential decrease in deer population as well.
The declining numbers of pronghorn and deer in North Dakota show how one really bad winter can derail a decade of good stewardship. It is crucial to monitor and manage these populations to ensure their long-term survival and maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem. You can read more about these numbers by clicking here. Likewise, you can read more North Dakota hunting news by clicking here.