With pronghorn numbers up 57 percent, North Dakota bulks up hunting opportunities
North Dakota’s 2018 pronghorn hunting season is set, with 1,075 licenses available in 10 open units.
Bruce Stillings, big game management supervisor for the state Game and Fish Department, said license numbers and open units are up from last year, when the department allocated 410 licenses and had five open units.
“Our recently completed aerial survey indicated the pronghorn population is up 57 percent from last year,” Stillings said. “A combination of milder winter conditions since 2010-11, closed seasons from 2010-13, and improved fawn production and survival since 2013 have resulted in the population reaching a level that is able to support a higher harvest this fall.”
Survey results indicate the fawn-to-doe ratio was 62 fawns per 100 does, which was lower than last year but equal to the long-term average. The buck-to-doe ratio of 45 bucks per 100 does was up from last year and above the population objective, Stillings said.
A total of 130 licenses are available in unit 1A, 75 in 2A, 65 in 2B, 30 in 3A, 115 in 3B, 325 in 4A, 50 in 4C, 75 in 5A, 140 in 6A and 70 in 7A. All licenses are valid for any pronghorn. Units 1A, 2A, 5A, 6A and 7A were closed to pronghorn hunting in 2017. In addition, in accordance with state law, five licenses are allocated to eligible organizations.
Each unit will once again have a season that is split into an early “bow-only” portion, and a later gun/bow season. The bow-only portion of the season is from noon Aug. 31 to Sept. 23. Anyone who draws a license can hunt pronghorn with a bow in the unit printed on the license. From Oct. 5 (noon) to Oct. 21, hunters who still have a valid license can use legal firearms or archery equipment, and again must stay in the assigned unit.
Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a 2018 pronghorn license. Hunters who have accumulated bonus points and choose not to apply this year will not lose their points, but will not accrue for next year. However, hunters who do not want a license in 2018 have the option to purchase a bonus point on the application.
Applicants can apply online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by calling 800-406-6409. Paper applications are not available. Applicants who do not have access to a computer may submit the application at a public service location such as a public library or stop at a Game and Fish office.
The pronghorn license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older, and $10 for under age 16. The deadline for submitting applications is Aug. 8.