ND Deer Rifle Season Wraps Up - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

ND Deer Rifle Season Wraps Up

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Rifle season on deer came to an end today in North Dakota and numbers are still coming in on how successful a hunt it was. But one things for sure, less deer were tagged due to the limited hunt statewide. Valley News Live found out how some locals faired in the last day of the season.

At Casselton Cold Storage they're used to this time of year being the busy season. But this years deer harvest was limited, and so was business.

Owner Craig Halverson says in his 25 years in the biz, this is the slowest yet. Just six deer were brought in during our two hours there. Right now they've processed just 400 deer overall, compare that to a record setter two years back when he processed just over one thousand.

"A lot of hunters I talked to they're of course disappointed. There's not as many tags but to get the population back that's what it's going to take." Says Halverson.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department says even with last years mild winter, it was the three previous ones that effected deer populations.

Tyler Sjolic of Moorhead noticed that change on the Minnesota side, "last year was an easy one but the couple before that were rough."

It was especially rough for does, who have a hard time having and maintaining healthy fawns when they're stressed for three straight years.

Sjolic and his hunting party were surprised how things could change so drastically from one year to the next, "in our zone in Minnesota it went from being able to shoot five deer last year to being able to only shoot one deer between all three seasons."

The state of North Dakota issued about 45 thousand less tags this year compared to last and while in years past they'd likely have deer lined out the door back here at Casselton Cold Storage. The owner here says this year that's just not the case, "two years ago we had them, I mean there was probably 80 deer outside before we could even get them in. I mean there were just that many deer here and this year we may have had a dozen outside at one time."

So with deer processing down forty five percent here, and about 40 percent less tags out there. Many hunters and non-hunters might just have to look forward to next year.

North Dakota hunters had a success rate of just 51 percent last year. North Dakota Game and Fish says with fewer tags being issued this year they hope to see that statistic climb closer to 65 percent.

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