Much of North Dakota's wildlife is experiencing a decrease in numbers resulting in fewer hunting licenses available this year.

Mule and white-tailed deer numbers have dropped significantly since the population boom in 2008. At one time there were so many deer that hunting limits were much more lenient because farmers, landowners and motorists were complaining.

With low numbers, game officials are giving out 11,500 fewer hunting licenses this season. At one point in time there were 150,000 licenses available but now there are only 48,500. Both deer species are expected to decline because of loss of habitat.

Pronghorn, often mistaken for antelope, have also taken a hit in numbers since 2008. The species strives on large grasslands and mild winters, which have been lacking in North Dakota. However, pronghorn hunting will be allowed this fall with a limited number of 250 licenses.

Other wildlife struggling from the harsh winters, energy development and loss of conservation acres have resulted in no hunting season. Sage grouse are at a record low with only 31 males recorded. Currently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering marking the sage grouse as an endangered species.

If you have any questions, make sure you check with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department before hunting season.

[Jamestown Sun]