(Bismarck, ND) -- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department says the Mule Deer population is falling behind due to historic blizzards and "extreme" winter conditions.
Officials say the population of Mule deer across Western North Dakota fell by 29% compared to last year. In comparison, the number is 5% lower than the long-term average. Experts say this is because of the heavy snowfall totals and brutal winter conditions that produced nearly 40-inches of snow, high winds, and low temperatures.
Experts counted a total of 1,994 mule deer in a 286.3 square mile area for this year's survey, amounting to a density in the badlands to approximately 7.0 deer per square mile. In a survey conducted in October, biologists counted 1,116 Mule Deer through an aerial survey and calculated the ratios between bucks, does, and fawns. These ratios are 69 fawns per 100 does, which is higher than 2021 (60/100) but below the long-term average (87/100). The ratio is mostly consistent for adults, with an estimated 40 bucks per 100 does showing similar results to 2021 (38/100) and long-term numbers (43/100).