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Due to the hard winter, hunters will have even fewer opportunities during the ND pronghorn hunting season in 2023



Bismarck, North Dakota – The yearly aerial survey for pronghorns was just finished by big game biologists from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Compared to the 2022 season, the 2023 pronghorn hunting season will offer significantly less opportunities for hunters.

“In 2022, we had just over 1,900, I believe. And then in 2023, we’re at about 420. So a major decline in licenses,” said Bruce Stillings, North Dakota Game and Fish big game supervisor.

The fact that pronghorn populations declined during this year’s airborne survey comes as no great surprise.

“The winter of 2022-23 is going to go down as being one of those historic winters. Anybody that’s been following pronghorn populations over time knows when we get those extreme winters, it’s not good for deer and especially not good for pronghorn, and that’s exactly what we saw this past summer doing our surveys,” said Stillings.

The airborne study this year found a 40% decrease in pronghorn populations overall in North Dakota.

“Pronghorn farther north didn’t do as well as pronghorn down south. North of the Missouri River, pronghorn were down 60%. The northern badlands, north of Medora, as a whole, were down 53%. South of Medora, in the southern Badlands, down 31%. And then Bowman area, in the extreme southwest, down 15%,” said Stillings.

Despite the decline in numbers, each hunting unit had pockets with a healthy quantity of animals, according to Stillings. To turn this population around, though, will require Mother Nature’s assistance as well as favorable habitat circumstances.

“So, this summer, we have great habitat conditions. Pastures look great, hay fields look great, crops look great, stock dams are full. So the resources available this summer going into the winter are very good,” said Stillings.

For this year’s season, eight of the 17 pronghorn hunting units will be accessible.