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Mule deer population rebounds in western ND

Mule deer

(Photo courtesy N.D. Game and Fish)
Mule deer (Photo courtesy N.D. Game and Fish)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- A spring survey has concluded that western North Dakota's mule deer population has increased 19 percent from last year.

But the state Game and Fish Department says it will once again ban hunting of antlerless mule deer this year.

Big game supervisor Bruce Stillings says mule deer numbers are headed in the right direction, but the hunting restriction is needed to further the population growth. He says there are still long-term challenges facing mule deer in the badlands, such as below-normal fawn production.

Stillings says the over-the-year increase in the mule deer population is due to less-severe winters the past couple of years, no hunting of antlerless deer in 2012 and 2013, and improved fawn production.