Just how brutal for northern plains wildlife were the winters of 2008-10? So bad that the number of deer tags available for North Dakota’s upcoming 2012 deer season is the lowest number since 1988.

From this story in the Bismarck Tribune:

The 2012 deer season has been set and will have the fewest licenses available since 1988. Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said a total of 65,300 licenses will be available this year, 44,650 fewer than last year. Two major changes for hunters this year will be no issuing of mule deer doe tags in the state’s Badlands units and no concurrent season.

“It is expected there will be very few, if any, licenses remaining after the initial lottery,” Kreil said. “Therefore, there is not a concurrent season this year.” Hunters will be able to draw one license for the deer gun season, one for the muzzleloader season and purchase an archery license, unlike past years when they were able to receive more than one license for the deer gun season. The state’s deer population is still rebounding from brutal winter conditions in 2008-10 that resulted in adult mortality and decreased births of fawns.

According to the story, a record 149,400 tags were issued in 2008, when hunter success rates were 70 to 75 percent, but low deer numbers caused success rates last year to plummet to around 52 percent. Do you expect to see something similar this fall in your state?