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Published November 08, 2013, 08:49 AM

North Dakota deer gun hunting season gets under way

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Tens of thousands of deer hunters are taking to the fields of North Dakota -- but the bigger story might be how many are staying home.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Tens of thousands of deer hunters are taking to the fields of North Dakota -- but the bigger story might be how many are staying home.

The state's deer gun season opens at noon and runs through Nov. 24. The state's deer population has declined dramatically in less than a decade's time due to harsh winters, leading to a 30-year low in available licenses this year.

About 40,000 hunters tried but failed to get a license. But for the 59,500 who did get one, Game and Fish Wildlife Chief Randy Kreil says it should be a good season with mostly favorable weather.

There is some rain and snow in the forecast opening day, but Kreil says the longer-term forecast doesn't call for any big weather systems that would hamper hunting.

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