BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's annual fall mule deer survey indicated production this year was higher than in 2012.

Biologists counted 1,761 mule deer in the aerial survey last month, compared to 1,224 last year. That's an increase of 44 percent.

The buck-to-doe ratio was similar to the long-term average. The fawn-to-doe ratio was below the long-term average but still the highest since 2009.

Big game supervisor Bruce Stillings says the combination of no hunting of antlerless mule deer and milder winter conditions over much of mule deer range in 2011 and 2012 have boosted mule deer population recovery in the badlands. He says plentiful rain last spring also improved habitat conditions for fawning.