BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota has issued 54,500 deer gun licenses in anticipation for the 2017 deer season.

The state has seen an uptick in licenses since 2015 after sliding in 2007, the Bismarck Tribune reported . Jeb Williams, wildlife division chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the prospects for hunting are decent all around this year.

Williams said this year's drought didn't have an impact on the state's deer, but that epizootic hemorrhagic disease did affect some white-tailed deer in the southwestern part of the state.

Williams said that hunters saw a nearly 70 percent success rate while hunting last year. He said that's a good indicator of opportunity for this year.

"That's always our goal when we issue licenses: Does somebody have a reasonable opportunity at harvesting a deer?" he said

Michael Schulz is among the hunters getting ready for the deer gun season, which starts Friday. He said he's hearing mixed reviews about what to expect, but that he's hoping for a successful hunt.

"Hopefully, it goes good, and, hopefully, we can shoot some deer and get some meat and shoot the one that can go on the wall," Schulz said.

Shultz said he's had success in the past two years with doe tags near Hettinger. He hunts with friends on private and state land while hunting deer and pheasants.

"We haven't had too much trouble filling our tags the last few years," he said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com