BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Hunting- and fishing-related violations have increased dramatically in the heart of the western North Dakota oil patch.

Game and Fish Department data show that in 2009, there were 123 citations issued in McKenzie and Williams counties. Last year, there were 589.

The population in the region has soared as people from around the country flock there in search of jobs. But game warden chief Robert Timian says that’s not necessarily the only reason for the increase in violations.

There’s been a dramatic decline in the number of deer licenses available to hunters, due to recent harsh winters. Available licenses are at their lowest level in nearly 40 years — meaning tens of thousands of deer hunters can’t legally take to the field.

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