Spring Snow Puts Stress on Northland Deer

By KBJR News 1

April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 25, 2013 at 6:22 PM CDT

Brule, WI (NNCNOW.com)-- The long-lasting snow, in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, could take a toll on the deer population.

It's not clear the extent of the possible damage at this point, but experts predict the unusual April snowfall could cause serious starvation in coming weeks.

Department of Natural Resources officials in Wisconsin and Minnesota say the deep snow makes it very hard for the deer to get around.

"They have to move around quite a bit to fill up and in this deep snow, if anybody has tried walking around in it, it takes a little bit more energy," said Minnesota DNR Area Wildlife Manager Chris Balzer.

While the winter months typically cause a decrease in the deer population, the experts say this unusual winter could result in higher than normal mortality rate.

"They can't get to their food and mobility is an issue when you have 20 to 25 inches of snow for a week or two it takes a lot of energy to move around," said Wisconsin DNR Wildlife Biologist Greg Kessler. "Some of the deer do look pretty thin. You can see hip bones and things like that. Those deer, if they can forage right away, they'll do really well. If we see another snow storm like this, we probably would see a significant loss."

The Minnesota DNR predicts average mortality rates in St. Louis, Pine, and Carlton counties, with a higher death rate the Iron Range and farther north.

Zach Vavricka

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