Snowy winter may prove problematic for deer population
Although early winter snow in the Upper Peninsula was fairly mild, late season snowfall brought the total above average and has carried well into the spring season.
This year's snowfall is challenging deer in the area, resulting in expected lower survival and fawn recruitment rates than the last few years.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, mild winters, such as the one's experienced in the last few years, provide good conditions for over-winter survival and and allow pregnant does to produce healthier fawns.
Harsher winters, like this past winter, restrict deer movement and challenge energy reserves, the DNR says, resulting in lower survival rates and added stress on pregnant does.
Biologists anticipate negative impacts to the deer herd when winter conditions persist for longer than three months. Deer in the Upper Peninsula are showing visible signs of winter fatigue, including thin body conditions and lethargic behavior.
The DNR says biologists have already received reports of deer deaths, and additional reports are anticipated in the coming weeks.
Biologists are expecting that the population growth will be slowed this year.