Brutal cold could affect deer herds - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Brutal cold could affect deer herds

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Lincoln County (WAOW) - Our colder than average is taking a toll on wildlife. Some landowners say they're seeing that firsthand.

The DNR is monitoring snow depth and temperature.

They say those numbers could affect wildlife populations in the months to come.

Lincoln County hunter tony Dallman noticed something different on his hunting land this year.

"Normally I see quite a few turkeys," said Dallman. "A few deer tracks. There's usually some that hang around as long as they can scratch down in the fields and get some food to eat. But this year the snow got too deep too fast and they just seem to move out early."  

DNR biologists say the winter is really impacting the Northwoods.

"It looks like the further north you go in the state, the more severe this winter is going to be just because of the deeper snowfall that they've had as well as the cooler temperatures," said Cortney Schaefer a DNR Wildlife Biologist.

That could affect deer herds.

"The severity of the winter is something that every winter is going to take a few deer and turkey out of out population so it is part of the natural cycle," Schaefer said. "However, this is a little more severe than most."

Biologists say other species are in danger too.

"We've seen a lot of reports of migrating water foul that have come up from the south and they're already perishing because there's not food here," said Schaefer.

But Dallman and other hunters are optimistic the deer at least will bounce back.

"I'm sure they'll be around. They're built to withstand weather like this. They've done it for thousands of years," he said.

The department of natural resources continues to monitor this winter's impact, and hope to understand the full effects, in the next couple of months.

Some people may want to feed the deer thinking it will help them survive but baiting and feeding is illegal in some counties throughout the state.

Instead, the DNR says if you want to help you should create a shelter for the deer to stay warm.

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