Skip Navigation
MI.gov
michigan.gov
Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange. Find out more about Nolan... Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange. Find out more about Johslin... Raise hope and foster dreams. Become a foster parent - call 888-335-3882 Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange. Find out more about Shilo... Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange. Find out more about Undray... Raise hope and foster dreams. Become a foster parent - call 888-335-3882
close print view
Printer Friendly Page
Email this Page
Share this Link on Facebook
Tweet this page on Twitter!

Heavy late-winter snow will challenge Upper Peninsula deer population

Contact: Terry Minzey, 906-228-6561 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

April 22, 2013

Although early winter snow in Michigan's Upper Peninsula was mild compared to the past few years, precipitation late in the season resulted in above-average snow depths that are continuing well into spring. These conditions are challenging deer in the region, and are expected to lead to lower survival and fawn recruitment rates than seen during the last few years.

Winter conditions are a significant factor for the U.P.'s deer herd. Mild winters, such as those experienced from 2010-2012, provide favorable conditions for over-winter survival and allow pregnant does to produce healthy fawns. Harsher winters with deep snows restrict movement and challenge energy reserves. Those conditions affect survival rates, particularly for deer living in harsher conditions, and put additional stress on pregnant does.

Due to the importance of winter conditions for Michigan's deer population, weekly snow depth measurements are taken at various U.P. stations throughout the winter. This year, snow depths through January were below average, suggesting that winter may be mild once again. However, heavy precipitation in February and March left deep snows across the peninsula. Those conditions have extended well into April.

Biologists anticipate negative impacts to the deer herd when winter conditions persist longer than three months. Because of the heavy late-winter snowfall, U.P. deer are showing visible signs of winter fatigue, including thin body conditions and lethargic behavior. Biologists have already received reports of deer mortalities. Additional reports are anticipated in the coming weeks.

Population indices indicate that the deer population across the region experienced a low in 2009 following two consecutive harsh winters. The population has since been increasing. Although it is too early to determine the full impact of this year's winter, biologists expect population growth will at least slow this year given the conditions.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

QR code



Copyright © 2001-2014 State of Michigan