The Department of Natural Resources says that the extended winter could challenge Upper Michigan's deer population.
According to the DNR, winter conditions are a significant factor for the Upper Peninsula deer herd, and fawn survival rates could be impacted by this late winter weather. The mild winters over the last couple years have allowed pregnant does to produce healthier fawns, but late season deep snows are providing harsh conditions that could stress the deer.
The DNR measures snow depths weekly in various parts of the Upper Peninsula, and this year's February and March snowfall left deep snow across the U.P. DNR biologists anticipate a negative impact to the deer herd when winter conditions last longer than three months, and they say deer are showing visible signs of fatigue in the deer herd. The DNR says that some biologists have already received reports of deer mortalities, and additional reports are expected in the coming weeks.
The Department of Natural Resources says it is too early to determine how much impact this winter will have but expect the population growth to, at least, slow this year as an outcome.