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How have the deer been impacted this winter? DNR uses metric to help track population

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – Temperatures continue to run well above normal this week in Northeast Wisconsin as we march towards spring. This is following an up and down winter so far, but how did this winter effect the deer population? 

Daniel Storm, a deer research scientist at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), says, “We do expect the deer out there to generally be in good shape.”

The Wisconsin DNR uses a metric called the ‘winter severity index‘ to help keep track of deer statistics in our state. 

What are the parameters to this index?

Storm states that the index “is the number of days from December through April that our where the low temperature is zero degrees or below. Plus the number of days in that same period where the snow depth is 18 inches or above”

Green Bay itself had 0 days with snow depth at 18 inches. Only 16 days had temperatures drop below zero from December to February, with the majority of those coming in February.  

For more Science Course with Ryan Morse, click below

Winter is nearing the end, but it is not over yet. The DNR keeps track of this metric through April with all signs pointing to this winter finishing in the mild category. A mild winter doesn’t bring much over winter mortality.

Since the severe 2013-14 winter, Wisconsin has generally had mild and moderate winters which has allowed the deer population to bounce back. 

Younger deer that are going through their first year of life are the ones most vulnerable to a severe winter.

Spring is close but remember the last decade we have averaged 15 inches of snow in March and April.

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