Hunting, Hunting Game

Cold Weather Deer Concerns With Recent Low Temps

Cold Weather Deer Concerns With Recent Low Temps

The latest spell of cold weather is causing deer concerns in the northern US.

Minnesota hunters and biologists are looking at the record low temperatures and accumulating snowfall as potential factors in what could be a higher than normal mortality rate for deer, according to Inforum.com.

Heavy snowfall throughout Minnesota — including 8 to 18 inches in the state’s entire northwest region — is threatening the state’s deer herd populations, along with their food supply.

Arctic weather from Canada has created what’s known as a polar vortex, bringing a burst of very cold, very dense air shown by the Weatherbell.com graphic below:

500_mb_Mon_night

Not only has the cold weather threatened the well-being of the herd, it has also stopped hunters from braving the subzero temperatures. When midday temps barely reach zero degrees, it’s hard to imagine trudging through a foot of snow in the wind to climb to a treestand in the early morning hours. As a result, harvest numbers could be a lot lower than recent years.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has stated that earlier cold weather was a major factor in low preliminary harvest numbers. WDIO in Wisconsin published an AP story in which Wildlife Program Director Tom Hauge said that “cold temperatures on opening weekend forced hunters out of the woods, setting the tone for the rest of the hunt.”

Deer are also more likely to be on the move in such extreme temperatures, driving many to roadways where they pose a danger to drivers.

When the winter season is all said and done, it will be interesting to see how the cold affected deer herds and hunting overall. We’ll keep an eye on the story as it develops.

Of course, if ice fishing is your thing, you’re in luck.

Have any of you braved the cold to hunt this season? What was the coldest temperature you sat through, and did it affect your success? The person who comments with the lowest temperature (on the honor system, so don’t stretch the truth) will win some Wide Open Spaces prizes.

Comments with your temperature need to be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, on Thursday, January 9, 2014. No purchase necessary, and only one entry per commenter is allowed. The winning comment will be chosen by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, January 10, 2014 and the winner will be contacted through the Livefyre comment platform.

About Eric Pickhartz

Eric Pickhartz is the Managing Editor at Wide Open Spaces, bringing a mix of outdoors enthusiasm and a journalism background to the site's content on a daily basis. His fishing experience began at a young age on Minnesota lakes, both frozen and thawed, and he has since used seasonal hunts and fishing trips as an excuse to become a better writer and editor. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, son and Chocolate Lab.