Where Do The Deer Go, When It Starts To Snow?

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Where Do They Go, When It Starts To Snow?

Though many states don’t see snow during the winter, the same whitetail observations are typically occurring. Sightings are down. Whether the season is coming to a close or has already closed, the puzzling question remains, where do they go?

In many states, this is the coldest winter in decades. Though sporting a highly insulated coat, white-tailed deer expend a lot of energy throughout the winter in an attempt to keep their internal body temperature up. This requires a lot of calories, so if you are near standing beans or provide supplemental feed you will often see an entire herd come in awinter holidays compared to a handful in the fall. Though completely different on the temperature spectrum, whitetails nearly revert back to their original summer feeding, as long as it hasn’t been removed (i.e., corn and soybeans picked).

In order to reduce the amount of body heat they lose, deer will often seek out thermal cover to conserve heat. In the far North, this may be in the form of Spruce or fir trees, in the Midwest it could be cedars, and even in the Deep South it may be a 4-6 year old pine plantation. Research has also shown that Native Warm Season Grasses, which are bunch grasses, can provide adequate thermal cover in certain situations for deer.

However, even with all of the above going on, deer are still out there but you may not be seeing DSCN0164them like you “used to.” At this time of the year, deer numbers are very close to their annual low. All or most of the harvests have occurred. Some will be removed by vehicle collisions, disease, starvation, and post-rut stress, but in a few months fawns will begin to hit the ground in many areas and the herd will begin adding more members than it is losing. It’s easy to imagine why sightings decrease throughout the  On a management standpoint your focus should be on getting the current herd through the winter and into spring green-up. Unfortunately, aside from supplemental feeding, if you haven’t done this preparation yet it is a little too late. Though a late season food source and bedding may not benefit you much during the season, it can ultimately determine you success for next year. You can’t shoot what isn’t there!

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