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Long Winter Could Impact UP Deer

The latest blast of wintry weather is taking its toll on Upper Michigan’s deer herd. The state’s DNR is concerned about the stressful impact the prolonged season will have on the whitetail population. Deer that were radio-collared as part of DNR studies have already suffered a thirteen-point-five percent mortality rate this winter. While the UP saw relatively little snowfall during the early part of winter, temperatures throughout April have remained low and snow totals for the month have been higher than average, leading to a lack of vegetation for the deer at a time when pregnant females and males developing antlers are already expending more energy. In many areas, the only snow-free grazing available is along the roadside, where deer are gathering and being struck by passing vehicles. Despite these concerns, DNR officials say the UP’s deer herd has improved overall over the past year. Deer observed in Delta and Menominee counties are said to appear in “good” condition.

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