Deer health in cold temps

VANDAL

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
308
As stated in other posts E Idaho is getting some extremely cold temps. -17 yesterday, -12 this morning.

I went out yesterday and the deer still look in good shape. I saw a lot of does, 17 bucks, but nothing over 170. No shed bucks but I did see a bull moose that had dropped.

My question is...how much do you think this cold weather affects the deer? There's not much snow and little crust so accessing food is not a problem. Last winter we had similiar snow but much warmer....our lowest low was -1 and our fawn survival rate was >85%. If it stay's dry and cold could we get similiar results or is this cold weather taking its toll on their fat reserves?
 

Nick Muche

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Mar 21, 2012
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3,546
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Alaska
Personally, I don't think it is the cold weather as much as the time period the cold weather lasts. Here in Mountain Home, my observations on the wintering deer have been something like I have never seen before. They deer are acting VERY confused, running all over the place and they are not being pressured by shed hunters yet. I think that type of behavior will have more impact than just the cold. There is plenty of feed where I have been scouting for shed season, but I keep plenty of distance and just let my spotter do the work. What really stinks is that in another 2 weeks, those areas will be covered in people looking for sheds and chasing the deer all over. I think the cold weather for a long period is what will be hard on them, still, it's been cold as heck as of late!

There seems to be a pretty good/thick layer of crust or even ice in some spots over here.
 

Tdiesel

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May 16, 2012
Messages
123
Location
Colorado
I somewhat agree with nick one or two nights here and there don't seem to really bother the deer but extended periods of bitter cold really takes its toll even if they can get to food relatively easy. They are burning so many calories to stay warm they can't hardly replenish it fast enough with the dry winter feed they need more calories than the dry grass is giving them even if they have thier belly full. its like you eating two pounds of celery you will feel full but you use more calories chewing a stick than you get out of that stick. our cattle have plenty of grazing left in the fields but we have to start feeding them when its -20 + just so they stay healthy and don't abort their calves. the alfalfa we feed has much better feed value and helps them go better. sometimes locals around even feed a little for the deer here and there so we don't have a complete die off at least we hope it helps
 

robby denning

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Feb 25, 2012
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11,354
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SE Idaho
I agree with what's stated above but will add this: Like most things, it's usually a combination of factors that cause problems. Cold alone, they can handle; deep snow alone they can handle; when they combine for a long period of time = trouble.

I'd expect fawn survival to be less than last year but above normal, so far. We'll know more come late March.
 
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