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Winter severity index
I am not seeing anything about the winter severity index? It doesn't look very good in Northern Wi.
Up until the last month or so, there were plenty of thaws and not many spots with deep snow. Not a whole lot of sub-zero nights, either. Last 4-6 weeks, different story. Always will be some mortality (those weakened by wounding, age, disease, rut, etc. first, plus late-born fawns; if not exposure/starvation, then predation). I'd bet the WSI numbers in most areas are still below average but if this cold continues well into April, definitely not a good thing for fawn recruitment.
Severe by me when I get back to property will post photos. They have. Stripped the tree worse in 27 years browse line is near six feet and no relief in sight
I was just wondering the same thing a few days ago. The snow is a good 2' deep in the woods around Hayward with some hard crust in some of it. The kind of stuff that a wolf could probably run on top of but not a deer. If it got warm soon and stayed warm I think we will be fine.
Last year I was vacuming up leafs a few days from now. What a difference,
Big Difference. But water levels should be higher for this spring melt which will hopefully make the walleye run better than last year and hopefully we won't have a drought like last year.
Yeah these last couple of storms are going to put a hurtin' on all the critters, hopefully they can hold on a couple more weeks!
I can't see how the turkeys can get much food. Nearly 20" of crusted snow in some parts of Dunn County. I know 2 years ago the DNR said the severity was only moderate at most and a lot of areas lost 50% of their turkeys. Getting worried about their survival. Also wondering how my 1st season bow hunt will be with all this snow to go by 4/10.
They had a polar plunge on Lake Hayward last weekend. Ice was 28 inches thick. That lake generally has thin ice because of darker color shallow water and a river running through it.
Round lake (the one by hayward) has a fair amount of slush on it and the snow is deep and pretty rough. No way you are running a truck on it.
I'd say we got more snow over the last month than we got the rest of this winter.
Jeff, +1, and that's the key. If we had deep snow in November and December or even much of January, many critters would be suffering. But we had a couple thaws in December and January, including rain. One the second week of January lasted a whole week, with temps in the 40s. Turkeys are tough critters. Only year I've ever seen them piled up in decent numbers was mid-90s, back-to-back very severe winters with lots of snow and very cold air. They'll eat just about anything.
Preacher, what species you targeting? Perch are closed right now but whitefish still abundant, esp. deep water. Some giant walleyes have been caught, not hot and heavy, but trophy potential for 8- to 11+-pounders on occasion. Not many pike or browns being reported but some locals are on them.
I email the the DNR to find out current Deer Winter Severity Index. At the end of February it was 22 in Rhinelander. Moderate is 50-80. Severe is 80-100. This is what I got back:
Dan Storm forwarded me your question about WSI, as I am in charge of maintaining the WSI records. The WSI station in Rhinelander has reported a WSI of 22 through the end of February, which is considered a “mild” winter. All other stations are also in the mild category as of the end of February. A few will likely be in the “moderate” category after the March data is entered, but I don’t expect we will see a lot of deer loss this year. Although it seems the ground hog was way off with his prediction this year, but I guess you never know what the weather is going to do around the Great Lakes.
I would have to say the WSI coming out of Rhinelander is correct. Deer, and most animals are not having any trouble in these parts. Yes there movements have been restricted some. Critters just dont move far when the snow is deep. I have not seen any sign of winter kill on the deer in these parts.
Overall I can tell you. There is not enough crust for a wolf to stay on top in most areas. yes maybe for short spurts in some spots. More so if they are walking, but if they are running forget about it. Coyotes are not even staying fully up when running. Same with our dogs. Yes they can stay up some, but then break through more than on top. Then there is a secondary crust down about 8-10". Real hard on running canines.
In fact we are most likely done hunting for the year now. Because the crust is so bad. Just tearing the dogs up!
Here are a couple of pics for you.
This first one is of our Squaw. She is maybe a 40lb dog soaking wet. Here you can see what the crusty snow did to her yesterday breaking through the crust.
Now these next ones are from a split race a few days ago. Thought our Tess dog lost her mind coming off the IR list. Other 3 dogs went one way, and her another. Well it seems a wolf was interested in waht was going on. Figures the smallest dog in the woods would go after the biggest one alone!! YES! 1 DOG CHASING A WOLF!!
In this pic you can see her at around 40lbs is staying up on the secondary crust. At least when she did not step in the wolf's track. Where the wolf would go all the way down, and she would get buried. Hence the snow camo you see.
These next 2 pics are just of the wolf's track when it hit the road. SO you can kind of see the size and shape of the track. You can see how the toes have a little longer shape to them. The GPS is about 6.25" long. So you get a good idea of the track size. Not a monster. Just an average WI wolf. I got a real good look at it. Would say around 75lbs.
Although the night will still have cold temps. Days are supposed to be mild the next week or so. So barring any major snowfalls. The deer should be just fine. Dont know about the turkeys. Dont see many of them around here in the winter.
Dang it! I forgot about the picture thing on this site! I will post them in order from above.
I was in the woods in northern Bayfield Co. this past weekend and struggled to scout a couple "easy" spots. The bad news is that there is still about 20"-24" inches of snow in the hardwoods/oak ridges. The good news is that deer were still accesses the oak ridges to paw for acorns that have adjacent wintering cover. The mast last fall in my area was amazing. I found tons of beds both up on the ridges and in the thicker winter bedding areas and well traveled trails heading to the ridges. Most importantly no sign of wolf despite a decent sized pack in the area. I also saw numerous deer around the Herbster area that looked in great shape. They are no doubt benefiting from some local feeding and some trimming that is being done along roads and power lines by crews.
Was in the woods this weekend coyote hunting. Still over 20"!inches out there. Made the mistake and left my snow shoes at home. Wasn't able to get back where I wanted. But tried calling them to me. With the crust they have no problem staying on top.
Amazing the difference a year makes. More snow and strong winds in many parts of the northwoods the past two days and nasty ice storms to the south. The snow in the woods will probably go about the time the ice on the lakes go...early May?! Any reports?
Right now is probably the worst it has been all winter for the deer. From a predation standpoint. Still as much as 2ft or more of snow in much of the woods up north here. But much of it is like concrete on top. Not enough to allow the hooved animals to stay up for the most part. But the predators sure as heck can for the most part. The deer seem to know this, and are sticking to the hard pack trails and such. Rather than them walking through my woods to the neighbors feeders. They are walking down the driveway. Then cutting across on the hard pack trail, and snowtrack.
See a lot them walking right down the side of the highway. To get to the few open spots along the highway as well.
Maybe the snow and ice will be gone by June up here. Yes it may curtail the spearing some. But many of us doubt that.
Naz MacBook's Link
John, a shame to lose that many but as you said, "abnormally high deer population" and sadly, some will say "we should feed them in winter" to prevent this without understanding carrying capacity.
More on the southern Door County dead deer, 20+, all but two of them fawns and after bone marrow testing it was determined that the animals died from starvation/exposure. Keep in mind that this area still has whitetails "unlimited" as evidenced by 100+ deer seen foraging in farm fields around that large section some evenings.
Naz MacBook's Link
Naz I read your article this morning in the Paper,In Northern Wi. its tough on deer, We have had as high as 22 hunters in our camp (Price co.) during gun season and now we are down to 7, Probably going to get smaller as most of us are in our upper years. When you see 2 or 3 deer over a 3 year period its pretty hard to shoot a doe or even see one. Up there 4 out of the last 5 winters have been tough and really knocked the herd down to the point where the predators will keep them to a bare minimum. Yet the DNR will issue thousands of doe tags when they should shut down the season. For some reason the snowshoe rabbits have all but dissappeaed and the coyotes,Bobcats,Fishers and wolves have to eat something. Winter in April and looks like May is a real killer for does as they are getting to a point of late term pregnancy. The unborn fawns grow really fast in the last month. When a large crew actually sees more predators than deer its a sad state. When I come home and hunt the ML season and late archery season I see tons of deer here in Waupaca Co.I have hunted up there since "53" and this is by far the worst its been. I don't believe too many deer up there Starve but get eatin???
Sorry to hear, lots of tales similar up north with camps breaking up since the '90s. Outside of areas of overpopulation such as appears to be the case in the article you mentioned, I'd guess much of the ag regions' whitetails weathered the winter in ok shape. Perhaps fawn recruitment will be negatively affected; that's a wild card. But bottom line, having the herd knocked back in a prolonged late green-up year is a good thing. Hundreds of thousands of whitetails died in the mid-90s up north from winter kill.
Fast forward to 2013, and I'd sure expect DNR to cut back sharply on the number of antlerless permits up north in regular units; wouldn't be surprised if there was a push for more bucks-only units by hunters in some additional areas, too. Maybe we'll hear some concerns at this week's Natural Resources Board meeting, where approving the statement of scope related to deer management, hunting, and implementation of the 2012 White-tailed Deer Trustee’s Report is among the agenda items.
Like I said earlier. With the crust it has to be the worst for predation on the deer all year. Even if it softens up where they may have some measure of safety. It seems they are still avoiding areas with deeper snow. May be due to the same type of injuries that our dogs get in the pic above.
They seem to be flocking to the areas along the roads that have opened up. Nothing green for them, but pawing at the ground. For the most part the only place I have seen any in the last couple weeks is along the highways in these spots.
One of my young dogs was protecting us from the evil deer yesterday. Watched them with her from the window for about 20mins. Working the end of my neighbors driveway around his bird feeders. Normally they would cross the highway, and hit up the houses behind me. Like most lately, they just retreated to the swamp behind his house. No fresh tracks crossing the highway in at least a week.