How was the 2015 winter where you live and hunt, and how did that impact the deer? Our friend Kim sent this report from northwest Wisconsin:
The winter of 2014-15 was almost mild, and 2015-16 was beyond mild, mid-60s some days in February. Great news for the deer population, a very stress free winter.
I saw a lot of 1- and 2-year-old bucks that still had their antlers as of February 19th. Does look very healthy, with fawning a couple months away. Two fawn bucks from last spring that I have been seeing are already large for their age group, both with buttons the diameter of a quarter on their heads.
Average snow depth this winter for my area was 8 to 10 inches. This kept most of the wolves farther north to take advantage of the deeper snow in the lake-effect snow areas nearer to Lake Superior. I had no wolves this winter on any trail cameras. During the winter of 2013-14, we had a lot of snow, I had wolves almost weekly coming through on my cameras.
The lower snow levels allowed for the deer to dig and reach acorns, which fell abundantly last fall (previous years this did not happen). Turkeys have also been around, as they could get to the acorns too. I saw more grouse this winter. So all the game benefited from the mild winter.
As for the owls, the resident Great Grey and the Barred seemed to have moved on, likely to areas with deeper snow, just as the wolf, to find their prey.—Kim R.
Thanks Kim for a great update. After the last 2 mild winters it should be a great rack year for most of Wisconsin this fall…maybe time for me to head back up there…
Bloggers, please send me a report and update from your neck of the woods so we can start to forecast the 2016-17 hunting season.