We’ve had about 5 to 6 feet of snow here in northern Southeast. It’s been a tough year for deer, but a gravy train for deer hunters. At least alot of deer hunters, me excluded. When the snow piles up in the woods, the deer are forced to the beach to escape the deep snow and also to find a food source in kelp, as much of their browse inland is buried.
With a number of mild winters, deer populations grew. A big snow winter like this really wacks the population. It also makes a boon for deer hunting, which is now just a matter of cruising the beaches in a boat in search of deer. To be legal, you have to beach the boat before shooting. The parking lots at the launch ramps were full, as everyone and his brother was out for the easy pickins’.
The snow is melting now. We were out in the woods hunting this weekend, and the snow was still up to your butt in places, so it’s still pretty tough going. If more doesn’t melt off, it will likely be a big deer winter kill this season, even with a higher hunter harvest. I’m sure the ecosystem here cycles around the deer in some way. The carcases will provide food for the eagles, ravens, crows, mink, marten, wolves, and bears when they wake up in the spring, and I’m sure they’ll populations will increase as a result.
We were out hunting on Sat., and it sounded similar to opening day of deer gun season back in upstate NY. We heard shots all day. My partner got a deer where we were hunting back up in the woods. I didn’t see a deer, but did manage to wrench my knee in the deep snow, and now am out of commission for awhile. Pretty tough going in the woods, and I sure don’t envy the deer.
– Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
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