Wildlife populations could be impacted by cold, snowy winter

Wildlife populations could be impacted by cold, snowy winter

This year’s cold and snowy winter could impact wild animal populations in the Upper Peninsula.

The harsh winter can make it difficult for animals to find food and shelter.

The Department of Natural Resources said deer are one species that could see an impact on this winter, especially when it comes to antlerless deer hunting season.

“We definitely manage with adaptive management, so just because we’ve done something one way before doesn’t mean we will do it again,” DNR Deputy Public Information Officer Debbie Munson Badini said.  “One part of our deer management that is dependent on weather is our antlerless permits–our permits for does.  So each year we set different quotas based on how the population’s looking and going into the 2014 hunting season we would definitely predict we would see a much lower number of antler–less permits issued because we are going to see an overall reduction in the deer herd.”

But, there are some species that can benefit from the snowy weather, including the U.P.’s moose population.

“Ruffed grouse and snowshoe hare can benefit from the deep snow, so it’s not that it’s bad for all wildlife, it depends on that species,” Munson Badini said.  “Moose can actually benefit from the cold because it helps to kill off the ticks and parasites that can make them susceptible to other diseases.”

The DNR added there will not be any information on this year’s moose population until next year; moose counts are conducted every other year.