Wis. DNR asks public to report dead deer

A whitetail buck and doe. (Source: Wisconsin DNR/Herbert Lange)
A whitetail buck and doe. (Source: Wisconsin DNR/Herbert Lange)

TOWN OF BRUSSELS - The harsh winter we've been experiencing has wildlife officials concerned about the deer herd.

The DNR is asking people to report to them if they see any dead deer.

Cutting down three to four cedar trees a day, John May is being proactive in protecting the deer on his Town of Brussels land.

“I don't want to cut big openings or thin it out too much because this is what they call a thermal cap,” said May. “It's probably ten degrees warmer in the cedars because of the cover than it would be out in the hard woods.”

May is taking initiative after finding more than 20 dead deer last March between his property and his neighbors.

“And most of these were the young deer, the fawns from the previous year,” said May.

Wildlife officials say it's a few weeks away from when they typically start finding dead deer.

“But the question is, is the temperatures we're dealing with this year causing them to burn up their fat reserves faster than they would in a normal year,” said Jeff Pritzl, a DNR wildlife supervisor.

No matter the concern level, the DNR recommends you avoid providing extra food for deer, especially if its grain.

“To be honest there is as much of a downside as a potential upside and you can end up doing more harm than good by putting food out this time of the year, especially if they haven't been exposed to supplemental feeding all year long,” said Pritzl.

If winter continues at this pace, the DNR says it could affect next hunting season.

May prepared last season, taking down more antlerless deer than normal.

“Try to reduce the deer herd and make it easier for these deer to get through the winter as well as maybe get more growth back in some of these poplar areas and some of the hard woods,” said May.

As for the rest of winter, May says he'll continue to do what he can to keep the animals safe.

DNR officials say this winter could still be better on the deer than last year. They say it all depends on the weather in February and March.