The good news about this April is that it feels like April. People and animals alike are appearing outside in greater numbers; the deep freeze is over (we hope).
The DNR and its controversial deer feeding program are also adjusting for the changing season. It’s ending this Saturday. With the melting snow the deer can at last get to the vegetation and seeds they need until the fresh buds of spring are available.
The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association reports that volunteers supplied 15,000 deer a week with food at over 1,000 feeding sites in the 13 zones (areas approved by the DNR because of vulnerable deer populations). This effort was performed with just under a thousand volunteers and several clubs (including a snowmobile club for the delivery).
The success of the feeding will not be fully calculated until summer; much of the state may have indeed suffered a large winter-kill of starved deer.
Winter has been tough on other animals as well. I’ve personally heard a story from a woodsman about several dead coyotes; he speculated that the snow was too deep for them to catch the rodents which sustain them through winter.
I just hope the woods aren’t too empty by the time I get up there!
Photos via: USFWS (Craig Lewis) — www.MNDeerHunters.com