Deep snow affecting deer in county

Jennifer Michels
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AMHERST - Deep snow prevents deer from getting the nutrients they need to survive the winter in Cumberland County.

Cumberland County has had a lot of snow this year, making it difficult for the deer to get around. But the availability of food is the major problem.
The snow covers most of the deer's food supply - they mostly survive by eating the buds off trees. Without the proper food supply the deer have less chance of survival.
"Deer find it very difficult to get through the deep snow," Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager Tony Nette said. "They're unable to move distances to seek out food."
Fawns are usually not able to build up enough fat to survive periods of time without food, which is why they are always the first to go during a deep snow winter.
When a deer dies, the DNR checks the remaining fat content of the bone marrow to see how much was used, if any.
"As soon as they start tapping the bone marrow, they're most likely not going to make it," Nette said.
New growth has recently started to show up in some areas of the woods, such as daffodils.
"That's why we're seeing so many deer on the roadside," Nette said.
The deer will also start going after the blueberry fields as another source of food.
Licence sales were at their lowest, with only 33,396 sold in 2008. But the hunting success rate was 37.6 per cent this year.
"Those who did go hunting look like they had a very good year," Nette said. "People used to think hunters were the problem for decreases, but not as much as Mother Nature."

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources

Geographic location: Cumberland County

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