Prolonged winter weather raises concerns about U.P. deer
MARQUETTE, Mich. — Wildlife biologists are worried about how prolonged wintry weather will affect deer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
State DNR supervisor Terry Minzey says things looked good for the U.P. deer herd a month ago. But the situation has deteriorated as winter has held on.
Deer fitted with radio collars for DNR studies have suffered a 13.5 percent mortality rate so far this winter, with 11 percent of adult female deer dying.
Some parts of the peninsula still had 2 feet of snow on the ground even before this weekend’s storm hit. That creates shortages of green vegetation for deer to eat.
The DNR says deer in the northern and western U.P. are looking stressed. In other parts of the peninsula, they’re skinny but don’t appear in serious trouble.
Meanwhile, last week, Michigan officials have divided $100,000 among 11 grant recipients for projects to enhance deer habitat in the Upper Peninsula.
The funding was awarded under a competitive program that focuses on non-state lands.
Bill Scullon of the DNR says the projects will upgrade 850 acres in Menominee, Marquette, Alger, Luce, Iron, Baraga, Ontonagon, Gogebic, Schoolcraft and Mackinac counties.
Grant recipients are required to provide a 25 percent match.
To be eligible, groups must have a mission of promoting wildlife conservation, hunting or both. Among them are sportsmen’s clubs, conservation districts, land conservancies and some industrial landowners and private land affiliations.