Average Deer Winter
By Hal Blood

As I write this at the first of April, it looks like the deer are going to get a break from the long winter. There has been no measurable snowfall in this area since the middle of March. In fact the last week of March the snow has been melting steady. The forecast until mid April is showing above freezing temperatures and rain showers. If it holds true the deer should be able to start getting out of the yards by then. I know were all reading the reports about another bad winter for the deer, but I donít think that overall it will change things. In the twenty years that I have lived in Jackman, I would rate the winter as average.

Other than winter breaking up early, I think the deer in the yards had it better as there were less of them to compete for the food available. I took a ride up to the Pittston farm deer yard in mid March to see how it looked. Although it was browsed pretty heavily, the deer I saw looked in good shape. The warm sun was baring up the river banks and exposing the plants that had been buried all winter. There is still the coyote problem, but there are several groups of hunters working on them with the hounds. My hats off to all of those guyís.

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This is a critical time for the doeís carrying their fawns as they are in the third trimester. How much food they can get at this time will determine the survival of their fawns. One major food source for them is the moss and limbs that blew out of the trees and was buried with snow. Everyday the snow melts, more of it is uncovered. I watch the deer around my house feeding like this. Since the snow has been melting my deer arenít as anxious to show up at feeding time. Earlier in the winter I would feed them an hour before dark. Within an a half an hour of that time there would be twenty to thirty of them waiting for me. As Iíve said before, I donít give the deer all they can eat. I give them a certain amount each day to help them out and they browse around the rest of the time.

Iíve been captive to the computer all winter working on my next book, so Iím going stir crazy. It looks like Iíll be finishing it up in a week or two, just in time to head to the woods to do some looking around. I tracked a few bucks through some areas last fall, that Iím anxious to get back into. Thereís nothing like roaming around on a damp spring day and reminiscing about the past hunts and anticipating the future ones. Iím not quite sure yet on the release date for the book, but I anticipate that it will be lat spring or early summer. The publisher has it on the fast track and I should know more by next month. The title is Big Woods Bucks Volume II. It will be printed in soft cover for distribution to the chain stores, but I am having a limited edition hard cover done that will only be available through our Big Woods Bucks website or by catching me at a show or event. Get those turkey calls and see you next month.

Hal is a Master Maine Guide and author and can be contacted at through his website at www.bigwoodsbucks.com


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