Tough Winter?

    It’s been several years since those of us up north have experienced a "severe winter." We have to look back to 1995-96 and 1996-97, when snowfall totals and below-zero temperatures combined to cause extensive die-offs within the deer population. With easier winters and conservative management, the deer population bounced back quickly. And with a string of mild to average winters in recent years, the deer population has remained at or above population goals in most units across Northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.
    Will this be a severe winter? That remains to be seen. We’ve had some cold snaps, and now, especially up the North Shore, we have deep snow in the woods. But so far, we haven’t had those two factors in combination with one another. Winter Severity Indices are kept in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, but those counts are low in both states so far. Under those systems, a point is accrued each day the temperature drops below zero and another point is accrued if the snow depth is more than 15 inches (Minnesota) or 18 inches (Wisconsin).
     Usually, in severe winters, the cold and snow come early and hang on through the season.
     "But there’s potentially lots of winter time ahead of us," said Fred Strand, wildlife manager for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Superior.
     We’ll have to wait and see what it holds.