Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 29

"Deer didn't want to move," Dzemyan
said "They couldn't get away from people
- or dogs. If approached, the deer tried to
go uphill. But they couldn't go far and
would slide back down.
"At some places where we saw deer on
game lands, we'd cut five to 10 junk trees
near and below them," Dzemyan recalled.
"After we left, the deer would get into
where the felled trees had broken up the
snow to browse on tree buds and bed."
But the inherent inaccessibility of
game lands north of routes 555 and 120
limited the Game Commission's ability
to be more responsive to the whitetails
in trouble.
Erickson pointed out he and other
agency employees were unable to get
back into remote areas because of the icy
roads. He suspected there were a lot more
dead and dying deer there. But he couldn't
do anything about it.
As Pennsylvania's whitetail population
grew through the 1980s, the Game Commission would eventually abandon winter
deer feeding because it congregated
whitetails making them more susceptible
to diseases. It was the end of a decadesold tradition.
Pennsylvania's larger deer population
and agency field research had proven
repeatedly the statewide herd was resilient
enough to handle most mortalities.

WINTER'S SEVERITY
Contained by ice in a specific area,
whitetails cannot hold out long. Their concentrated feeding strips habitat quickly.
Deer aren't roamers. They stay within
their home range through all four seasons.
In winter, their movements typical lessen.
So, ice-crust slopes can quickly become
an immediate obstacle for whitetails.
Young deer - needing food for both
sustenance and skeletal growth - are the
MARCH 2018	

first to lose out. Their shorter reach limits
their accessibility to browse, and their
smaller size limits their ability to push
around other deer.
And when food is limited, young deer
follow their doe almost blindly, even when
she starts sliding down a mountainside.
The Game Commission maintained a
statewide "Winter Severity Index" from
1952 through 1998.
It measured the number of days from
Dec. 1 to March 31 when the temperature
was 8 degrees or less and when snow
accumulation was 6 inches or greater.
The worst winter on record was the
winter of 1978-79. The index value was
126.6. It was followed by the winter of
1963-64, when the index totaled 122.7.
But unless you were trudging around in
the state's more-remote areas back then,
or got out before roads were plowed, it's
unlikely you recognized the troubles these
winters caused deer.
The winter of 1981-82 wasn't one of
Pennsylvania's worst. It registered only
84.6 on the Winter Severity Index. But it
was a bad one for whitetails.
Reflecting on that winter, an April 1982
Game News editorial reported: "Snow,
cold and a thick ice crust combined to
take the lives of thousands of animals.
For example, early reports from Clinton
County indicated about 1,500 deer died
as they plummeted down hillsides, unable
to stand or control themselves on the ice.
Others died from 'split pelvis,' an injury
caused when the hind legs shoot out from
beneath the animal as they try to navigate
the icy crust. Still others died from starvation unable to free themselves of steep
inclines and deep ravines."
Retired Game Warden John Wasserman was working in Clinton County
during both the 1979 and 1982 ice storms.
He saw firsthand what happened.
29



Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 16
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Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 38
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Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 42
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Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 61
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Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Cover4
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