Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 2

P

ENNSYLVANIA WINTERS can
pack a punch that seems capable of
causing widespread problems for whitetails. And when you consider the state's
past is littered with local winter deer
die-offs, it makes you wonder whether
winter mortality can still impact deer
populations.
Despite some pretty cold winters
- including 2014's polar vortexes -
whitetails have held their own in Penn's
Woods. There has been no significant
winter mortality for at least 40 years.
Their wintry wellbeing is tied directly
to adequate harvests, as well as limited
extreme winter conditions. But habitat
plays a critical role.
The golden rule of deer management
is keeping whitetails in balance with
their habitat to ensure they can negotiate
winter's lean times and taxing conditions,
because deer populations that exceed their
habitat's carrying capacity, and aren't
thinned in hunting seasons, can, over time,
strip their habitat of the food and cover it
provides.
That doesn't mean a light harvest -
even combined with a deficit fall mast
crop - will lead to unhealthy deer or
habitat. Almost every area of the state
faces such conditions from time to time.
But if such conditions persist, deer will
devour their habitat from the ground to

as high as they can browse.
So, hunting and the availability of fall
foods play a pivotal role every year in
adjusting and supporting local deer herds.
Together they reinforce a deer population's ability to negotiate winter at healthy
numbers habitat can support.
But heavy snow and ice can punish
a wintering herd, said Bret Wallingford,
Game Commission deer biologist.

ICY RESPITE

"When snow gets deeper than 10
inches, it takes much more energy for deer
to get around," Wallingford explained.
"Extreme cold temperatures also play
a role because it takes more calories to
keep warm.
"Crusty ice on snow also can make
movement more difficult," Wallingford
noted. "Deer hooves are not well suited
for gripping ice, and their small surface
area can concentrate a deer's weight,
causing the hoof to break through crust
more often."
Deer struggle on ice, so they're prone
to bed down during icy conditions and
wait for better footing, Wallingford said.
But they must have nearby food or a good
fat reserve to shut down daily travel.
Although a deer's coat will provide
insulation from the elements, a whitetail
still leans on windbreaks and conifer

BALANCI

How hunting and habitat c
2



Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 12
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 16
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 31
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 33
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 36
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 40
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 49
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 58
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Cover4
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