People Mimic Wildlife In Winter Habits

Feb 16, 2014

Newborn black bear cubs

The winter has been a rough one for wildlife, but a DNR biologist says they find a way to cope.

Jeremy Holtz says the extended cold and deeper than recent winters snow totals place a challenge on wildlife....


"....every late winter they've struggled through the cold and the snow and the lack of food. Just like people, they're ready for spring...."

He says deer are specially adaptive to the winter...


"....they've been living on their winter 'operation' as it were. They have a special metabolism that kicks down, becomes very slow this time of year. Their digestive activity changes,....they can digest woody material more because there's no green material around them...."

Holtz says he's heard reports on not seeing many deer during counts, which indicates they are staying close to shelter. He says they will soon start to get more active in the search for food. He says he's getting few reports of sick or starved deer. He says it is close to moving from a moderate to a severe winter.

He says animals are like people in the winter...they migrate, mitigate, or hibernate.