SALT LAKE CITY — Utah wildlife officials are offering tips to help deer get through the especially cold winter the state is experiencing.
Biologists have been monitoring deer closely since last month, looking at indicators such as their condition, amount of food available to them, how deep the snow is, how cold it is in their habitat, and the amount of body fat found on deer that have been killed along roads, according to the Division of Wildlife Resources.
Anis Aoude, big-game coordinator for the DWR, said the temperature has reached a critical point in some areas in Utah. Despite the cold temperatures, Utah's deer herds are doing well, Aoude said.
“Fortunately, deer went into the winter with an average layer of fat on them," he said. "And the snow depth in most of the state is not covering the vegetation. Slopes that face south are nearly bare in some areas, so the deer can still find food.”
If conditions deteriorate, biologists will consider feeding deer specially designed pellets. The pellets are designed to give deer extra energy, something deer often need when the temperature is cold and the snow is deep.
The DWR has counseled Utahns to not disturb deer, as deer burn fat reserves to escape a perceived threat. Ways to avoid disturbing deer include keeping dogs on a leash and not letting them harass deer; giving deer space and being quiet when encountering deer in the backcountry; slowing down while driving through places where deer live; paying attention to wildlife crossing signs; and watching for movement on the side of the road.
For more information, visit www.watchfordeerutah.com.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company