-By Brandon Wikman
Wisconsin has been hit with a cold punch from Mother Nature. Blow after blow we find ourselves 2 ft. deep in snow and have had weeks of pure negative degree temperatures that have lasted far too long!
Wisconsin isn’t the only state that has been iced-over. In fact, the entire country has experienced an unusual frigid streak. Over the past month the frigid temperatures have already began knocking off deer antlers! During a few hunts in late December and early January I spotted a handful of bucks that were antler naked! Seeing deer with red nubs standing only 20 yards away with my muzzleloader in hand isn’t the most enjoyable sight, but in any case it proves that stress has been a sheer factor within the deer herd across the nation. From Ohio down to Texas, deer have been experiencing a lot more stress, which reflects on their body. It’s especially rough on deer and turkey when the ground freezes, a layer of ice melts on top of the ground and then icy snow compacts together to make scavenging for food nearly impossible.
I have just returned from the ATA Show in Indianapolis where the topic of the weekend seemed to be bucks loosing their headgear. I spoke with several outfitters and friends that said they had trail camera pictures of bucks with single antlers.
I also spoke with Tom Miller, Vice-President of the North American Shed Hunters Club, and he was eager to brief me on the abundance of deer that were suffering from the extreme temperatures, especially here in the Midwest. He said that he has already spotted dead deer and turkey, potentially from inadequate nutrition.
With a few more frosty months to go, we can only hope the wildlife can withstand the chill factor. It is amazing how ruthless Mother Nature can be and how wildlife can withstand it.
Now that many antlers have dropped, snow is keeping them buried and hidden from the floor critters that munch the bone away. Once this snow begins to melt, be ready, it’ll be a shed antler hunt fest!