By Brandon Wikman
The Midwest has been blasted with a cold punch from Mother Nature. Blow-after-blow we find ourselves buried deep in snow as the streak of negative-degree temperatures continues.
The upper Midwest isn’t the only region of the country that has been iced-over; in fact, the entire country has experienced an unusual frigid streak, which has begun knocking-off deer antlers for the past month already! I returned from a few hunts during mid-January and spotted a handful of bucks that were antler naked! Seeing deer with red nubs at only 20 yards with my muzzleloader in hand wasn’t the most enjoyable sight, but it proved that stress has been a factor within the deer herd across the nation.
From Ohio down to Texas, deer have been experiencing a lot more stress, which in turn reflects on their bodies. It’s especially rough on deer and turkey when the ground freezes, as a layer of ice forms on top of the ground and then icy snow compacts together to make scavenging for food nearly impossible.
After returning from the Eastern Sports Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the trend topic of the weekend was chatting about bucks losing headgear. I spoke with several outfitters and friends that said they had trail cam pictures of bucks single-antlered weeks ago.
I also spoke with Tom Miller, Vice-President of North American Shed Hunters Club, and he was eager to brief me on the abundance of deer that were suffering from the frostbite temperatures, especially here in the Midwest. He said that he has already spotted dead deer and turkey, potentially from inadequate nutrition. Thus, tossing bone to the ground.
As the frosty months of a new year pass, we can only hope the wildlife can withstand the chill factor. It is amazing to realize how awesome nature can be and how the wildlife adapts to 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 soon!