Harsh Winter Thins New Brunswick Deer Population
The long winter has taken a toll on all of us, and has had a negative effect on New Brunswick's deer population as well.
Heavy snow late into March has put a big strain on the deer population in the province, making it difficult for them to find food.
Provincial deer biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, Joe Kennedy, said rangers are starting to see deer that are dying due to starvation.
The total population is estimated at 90,000, but Kennedy predicts a 15% winter mortality rate totaling about 13,000 animals. The 15% mortality rate is higher than normal, but still lower than the 40 per cent recorded in 2008 and 2009.
Kennedy says the animals are wading in snow deep, at a time of year they are at their weakest.
The quality of the feed they are able to reach is also poor. Unlike the human population with eyes on ice melt and flooding, the deer population needs the snow to melt quickly so they can gather more food.