Winter Takes A Toll on Wildlife - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Winter Takes A Toll on Wildlife

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(WLNS) -- Combine blowing snow with months of bitter cold and this winter weather wears on local wildlife.

 

"All species of wildlife are going to be stressed by this winter. There's no question about it," said Russ Mason, chief of the Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Division.

From deer to turkeys, pheasants and waterfowl, these long-lasting cold temperatures are hard for even the toughest animals to take. Thick coats, added fat layers and slowed down metabolisms help animals out, but this season's one of the worst wildlife specialists have seen in more than a decade. 

 

"Some [animals] are better able to withstand these kinds of stressors than others. But we can anticipate that we are going to have some changes to regulations and we are going to see some negative impacts on a whole variety of species that we care about," Mason said. 

If this brutal winter weather continues, the DNR will have to limit deer hunting licenses this fall and they may even have to eliminate turkey hunting this season. "Just because that hunt is for population management and this winter is managing populations pretty good," Mason said. 

The cold weather could even impact breeding this fall. 

"What's more likely to happen probably is a decrease in nesting success and breeding success or perhaps delaying that a little bit longer in the season, which is going to have other impacts on the population overall," said Amy Trotter, Michigan United Conservation Club's resource policy manager.

For wildlife, the coming weeks are vital. If this cold continues through March, animals will have a tough time finding food. 

If you see animals you think are suffering from starvation, or other issues related to the cold, the DNR wants people to let them know by filling out this form.
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