If you live south of the Mason-Dixon Line or anywhere south of the snow belt, you probably have little experience with the effects of springtime storms on both wildlife and domestic livestock. This picture will give you a better feel for the hardships. It was reportedly taken near Lead, South Dakota, a Black Hills mountain community, which receives heavy snowfall regularly. But this May storm was more than expected and it spilled out onto the surrounding prairie in Montana, Wyoming and both Dakotas.
For big game hunters, this is exactly the type of event you don’t want to see. All species, big or small, are at their weakest as winter leaves and spring arrives. During the rut a whitetail buck may loose up to 25 percent of its body weight and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to gain it back as winter sets in. A monster storm such as this, which dumped up to 48 inches or more snow, can push whitetails struggling for survival over the brink of no return.
Last spring a similar storm struck in my own backyard with up to 40 inches or more of snow. I found no less than 9 dead deer on my scant 40-acre property. Most were burrowed deep in brush thickets and neatly bedded as they prepared to sit out the longevity of the storm. If your area receives these occasional surprise storms in the spring there is a chance you might loose a buck you knew made it through the hunting season. I’ll have more on unsuspected whitetail deaths on future blogs, but for now you have to marvel at the will of wildlife survival.