Winter Doldrums or Simply Survival?

For many of us winter is simply a period of doldrums in anticipation for sunny spring weather. For the wildlife community winter is a time of stress for survival. Whitetail bucks and fawns are always on the tipping point and each day of extended winter weather can make or break a herd. That's why it's imperative to plan for winter food stocks, especially if you live in the North Country.

Creating winter food plots, trimming browse and opening forests for additional browse all creates nutritional opportunities for local whitetails to boost their daily calorie intake, and stoke the fires until spring arrives. The next month or two is actually the period when winter-stressed deer feel the effects of brutal storms the most. The reason is simple.

Even though they may be feeding regularly, the days on end of cold and snow simply rob more from their body than the available browse can replace. It only takes one extended storm to push them to the brink. Once a whitetail loses more than 30 percent of its overall body weight the chances of it surviving are slim to none.

My friend Cody Warne shared some images with me and a video from his ranch this winter. Warne manages for pheasants, waterfowl and trophy whitetails in central South Dakota and his property hosts a multitude of wildlife on multiple plots of wildlife habitat and food plots. He makes sure every critter gets what they need to survive a brutal Dakota winter and from the looks of it, anyone would want a few of these bucks to be around for next season.