Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian


<lass="page layoutArea" title="Page 1">

Among the most common animal sightings that might pique one’s interest at this time of year are deer. It might be easy to overlook the fact that deer also must survive the long and hard Minnesota winters, but perhaps we shouldn’t disregard this fact. Isn’t it amazing that deer can survive the cold weather when I can barely survive the walk to Sayles?

In the fall, deer start preparing for that thick blanket of snow by increasing their caloric intake as much as possible. These animals rely intensely on their fat reserves to survive the winter. When winter comes, they switch to eating a woody diet (as opposed to a leafy one) and love to sleep among the conifers to help conserve heat.

Winter is a major reason for why the deer population can fluctuate so dramatically. This can be easily seen when we look at the number of deer in Minnesota in the last ten years. Right now, there are approximately 850,000 deer in the state as a result of a particularly hard 2014 winter. In the years immediately prior, the springtime population had been at and around one million deer.

I would be neglecting my duties if I didn’t remind those do-gooders that feeding deer in the winter can actually be harmful. Although this is certainly a controversial issue, some states encourage volunteer feed services and others have made it illegal, Minnesota has historically had a policy of not feeding deer.

We worry about feeding deer because it tends to concentrate them in certain areas, which can lead to disease transmission and predation. Additionally, a sudden high volume of high calorie food to any starving animal can easily kill them.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *