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SO WHAT IS GOING ON NOW… IN EARLY WINTER… WITH DEER? FINDING FOOD IS AT THE TOP OF THE LIST

OhDEER is the leader in all natural deer, mosquito, and tick control.

Our proprietary sprays and other applications, keep deer from feeding on your shrubs, trees, flowers, and ground cover … and keep your property free from mosquitoes and ticks.

Mosquito and tick control is mostly a spring through fall exercise, whereas staying after deer keeps ohDEER busy throughout the year.

Kurt Upham, founder and president of ohDEER, is a deer expert. He knows everything there is to know about deer.

Appropriately, we like to talk about deer in this space.

Among the deer related topics we address here are the physical and behavioral changes that deer undergo from season to season.

Back on November 12, in this space, we published a post about the deer rutting – aka mating – season …which roughly runs from late October through mid December.

During that season, as explained in the post, due to the energy that bucks exert in chasing and finding does for the purpose of … well, you know … they will lose 30 to 40 percent of their weight

Even if food supplies are abundant and accessible, it may take two months for a buck to gain back the lost weight.

Does, however, do not lose considerable weight during the rut.

With the arrival of winter, and potentially highly challenging weather, it is vitally – critically – important … especially for bucks …to focus on gaining back the weight lost over the past couple months. Of course, this is easier to do if there is no snow cover, and temperatures remain relatively warm.

A malnourished and underweight deer is particularly vulnerable to harsh weather, with a specific vulnerability being that deer in this condition lack a layer of fat adequate in thickness to provide protection from biting winds, and also serve as a backup source of nutrients.

“A deer that is deficient in nourishment, and underweight, is in a very perilous position,” said Kurt. “But, in a bit of converse, a well fed and well-nourished deer … one that is at a healthy weight -and this applies for both bucks and does- can go for two months without food.”

In winter time, at risk are fawns, baby deer, born the previous spring who need food and calories to continue maturing.

Does, as well, need to build up stores of calories for winter – even if the need is not as particularly pressing as it is for bucks.

“Snow cover… especially heavy cover … makes it difficult for deer to get to food,” said Kurt. “But, for example, right now, in the absence of snow, whitetail deer in these parts have easy access to food and nutrients, with some of their local favorite sources being acorns, crab apples, hemlock, tree buds, and grasses.”

Deer are ruminants … that is, they have four chamber stomachs – which provide an advantage in feeding in that they can continue to eat and store food in one stomach, while other areas of the digestive track process food. Partially process food is returned to the mouth in the form of “cud” for further chewing. In essence, multiple stomachs enable a deer to eat more than an animal with a single stomach could in the same amount of time.

As Kurt explained, cold and rain do not much bother deer, because their coats have evolved to provide them excellent protection against these elements.

Curiously, deer coats are actually thicker during the warm months. When it starts getting cold, the deer hair transforms from follicles that are dense into those that are hollow, with hollow follicles serving the purpose of holding and retaining heat.

“What does present a danger to deer, though, is cold combined with wind. A mixture of cold and wind contribute to hypothermia in, and force the animals to use valuable energy and calories to keep warm.”

“Heavy snow, and low temperatures mixed with high winds – like we had in the latter part of last winter – are a life threatening and often deadly combination for deer – with, as it would reason, underweight and unhealthy deer in the most danger. Weather in January and February 2015 killed off deer in large numbers in this region.”

(Winter … as bucks are looking for food … is also when they undergo a major bodily change in that they shed their antlers.)

For the early winter season, ohDEER – as it does every couple months – changed up the constitution of the deer control solution spray that uses to keep the animals from feeding on your shrubs, trees, and grass.

“We don’t employ the same solution, always; in set intervals of time, we change things up, so the deer don’t become accustomed to a particular mix. Right now, we are using a solution that is heavier on a peppermint oil – which, of course, deer don’t like – than we use at other times.”

Projections are for a relatively warm winter – which is good for deer.

And which supports and provides for more deer that will be looking to dine on plants in residential yards and on business properties.

No need for worry, however, for ohDEER will keep them from taking a bite.