Traveling in deep, powdery snow is slow and energy-consuming (except for animals that spend time under the snow, which is another story). Such conditions have, or will have, persisted here for nearly two months and it is interesting to observe how deer, coyotes, foxes, cottontails and turkeys are adapting. All must be able to travel to feed and find cover without wasting precious energy reserves.
One solution is to adapt to the human-modified environment and use “groomed” trails. Snowmobile, Nordic ski, snowshoe and tractor trails provide packed travel-ways that are used, sometimes routinely, by many wildlife species. I snowshoe daily, and in one walk of an hour or so have seen tracks of all of the above-mentioned species on my trails.
Here, a single, mature deer used my snowshoe trail sometime during the night. It accessed an old orchard where I have been pruning apple trees – the twigs are a preferred winter food.
Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.