For many animals wintering in the snow belt, the Spring thaw can’t arrive soon enough. Bare ground is prime real estate and, when the snow cover persists too long, can be worth fighting for.
A combination of wind, full exposure to the sun, and adjacent retreat cover make some cultivated farm fields favorite wintering sites for deer and turkeys. On this occasion, it was hungry deer, venturing out well before dark, that provided insight into deer feeding behavior in late winter.
Survival of the fittest. Deer expend precious energy digging into the snow to expose plant material, kernels of waste corn, anything edible, and will defend their hard-earned discoveries from others in the herd. These groups are mostly does and fawns, and the mature does usually prevail. They will push, kick and chase competitors away from food – even fawns.
Daytime temperatures have been above freezing and and the snow pack is receding. Hopefully, all will soon have access to forage and squabbling will be unnecessary.
Photos by NB Hunter. © All rights reserved.