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Winter Severity Index good news for deer

Lead Summary

We’re at the mid-winter point and so far it’s been a mild one.
Tom Rush, the DNR area wildlife manager, sent in the numbers for the Winter Severity Index (WSI).
The Winter Severity Index (WSI) is a general measure of winter conditions.
In Minnesota the WSI is calculated by accumulating one point for each day with an ambient temperature = 15 inches. End-of-season values = 120 indicate a severe winter.
The Tower area Winter Severity Index for the winter of 2020-21 is “mild” at the mid-point of winter.
Both Tower and Eveleth have zero Snow Points with less than 15 inches of snow on the ground. Both stations have fewer than 20 days below zero degrees.
Rush reported the entire state is in the mild category as of Feb. 1.
The northern St Louis County snow depth is 12-14” across the area as of Feb 1.
The northern Lake County snow depth is 16-20” following the weekend snowfall as of Feb 1.
For deer hunters the good news is the snow pack is light and fluffy with no crust allowing deer to move about freely.
Temperature-wise it has been an abnormal winter with significant snow in October, unseasonably warm temperatures in early November, and limited snowfall in December and January.
There have been above average temperatures in December and January.
White-tailed deer have been fairly unrestricted by snow up to this point. This allows them easy access to food sources and increase survival rates after several tough winters knocked down the deer herd.
Low to average snow depth reduces wolf predation.
Rush said deer are in excellent shape going into the latter half of the winter in northeast Minnesota
The second WSI report will come out March 1.

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