Not Freezing Their Whitetails Off

Deer in South might lock down, but otherwise fare well in cold.
By: Steve Rogers,

Southern deer might wonder what all the white stuff is, but they suited to adapt to adverse weather.

Southern deer might wonder what all the white stuff is, but they suited to adapt to adverse weather.

Despite inordinate, lengthy periods of sub-freezing temperatures as well as heavy snowfall and icy conditions in areas that rarely see either, wildlife biologists in the South say deer populations in those regions will continue to survive and thrive.

“They can make due and overcome a lot,” said Chris Cook, the Deer studies project leader for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. “A little cold weather can make them a little uncomfortable and be a little out of the ordinary, but it doesn’t affect them. They still eat and breed and make more of them.”

Record low temperatures have been common throughout the South in January and February. A rare snow and ice storm struck Georgia, all but crippling Atlanta for several days. According to the National Weather Service, Atlanta has had only daily snowfalls of an inch or more 55 times since 1928. It was even more rare in south Louisiana, where New Orleans had only its 18th “lasting snow event” since 1849.

“Southern deer really have it good. It’s pretty moderate on the temperature and precipitation side,” said Charlie Killmaster, deer biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “Georgia deer handle it pretty dang well. It just doesn’t get all that cold here. We did have a few days where it got down in the single digits. That’s not enough, really, to do much to negatively impact them.”

Biologist across the country agree that while deer in the South may not usually have to deal with ultra-harsh winter conditions as often, they have the same innate ability to manage as their northern cousins. Jeremy Flinn, the Midwest regional wildlife biologist for Cabela’s, said a deer must weigh its feeding options every day.

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