TOWER  (AP) — This year's particularly harsh winter has hit northern Minnesota's deer population hard. And if spring doesn't kick in soon, even the survivors could be in trouble.

The Department of Natural Resources says it is finding more and more dead whitetails, and the agency expects more over the next two weeks.  That's because the animals can't find food and thus become vulnerable to death by natural causes or predators such as wolves.

The DNR says this winter has already been classified as above average, and could reach hit severe without significant snowmelt by April.

A study of northern Minnesota fawn mortality showed the rate more than doubled in an above average winter when compared with an average winter.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.