Winter Severity Index Update on Wildlife in Minnesota
A combination of snow and cold affect Minnesotans but those conditions also affect wildlife in the state. Glen Schmitt from Outdoor News joined me on WJON. He says the state has something called "Winter Severity Index" which measures how hard the winter is on deer, turkey and wildlife in general. Schmitt indicates the Winter Severity Index is calculated the following way: 1 point is accumulated for each day the temperature is zero degrees or less and another point is added when snow depths are 15 inches or more. This starts November 1st and goes through March 31.
Schmitt says the results so far are looking pretty good. He says there is a location in the arrowhead that is between 50 and 75 points. Schmitt says anything 50 and below is considered mild and anything over 120 is considered severe. Besides the location in the arrowhead the rest of the state is 50 or below. He says the animals in the state are handling this winter pretty well based on these numbers. Schmitt does caution that we have a lot of winter left which could change these numbers.
Schmitt indicates deer and turkeys are active in the state right now and he's seen many near bird feeders. He noticed on a trip to South Dakota many pheasants near the Benson area.
Ice fishing in the area continues to be challenging due to large amounts of snow and slush on the ice. Schmitt says the biggest challenge is mobility on lakes. He is optimistic these conditions will improve with colder weather forecasted this weekend. Schmitt would like to take his 4-wheeler on the ice but says he's not confident in the ice thickness on area lakes to drive his truck on the ice this season.
If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Glen Schmitt it is available below.