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Record cold temperatures threaten man and beast alike

Everybody’s talking about the extremely cold temperatures expected to descend on much of the northeastern region of the U.S. this week. Tuesday’s low temperatures in the Pittsburgh area are going to fall well below 0 and with the wind temperatures, will feel more like 20 below. Some of the terms applied to the coldest temperature event to hit the region in more than 2 decades include Arctic, Frigid, Brutal, and Hypothermic. Anyone standing outside with exposed skin for more than 5 to 10 minutes will be at an elevated risk for frostbite and hypothermia. In addition to the risks the extreme temperatures pose to human life, the impact will also be felt by the area wildlife.
In may seem strange but the terms hunter and conservationist are often times one in the same. In order to conserve the overall strength of the deer herd a number of animals must be removed to ensure that things like disease, starvation, and traffic accidents don’t reach a critical point. In times of extremely cold temperatures, hunters/conservationists play an integral role in sustaining the wildlife in a number of ways. The primary means by which this is done is simple, feed them.
With a thick coat and thousands of years of evolutionary survival instincts built into their brains, deer know how to survive most winters naturally. Their bodies are amazingly efficient, heat generating machines as long as they have a steady food supply to feed it. But this is not an average winter. The combination of snow covered ground with prolonged periods of below zero temperatures poses the greatest risk of death for these animals.
How to Help
To help ensure a healthy population next autumn, hunters should focus their efforts on providing an emergency food source to the weather beaten whitetails, turkey, and other animals without the luxury of hibernating through this unusually cold, snowy winter. A 50lb bag of corn, oats, or “deer nuggets” costs less than $15 and in times like this, can mean the difference between life and death for area wildlife. Once the weather breaks, plan a trip to the nearest AGWAY, Tractor Supply, or even Dicks Sporting Goods and spend what you can on wildlife management feed. Then, gather up a few of your hunting partners and cover your own respective hunting property with as much “emergency rations” as possible. It may just be the difference between a high survival rate and a devastating winter kill-off.

snow angel
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images