Record Winter Kill in Northern Rockies

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

As we have mentioned in the past, the record snowfall and cold in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana this past winter has caused harsh die-offs in big game animals. However as the winter is starting to wear off and spring thaws the snow pack, now the true extent of the die-off is being discovered. has a write up on the extent of winter kill.

Based on aerial surveys of big-game herds and signals from radio-collared animals, experts are documenting high mortality among offspring of mule deer, white-tailed deer and pronghorn antelope. This comes as big-game animals enter the last stretch of a period from mid-March through early May that is considered critical for survival. Wildlife managers estimate die-offs in the tens of thousands across thousands of square miles that span prairie in northeastern Montana, the upper Snake River basin in Idaho near Yellowstone National Park and the high country of northwestern Wyoming near the exclusive resort of Jackson.


groovy mike's picture

That is sad, sad news.

That is sad, sad news.  This winter was rough all over.  Here in New York we also had record snowfalls

High mortality in adult animals is bad enough but knowing that the weekend adults can’t support their young is a terrible combination of disaster for all the herds (mule deer, Shiras moose, elk, white-tailed deer and pronghorn antelope). A die-off in the tens of thousands is downright tragic.  There’s just no silver lining in this unless you are a scavenger species.  Only the coyotes and ravens will be happy.  It’s sad news for all the game animals and for all the hunters.  Not only for this year but for years to come because a population decline this severe will take years for the herd numbers to come back up from. 

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Man that is too bad, always

Man that is too bad, always bad the hear news like that just before or after the draw results areto be coming out soon.  Here in Colorado it seems we have been still getting some snow but from what I have heard the deer and elk numbers are faring rather well, so hopefully we do not have the same issues as our brothers to the north.

hunter25's picture

It's pretty sad to see so

It's pretty sad to see so many states impacted so severely this year. The part of Colorado I live in had a very light winter this year and the herds looks to be in pretty good shape. It can take a long time to recover from these bad winters and if it gets followed up by another one our hunting will begin to be affected pretty badly.

I was starting to plan a Montana antelope hunt for next year but may have to reconsider until things recover a bit.