Avoid Stress on Your Deer Herd
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The heat index throughout much of the Midwest and South is predicted to be over 100 degrees today. There are warnings posted for folks that work outside, the young, the elderly, etc. Clearly heat can cause huge amounts of stress on humans.
Drought can also cause stress on plants, especially new, young plants. Drought and heat stress are two of the primary reasons crops should be planted early. A soybean plant with roots a foot or more deep can survive these tough conditions much better than a soybean seedling that only has established roots a few inches deep.
Planting any forage or grain crop as soon as weather conditions are appropriate during the spring almost always results in a more vigorous plant that is more resistant to drought stress, etc. The end result will be a larger yield of forage and or grain.
The same is true for fawns. A heat and drought combination is very rare during the normal fawning season throughout most of the whitetail’s range. However, droughts can cause significant mortality among late born fawns. Droughts directly affect plant growth and nutritional quality, which impacts the quantity and quality of milk produced by does, etc. Drought can reduce the population of prey species which concentrates predation on the surviving prey species, etc. Fawns born during the normal time-frame have a much better chance of surviving the harsh conditions of a summertime drought. This is just one of many reasons responsible deer managers should ensure a herd’s adult sex ratio is in balance.
Like planting crops during the appropriate time, ensure fawns are born during the appropriate time by planning a deer harvest that results in a balanced adult sex ratio. The yield of the resulting fawn crop will be better.
Growing Deer together,