Even this early, a proactive approach can help deer through winter

MANITOULIN—While the amount of snowfall and temperatures don’t warrant any type of deer save program being enacted on Manitoulin Island at this point, there is no reason that property owners and other interested parties can’t get ready to help out the animals.

“While we are not looking at putting a deer save program in place this winter, at least not yet, it doesn’t mean we aren’t getting prepared in case it is warranted,” said Sue Meert, chair of the Manitoulin Deer Save program, this past weekend. She pointed out a list of all volunteers who would be willing to help out was established a few years ago.  

“What we did a couple of years ago was get a list of property owners and volunteers to have an inventory of food and  properties so that we can be prepared to contact land owners if a program to help the deer needs to be in place,” said Ms. Meert. She said a determination is made around mid-February depending on the amount of snow there is on the ground and if the snow depths and conditions make it hard for deer to get around in along with temperatures. 

“But we would encourage those property owners, snowmobilers and snowshoers, once the snow depths get higher to help open trails and provide access to food sources for deer (including taking down of limbs and branches off trees),” continued Ms. Meert. “And if they are out on trails or property and they see deer that  look as if they could be in trouble, to contact us (Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association).”

Ms. Meert said “we don’t encourage anyone to feed deer, corn for instance can damage their digestive system. But if they can provide access to, or provide natural food this would be good.” 

For anyone with concerns about the deer herd on Manitoulin during the winter, they can contact Manitoulin Streams, or access the Manitoulin Deer Save website online.