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SPOKANE — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is hosting a public meeting to discuss how local deer fared this winter and provide tips for people who want to help area wildlife.
The public meeting is Monday, May 22, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Twisp Valley Grange, 344 W. 2nd Ave., in Twisp, Washington.
With the winter starting early with a high snow load, there was concern from area residents that local mule deer populations could be negatively impacted by harsh conditions. Members of the public called on WDFW to initiate an emergency feeding program. Department staff periodically evaluated conditions and monitored radio-collared does over the winter to assess herd health. With winter over, the Department wants to meet with the public to discuss this winter’s impacts to deer and winter feeding in general.
“We kept a close eye on the situation over the entire winter,” said Region 2 (North Central) Director Brock Hoenes. “But emergency feeding of wildlife is never ideal. In the end, conditions weren’t as bad as anticipated for an extended amount of time, but we want to address the concern for future years.”
Information provided by tracking collars on mule deer wintering in the area shows that adult deer were not highly impacted by winter conditions. In addition to presenting this information at the meeting, staff will discuss deer biology and adaptations to survive without the help of humans, lessons learned from historical feeding programs, and the many ways feeding programs can do more harm than good.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.