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Potential Winterkill for Blacktail Deer on Kodiak and Prince William Sound

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  • Potential Winterkill for Blacktail Deer on Kodiak and Prince William Sound

    Just curious if anyone has any predictions about what will be the impact of the snowfall on Kodiak and Prince William Sound for the Blacktail Deer population. I know snowfall has a major impact, but I'm not sure if the amount of snowfall this year will be significant enough (so far, in your opinion) to have an impact. Or is it a minimal amount?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Just curious if anyone has any predictions about what will be the impact of the snowfall on Kodiak and Prince William Sound for the Blacktail Deer population. I know snowfall has a major impact, but I'm not sure if the amount of snowfall this year will be significant enough (so far, in your opinion) to have an impact. Or is it a minimal amount?
    Winter will always impact it, and its kinda two fold. How cold and how much snow? I think that the deer will be fine as long as some of the snow melts and they can access more freshwater streams and some hidden vegetation, rather than getting kicked to the beach and eating kelp all day. You are also talking about population versus resources. Sitka has had mild winters for a while now: https://www.kcaw.org/2019/12/02/mild...in-sitka-area/ So that breeds trouble for when they are all on the beach with fewer options. I presume the same would go for Kodiak or PWS. It all will depend on how long it stays cold and the snow sticks around. This winter has had been colder in Anchorage than in the past couple, but unless we get record snow: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/arti...ld/2012/01/06/ I think they will be fine.

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    • #3
      The snow fall over in Valdez has been light so far. We lost our weather station so no totals available. But, we are way down on snow. Cold on the other hand has been bad. Longest cold spell I can remember. A quick check of temps out on Hich. shows it is in the 30's today. Tolerable.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Daveinthebush View Post
        The snow fall over in Valdez has been light so far. We lost our weather station so no totals available. But, we are way down on snow. Cold on the other hand has been bad. Longest cold spell I can remember. A quick check of temps out on Hich. shows it is in the 30's today. Tolerable.
        Yeah, I find looking at FAA Weather Cameras allow me to see what the rest of the state looks like from home, especially snow lines and elevations. https://avcams.faa.gov/ The Hitchenbrook West camera is the best deer viewing one, but sadly its not working right now.

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        • #5
          I was going to ask the same thing! Anyone on Kodiak care to comment? Would be nice to know how the herd is doing. Wasnít able to make it out last fall, tried but weather didnít cooperate on the limited time I had a available so hoping that this fall the numbers are still good

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          • #6
            Normally, the deer in Prince William Sound handle deep snow better than on Kodiak. My guess is because there is a lot of timber in Prince William Sound which lessens the amount of snow on the ground. Afognak deer also seem to do better in deep snow than on Kodiak. Of course there is a lot more tree cover there than on Kodiak also. Prince William sound deer also seem to do better when subsisting on kelp than the deer on Kodiak do. Maybe because of the kelp varieties available?
            An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
            - Jef Mallett

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            • #7
              Any update on winter kill, specifically on Kodiak?

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              • #8
                Brutal die off on Kodiak. North and West sides got tons of snow that stayed all winter. Its finally melted but with a late green up deer are weak and still dying.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sockeyedominator View Post
                  Brutal die off on Kodiak. North and West sides got tons of snow that stayed all winter. Its finally melted but with a late green up deer are weak and still dying.
                  I know what I seen, with my own eyes.... Going to be a rough deer hunting year on Kodiak coming up

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the reports guys, how about the PWS? Any word on the die-offs over there? I'm assuming the snow fall was pretty severe there also.

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                    • #11
                      Just got off the phone with F&G on Kodiak, they don't have estimates yet. They know it's heavy, but not uniform and some areas came thru good. They won't be doing flight surveys until May.

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                      • #12
                        Valdez that usually gets hit the hardest only had 194" of snow this year. The farther south you go its get less. Lots of times when we get snow, Cordova gets rain.

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                        • #13
                          Juneau area had a colder, snowier winter than we've had in a while with snow still pretty much down to sea level in places, but all of the deer I've seen this spring look healthy.
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                          • #14
                            Went to Kodiak end of March and still deep snow. I did see a number of deer but also a couple fawn carcasses. The locals have been saying it was definitely a harder winter than the last few years

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                            • #15
                              My area got hammered 3 years ago and still hasn't recovered much from that. I'm sure it is really bad now. Looking at other spots this season.

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