RHINELANDER - Winter weather in the Northwoods can be tough on some people. But we don't usually think about how the climate affects the deer population.
D-N-R Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz gets paid to keep track of deer numbers year-around.
Because winter affects the population, The W-S-I scale is his best friend.
"The W-S-I metric or Winter Severity Index is the number one metric in deer management. We write down the minimum temperature of the day and the snow depth of the day. When the snow depth gets to 18-inches or higher, that's a mark; when the temperature gets below zero, that's also a mark."
So far this season's W-S-I comes in at a mild 20-point. Holtz has been around long enough to see what a bad winter can do.
"In 2007, at this time we were over 100. So you could imagine that deer were starving to death. They were dying of exposure, getting run down by coyotes. There were all sorts of things going on that were limiting the deer population."
The 2007 winter cut deer totals in a big way. But thanks to a string of mild winters, deer numbers are at a normal level.
VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.
The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
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