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Snow Cover Creates Added Stress on Deer PopulationSubmitted: 04/18/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer


WISCONSIN - Deer hunters care a lot about late fall weather, but there's also reason to care about spring weather. It's harder for deer to find food with snow on the ground. That puts deer under added stress. The DNR wants to know just how stressed they are. That's why they measure the severity of the winter with an index. Temperatures and snow cover add points to the total.

"When you get to the end of the winter, if you have a score of less than 50, it's considered mild. If it's more than 80 it's considered severe or 100 is very severe. At the present time in Rhinelander, it's only 44 which would say it's a mild winter," says Keith McCaffery, DNR Retired Deer Biologist.

But this spring is one for the record books. The DNR has been keeping records since 1960. Only one other year has had this much snow cover this late. In the southern part of the state, that's led to deer deaths.

"That high density of deer is likely to cause some stress. There is that indication that we have very severe browsing going on in some of the wood lots, in the area where these moralities are taking place. Aspen branches are chewed off to the diameter of a person's thumb," says Keith McCaffery.

Here in the Northwoods, the deer are still doing well despite the snow cover. This means there are not concerns for the upcoming hunting season yet. Still the DNR reminds people not to feed or bait deer.


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What We're Working On Submitted: 08/24/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

39-year-old Mark Spietz is accused of breaking into and stealing items from the home where Ashlee Martinson is believed to have killed her mother and stepfather in early March of 2017. We'll bring you details from Oneida County court where Spietz's trial is taking place.

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And the Northwoods United Way hopes to encourage natural working leaders to bring working skills into their community. We'll take you to Leaderfest in Harshaw where the goal was to help people grow professionally and personally.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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WASHINGTON - Donald Trump's new Wisconsin women coalition includes some of the most powerful politicians in the state, and two who were caught up in a highly publicized investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's county office.

The unveiling of the statewide group Wednesday comes as polls show Trump trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton overall in Wisconsin and among women.

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HARSHAW - A lot of people like to separate their work life and personal life.

The Northwoods United Way hopes to encourage natural working leaders to bring those skills into their community. 

It held Leaderfest in Harshaw Wednesday.

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PHELPS - The Vilas County Sheriff's Office says no one was hurt after a 48-year-old man threatened to hurt himself near Phelps Wednesday night.

Crews responded to the area Wednesday evening near Deerskin Road area in Phelps to reports that a man wanted to hurt himself with a handgun.

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WOODRUFF - The DNR wants your help to find out who poached three deer in Oneida County this week.

Two antlered bucks and a buck fawn ended up on the side of Highway 47 between Walter Drive and Forest Trail early Tuesday morning.  All three were shot in the head.

"Fairly rare, I would say we have seen it before but it's fairly uncommon to see a situation like this where the deer are shot and just left to lay," DNR Conservation Warden Tim Ebert said.

Ebert thinks someone shined a light at the deer and shot them from the road.  Now, he's hoping someone heard or saw something to help solve the case.

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MADISON - Recently the Wisconsin Ethics Commission made a decision that some don't find to be to ethical.

Rhinelander's Tim Vocke, former judge and former member of Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board, does not agree with the state's decision to allow board members to make donations to political campaigns.

Vocke said, "there's no benefit except to the power structure," and he continued by saying, "and when you're dealing with ethics in the government arena, I don't think you have any business belonging to any party and certainly not supporting political candidates."

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PELICAN LAKE - Many college students are heading back to campus soon. But for two Northwoods natives who just graduated, they wanted to come back home and start their own business.

Mike Fowler and Weston Lowe brought their diplomas back to the Pelican Lake this summer with a mission to start a new business.

"This year we both finished school and decided it was time to continue this and expand," said owner and operator Weston Lowe.

The 22 and 23-year old friends have been working together since high school. To make a living they have now started their own business, Pelican Piers. It's a dock and lift removal system.

"I took it upon myself and the help of my business partner, Mike to create something that would make it possible to live in the Northwoods and make a living," said Lowe.

Removing docks and lifts can damage the shorelines. Both Fowler and Lowe wanted to avoid destroying the beauty of the Northwoods.

"With the shoreline deteriorating every year, this will help. We can set the lift on the shore and we don't have to drag it and knock rocks off into the water after people have paid to get that fixed," said owner and operator Mike Fowler.

The easiest way for them to maintain the shorelines was to buy a 7,000 pound tri-toon. This machine simply lifts, moves and then sets down the equipment safely on the shoreline.

"In the bed, you can see the black part of the boat, that's the forks. They extend out and we can pick up any boat lift, any dock and set it on your shore without destroying your riff raff," said Fowler.

Getting their business started at such a young age has had its challenges, like with funding for their barge. But staying in the Northwoods has made it worth it.

"The freedom of owning my own business and being able to be out on the lake everyday working," said Lowe.

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