White-tailed deer are still very active in the winter months. They require a bit more energy requirements to survive however which lends them to make some different changes to their lifestyle compared to the spring. Ohio is starting the transition period to it's usual cold winters so what preparations do the deer need to do in order to outlast the winter season.
First, they must bulk up on food. Acorns and other nuts, wild fruits, agricultural crops and the last of the greenery needs to be consumed in the fall. This is so the deer can retain fat that will be instrumental for it's survival during harsh winters. Deer need to consume a few pounds of browse daily in order to stay at a reasonably healthy weight. Scraps on the ground like twigs, buds, evergreen needles and leaves is the diet for a white-tail deer in this climate. None of that diet is very high on nutritional value but luckily for deer, they have compound stomachs that are capable of squeezing out just about every available calorie.
Secondly, deer, much like other animal species, has to grow a winter coat to stay warm. In September, a deer's dull brown-gray winter coat replaces it's rather stunning red summer coat. For increased warmth, the winter coat is insulated with hollow hairs to add more warmth. The difference is night and day if you compare a winter and summer deer's pelt. It is also quite noticeable when you see a deer bedded during a snowfall. A mantle of snow builds upon the deer's pelt and if there was much heat loss, that snow would melt right off.
Thirdly. deer seek shelter from the cold by venturing into evergreen thickets where they can be shielded by the wind and where vegetation acts like a blanket. There areas are often nick named "deer yards" and may encompass hundreds of acres providing them with great shelter. Deer purposely seek out areas that are largely inaccessible by humans. Staying in the same spots for days, even weeks at at time to ensure their survival. Sometimes not even moving out of hiding to eat which they are able to achieve because of the fat they stored in the fall.
Hunting for deer in the winter becomes a bit more challenging compared to the spring and even the fall season, but that doesn't mean it can't be just as fun and rewarding. Located in Tuscarawas County. Hidden Hollow Whitetail Ranch is Ohio's most popular Whitetail Hunting ranches! We have a private white-tail hunting preserve that ensures that you'll leave here with a big score; even during the winter. Call (330) 466-4404 and ask for Rob to book an appointment or visit our website to learn more info.