BRUSSELS - The long winter has taken a toll on the state's deer population.
The Department of Natural Resources says winter-kill has occurred in the Northwoods, and in agricultural areas as well.
One of the areas affected is in Door County.
John May called it the perfect storm. He said last year's drought brought the deer to the river flowing through his property. Plentiful crops nearby kept them in the area.
"Then the weather switched. Instead of nice weather, we got heavy rains, and after the heavy rains, we had heavy snow, and the deer never left. They ate themselves out of house and home," said John May, Town of Brussels.
May says it was about three weeks ago, when he first saw the result.
"We started to see some dead deer. One of the neighbors called and he spotted some dead deer. Between the two of us, we had 18 dead deer," said May.
DNR wildlife biologists confirmed the deer had starved in the area near Brussels in Door County.
"Most of the mortality reports are last year's fawns. That's kind of a natural thing. They're the first to perish, because of smaller body size, less body reserves, so they run out of energy first," said Jeff Pritzl, DNR district wildlife supervisor.
"The stomachs on the deer were full, but full of spruce needles, old round bales, old hay that they were able to find. Their bodies just couldn't digest it," said May.
The browse line of branches is higher on trees in the area.
DNR biologists said a slow start to spring has kept food sources scarce.
"When you go into winter with a high deer density, you're kind of rolling the dice, and when the conditions line up like they did this year, with this very late spring, you're going to see those kinds of impacts," said Pritzl.
Until then the deer in the area will try to survive.
"It's sad to see what they've been trying to eat, just to make it through," said May.
"If we don't manage that population trend, Mother Nature will do it for us, and that's kind of what we're seeing playing out this spring," said Pritzl.
The DNR biologists said they will be monitoring the fawns that are born this year. Biologists say it could take years for the deer population and the habitat to recover.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Gov. Scott Walker is calling for more trees to be harvested from a national forest in far northern Wisconsin as part of the state's efforts to spur growth in its struggling timber industry.
A man convicted in an arson that was made to look like a hate crime has been sentenced to 16 months in prison.
It could be closing time for many small cinemas across the country.
When is it work? When is it abuse? The line can sometimes be blurry, when it comes to dairy farmers dealing with cows. These questions have recently been raised, after video surfaced, showing animal abuse at a local dairy farm.
When your doctor prescribes medication, you assume it's safe, but some people don't realize how dangerous it can be, if it's abused. A group of local high school students helped make a movie to shine a light on the problem.
We're learning more about what it will take to find out what caused a major fire in downtown Ripon Wednesday.