WILDLIFE

Utah’s wildlife impacted by historic snowfall

Apr 20, 2023, 3:00 PM

As summer approaches and gardens begin blooming, Utah's wildlife is soon to follow. Dax Mangus, Big...

In the winter, deer visit lower elevation areas where food is a little easier to find. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY  —  Utah’s record-breaking snowfall brought changes to Utah’s wildlife.

The deep snow in northern Utah has been hard for the mule deer and different grouse and waterfowl species. However, the moisture has been a positive thing for Utah’s fish and for southern Utah’s deer.

Negative effects of Utah’s historic snowfall

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Public Information Officer Faith Heaton Jolley said the depth of this year’s snow made food scarce for mule deer in northern Utah.

“Currently we are projecting a 70% loss of adult deer and a 90% fawn loss in one [hunting area] unit of northern Utah,” Jolley said.. 

The DWR implemented emergency feeding this winter in a number of counties in northern Utah. Also with that, there were restrictions for shed antler hunting to reduce the number of disturbances for the deer. In addition, the DWR has extended some closures of wildlife management areas until the end of April, according to Jolley.

Jolley also said that the DWR has received reports from their biologists that the mating season for upland game, such as grouse and pheasants, has been delayed. “Typically, late March and early April the sage grouse species will be out doing their normal mating.” said Jolley, “but this year, due to the snowpack that has been delayed.”

She added that that is too early to know if that will affect their population this year, but that is something they have been concerned about and watching. 

Water is helping some of Utah’s wildlife

“Deer herds are doing really well in southern Utah,” said Jolley. “We are seeing a higher survival rate than normal.”

With the moisture that the southern part of the state has received, plants and vegetation are greening up earlier. The melting snow has aided in giving the deer more water and green food to eat. 

Additionally, the more water, the better for Utah’s fish and other aquatic species. Sometimes, when we have flooding and landslides it can muddy up the waters and make it hard for the fish, but this year they haven’t had any reports of that, according to Jolley. Things are looking much better for the fish in our state as we come out of the drought.

Overall, this winter has had both positive and negative effects on the wildlife around Utah. As time goes on we will better know how to help out those species that are waning and adjust to the needs of those animals. 

Related Reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Wildlife

In this remote camera image released by Friends of Big Bear Valley, are a pair of bald eagles stand...

Associated Press

Hatch watch is underway at a California bald eagle nest monitored by a popular online camera feed

Southern California Mountains has an eagle laying on her eggs while people watch to see the eggs hatch from a video on their devices.

3 days ago

FILE: Jerry Monson helps his grandson Logan Webb with his orange while in camp above the Strawberry...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Bill would reduce amount of orange Utah hunters must wear

A bill would reduce the amount of orange required by hunters.

5 days ago

Endangered Utah butterfly...

Ashley Imlay, KSL.com

Rare Utah butterfly lands on list of species at risk of extinction

A petition to list the Utah butterfly as threatened was submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service more than 10 years ago.

7 days ago

Motorists travel under a wildlife crossing bridge spanning I-80 in Parleys Canyon on Tuesday, Oct. ...

Mariah Maynes

Save People Save Wildlife urges creation of wildlife passageway on SR 224

Save People Save Wildlife has urged Park City's council to add a wildlife passageway on S.R. 224 to its 2024 strategic plan. The organization presented its case to the council on February 15. 

13 days ago

Natural Resources...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Utah Division of Natural Resources wants to combine police agencies

The Utah Division of Natural Resources is seeking to combine its four law enforcements agencies into one unit.

13 days ago

A mountain lion first seen on the campus of USU on Tuesday morning later made their way to a nearby...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Mountain lion spotted at USU on Tuesday was found, captured

The mountain lion was first spotted on the USU campus, lounging in a tree near the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Utah’s wildlife impacted by historic snowfall