People are seeing lots of twin fawns with adult does this spring, a sign that recent mild winters are allowing the deer population to rebound somewhat across Northeastern Minnesota.
“The deer came through in great shape,” said Chris Balzer, Department of Natural Resources area wildlife manager at Cloquet. “You’d expect to have a good fawn crop after a winter like that, and, anecdotally speaking, we’re seeing quite a few fawns. Mostly, twin fawns seem to be the norm. It definitely seems we’re on the rise.”
That will come as good news to deer hunters, whose past couple of seasons have been challenging at best. A series of tough winters had taken their toll on the deer herd, and most hunters have seen few deer in recent years.
Severe winters can cause does to lose the fawns they’re carrying, Balzer said.
“Through nutritional restrictions and stress, they can lose one or both of those fawns,” he said. “It also makes fawns born alive weak and have lower survival. It’s kind of a double-whammy.”
Balzer said he’s seeing plenty of twin fawns.
“If things are good, the deer herd can grow 30 percent or so in a year,” he said. “But 30 percent of a low number is still low. It takes a while to build some momentum, but now we’ve had two mild winters in a row.”
Most deer permit areas across Northeastern Minnesota remain slightly below deer-density goals or around the goal range, Balzer said.
In the Grand Rapids area, DNR wildlife manager Perry Loegering said he isn’t seeing a lot of twin fawns yet.
“I’m seeing twins and singles,” Loegering said, “but more with a single than with two. It’s a little more than you would think. But there’s nothing scientific about it. We aren’t thinking there are fewer fawns out there.”
Loegering says he gets reports from people seeing more yearling bucks, “which makes sense from the good fawn crop last year.”
“There are definitely more deer around, especially in spots we haven’t seen deer for a while — deer and deer sign,” he said.
Balzer said he expects Minnesota’s deer season to be a conservative season again, but not quite as conservative as the past two seasons, when few antlerless deer permits were available.
A healthy doe typically will have two fawns, Balzer said. Triplet fawns are rare, he said, but do occur.