Wildlife endures the long winter, with some exceptions

Despite this week’s warm-up, there’s still plenty of freezing winter ahead and wild animals are far from immune to cold blasts. Greg Wagner, with Nebraska Game & Parks, says state wildlife officials don’t expect to see much winter kill among the bigger creatures.
Wagner says the larger more mobile species like deer and turkey are doing fine, given all the standing corn which they can use for food and cover.
Wagner says some of the smaller critters may have suffered, especially over the past five or six weeks when temperatures and wind chills were bitterly cold. He says many pheasants and quail, which are much smaller, were undoubtedly lost in the last stretch of frigid weather.
Wagner says they are also running into what they call “bucket biologists” this winter. Those are fishermen who leave small fish on the ice to die, in hopes of improving the catch from that lake.
He urges anglers not to do that, as it’s illegal and punishable by a fine of several hundred dollars. Wagner say to put the fish back in the water, or face the penalties. He says they have seen that practice on several sandhills lakes in the past few weeks.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton