A warm November could impact some wildlife species
While this week’s forecast is looking a bit more like what we expect for the Northwoods in November, last week’s temperatures were 10 to 15 degrees warmer than we normally experience.
The warm weather can send the wrong signal to some of our local wildlife.
After 30-plus years working with wildlife, Wild Instincts Director of Rehabilitation Mark Naniot says the animals tell him a lot about the weather.
“You can kind of predict the weather almost by what the animals are doing. It's kind of a fun job in that aspect,” said Naniot. “What we see a lot of times with the animals when they come in, what kind of shape they are in a lot of times is going to be indicative of what the winter is going to be like. Sometimes it's like a little bit of a barometer.”
This year, Naniot says it’s looking like a delayed winter based on some of very late babies born this year.
“We've got one late fawn that was probably born around the first of September. We're seeing some very, very late squirrels,” he said. “Normally by the first week or so of October all have our baby squirrels that we have are released. We've got some that are still a week or two away from release yet.”
Having a warm spell after a snowfall like we saw earlier this fall can send some confusing signals to animals, especially the hibernating ones.
Bears might be more active now than they typically would be around this time.
Naniot is particularly concerned about bats who usually get all their food for the year in four-to-five-month period.
“Things may warm up, they may come out fly around for a little while, there's really not any insects out because they've already gone dormant, so they use up more fat reserves. Sometimes it can make it more difficult for certain animals like that,” said Naniot.
You also may see migratory species hanging around a bit longer this year.
Naniot expects to get a few calls from people concerned about young loons still on the lakes.
“It's not really unusual for them to hang around as long as you know they can to mature a little bit more and there's really no reason for them to go until the weather gets really bad. So and then there's a lot of other migrants coming through.”
Naniot says people can call Wild Instincts if anyone has concerns about the wildlife they’re seeing.
The recent warm weather may also mean conditions might not be the best for the 9-day gun deer hunt this year, but that’s not stopping hunters from hitting the woods.
Wild Instincts Wildlife Rehabilitation in Rhinelander hopes hunters will keep them in mind.
Each year, they ask hunters for deer meat and hearts.
Naniot says they’ve gotten more selective about what they’ll take. They’ll no longer take carcasses.
“Disposal is getting to be the issue. A lot of it is CWD related because we don't know where some of these carcasses come from. We don't want to just put them out back and let them kind of decay or let the animals feed on part of them and then put them out there in the landscape,” he said.
Wild Instincts keeps coolers out front for hunters to drop off donations. You can also drop them off inside from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Naniot asks hunters to note if arrows or ammo were used to kill the deer and if they contained lead.
“I'll get up on my soapbox again and tell everybody to use safer alternatives for non-lead ammunition and fishing equipment,” said Naniot. “The gun season is when we typically see our biggest spike of eagle admissions with lead poisoning.”
Naniot says they typically see between 8 to 10 eagles with lead poisoning in the weeks after the gun deer season.