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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Do Fat Deer Mean a Hard Winter Ahead?

Since last July I have shared tidbits of information on the signs of nature as they relate to winter weather. It started with acorns and squirrel activity, then woollybear caterpillars and persimmon seeds. The 2011 Farmers’ Almanac has a list of 20 signs. But, this week Shawn from Connecticut weighed in with yet another observation involving deer.

How about wildlife? My hunting friends and I have always seen a correlation between weather forecasting and wildlife observations. Two deer that were taken this year in our CT. bow season had at least 2″ of fat on them. That is not something you see all the time.

Over the years I’ve had deer with 1/4″ to a little over an inch. 2″ of fat is pretty thick. From my experiences it almost always goes hand in hand with what winter is bringing for that particular year. I usually notice the squirrels hard at work earlier than normal on those years too. We saw a lot more black bear sign in my state. I think they were busy preparing this past autumn as well.

In Connecticut, they have had a record winter. In fact, their snow accumulation has put those of us in Maine to shame — not that we are complaining. I am not a deer hunter but I asked a few friends. No one else made the connection of fat on deer and the upcoming winter. But, each commented that 2” was exceptional. So, if you are a hunter and can contribute to this, I would enjoy hearing from you. Meanwhile, we will add the thickness of fat on animals as one of those, now 21, signs of a hard winter.

3 comments

1 Tim Ganschow { 12.23.11 at 7:33 pm }

I also harvested a doe with a large amount of fat on her, at the thickest it was atleast 1 3/4 inches thick. I always skin and cut up my own Venision and was baffled when it spent more time removing fat than skining. I should of taken pictures, but I have noted for future weather reference. We live in north central Kentucky so if you see extreme weather for our area this winter, we may have a new measure for winter. Thanks for your time. Tim

2 kristi collins { 11.22.11 at 9:50 am }

My husband just brought home a doe that we are cutting up ourselves and she is the fattest one we have ever seen, We wondered if it means a harsher winter because she had more than 2″ of fat across her back and my husband was actually dumbfounded by it. We almost always cut up our own meat so this is an uncommon thing for us to find. Plus the acorns were so thick that squirrels were going crazy, We live in the woods so we are aware of changes in nature and animal behavior, Either a lot of snow is coming or it will be very cold is our guess,

3 Outdoorsman { 02.12.11 at 10:17 am }

Hey Peter. I forgot to mention. It is just another observation but, I tend to put more fat on every year in autumn too!

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