Tonight’s topic is numbers. Deer hunting uses all kinds of numbers for example; horn score, ballistics, success rate, cost of hunts, dates, shooting times, etc. As an outfitter some of the most important numbers create the Winter Severity Index ( WSI ). This system of simple math helps us determine how our deer are fairing. Each day throughout the winter months that the snow is deeper than 18 inches or the temperature falls below 0° F we count a point for each negative attribute. WSI- Scale Less than 50 – mild 50 – 79 – moderate 80 – 99 – severe Greater than 100 – very severe There are other factors that influence deer mortality in winter such as predators but we are very lucky to have John Koop taking care of these guys. A healthy doe will enter winter with a 90 day reserve of fat that will get her through these days of below 0 F and snow deeper than 18 inches, mature bucks that have ran their fat reserves down don’t have such a luxury and that’s why WSI is so important the lower the score the better the chances of survival for the mature bucks. Also our December feeding helps to put back on some weight. Our previous 2 winters have had both deep snow and many cold days putting our WSI score well over 100 and consequently large kill offs. Today the WSI score for this winter is approximately 60, and John assures me there is only about 6 inches of snow in the thick spruce from all our warm spells. These pockets of deep spruce provide feed and shelter during the winter months. I get asked often how our winter is going and using these numbers I can tell you great!! As mentioned earlier the 90 day fat reserve can be complimented by our intense feeding program that ran until the end of December. In closing we have to look at our hunters success rates even through these abnormal winters. Looking at our gallery on the website shows we still produced great bucks and with the return to a low end moderate score the deer are wintering great.