June 4, 2023

Arizona Drought Deadly For Deer Herd

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The past year has seen drought conditions throughout Arizona adding insult to misery as a decade-long drought has persisted. This prolonged dry spell has caused reductions in white tail and mule deer by 20%-80% and the deer are heading into a crucial time as early summer means the birth of fawns.

The mother deer are searching for food more and more the farther they go into the pregnancy. With little food left to nourish the mothers, the fetuses aren’t getting proper nourishment either. This means the little guys will be born smaller and weaker and have little hope of surviving but only a few days.

The drought sets off a chain of events affecting all wildlife as well as humans. Animals such as the mountain lion depend on young deer as part of its food chain and without enough to go around, the lion may be forced to look for food eslewhere. This alarms residents of towns because the cats come into their neighborhoods in search of javelina, rabbits, coyote and sometimes bobcat.

The loss of hunting opportunities will mean a reduction in revenues generated by hunters from buying licenses to the purchase of gear for their outdoor trips. Each successive year continues this chain reaction of a reduction in deer and other animals. The state is hoping for much needed rains that would put an end to the prolonged drought and get wildlife back on it’s feet again.

Tom Remington