DNR Fish and Wildlife Almanac

January 14, 2021

 Updated winter severity index maps available
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife research staff have taken a fresh look at the last 36 years of winter weather data to update the winter severity index maps and criteria for mild, moderate and severe winters. A new webpage explores how winter influences deer survival and how a wide variety of other factors such as habitat, food availability and timing of spring green-up can compound or buffer the impacts of a severe winter.

Widely varying ice conditions in Minnesota highlight need for safety precautions
Recent reports of vehicles breaking through the ice underscore the need for ice anglers and others to check ice thickness. The date on the calendar or old tracks in the snow have no bearing on what the ice is like today. Because conditions can vary widely even on the same body of water, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends people check ice thickness at least every 150 feet. Anyone heading onto the ice should have ice picks easily accessible and wear a life jacket or other flotation device (except when they’re inside a vehicle). The DNR’s ice safety page has more safety tips and ice-thickness recommendations.