Monday, April 15, 2013

Coming Back Home – with my family in Saskatchewan – Part Two

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Coming Back Home – with my family in Saskatchewan – Part Two

As we have traveled across the Province of Saskatchewan it is amazing to see the amount of snow that this part of our country has received.  It is mountain high in some places.  And it is hard to believe.

Other parts of Canada have received a lot of snow as well but the situation is not nearly as grave as it is here.  The officials are holding meeting after meeting getting ready for potentially large flooding problems across the Province.  It is very serious to say the least.

The problem is that when the melt takes place it is going to be fast and the water has very few places to go as it drains away. The land is basically flat with the very old water ways in place. These water ways drain the normal amounts of water but have not seen this amount of potential water for a long, long time.

Now add to that the fact when the snow is melting it will likely also be the rainy season starting… which is much more water on top of what will be on the flat land.  It is probable that many roads will be washed away and entire transportation routes will be destroyed.  Not a prophecy but rather a report from some emergency measure folk that are planning for the worst case scenarios.

Washouts happened in 2011 and major sections of Canada’s main highway simply went out into the fields as the water rushed over the highway.

We have witnessed an early tragedy however. It is not the flooding that has been the danger – it is the depth of the snow itself – along with the frozen, iced surface of the snow banks. It is beautiful to see but lethal for the wild life to the province.  In particular the White Tail deer population has been hit hard.

A number of times we have seen the carcass of the deer laying on top of the snow bank with the crows and ravens feeding on the remains.  The usual vehicle/deer collision is not the problem – it has been either the coyote or starvation that has taken the poor animals.  In their weakened state they are easy picking for the coyote or wolf packs that feed on these creatures.

Then yesterday we saw the huge herds of deer gathered at different places looking for food.

In one area the deer had walked right into the cattle pen to eat along with the cows.  They were less than 20 feet from the highway.  And they were small in body compared to other years.

Here is the photo evidence…

Then on top of a hill near the highway I counted at least 25 deer gathered and all with their heads down and front hooves digging at the bare hill top. On that hill the snow had either melted of had not collected into drifts because of the high winds. The deer were working hard to find something.

A hunter friend of mine told me that in years like this most of the fawn that are born to the doe (mother deer) will die.  The snow is too hard and the young are very exposed making it easy for the predators to pick them off. The predator is also starving in some areas with their normal prey dead or moving away to other places.

It has been one of the hardest winters in history.  And it is very sad to see.  Where is the warm weather and when will the big melt come? That is the question on everyone’s heart and mind.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
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