Ask The Biologist

Not in Kansas Anymore

Not in Kansas Anymore

By Bob Humphrey

Do extreme weather events like tornados drive deer out of an area?

QUESTION: I live pretty in central Alabama. I have pictures of really nice deer from spring, but since a tornado that came through in April I haven’t seen much activity. Is it possible the tornado did so much damage that the herd moved-on?

ANSWER: Anything is possible, although it’s more likely the effect is only temporary. Major habitat disturbance can alter use and movement patterns, but deer are extremely versatile and adaptive creatures.

Logging is fairly common in areas I hunt, and the deer sometimes temporarily move out of areas of intensive logging. However, they do return, and even though the habitat may be drastically different, they often resume using the same trails and travel routes. Furthermore, increased sunlight resulting from both logging natural catastrophes like tornadoes prompts new growth. In a year or two, there will be more food and cover for the deer. Be patient; they’ll be back.

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