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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
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October 2, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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October 2, 2019
 

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Page 23 MONROE OUTDOORS by Terry W. lohnson Drought robs deer of food soces ry conditions on the opening day of the annual Firearms Deer Season are not unique. In fact, I can remember several occasions when deer hunters were con- wildlife biologists refer to as forbs. Forbs include a wide range of herbaceous broad-leaved plants such as wildflowers, legumes and a number of other plants we simply refer to as weeds. Forbs are perhaps the most underrated cemed that the fire hazard raised food plants in the whitetail’s diet. by dry weather would force open— This is ironic because from spring ing day to be pushed back until through fall they are a great rain alleviated the threat of wild- source of nutrition; they are par- fires. Fortunately, ticularly high in protein. in each instance the Deer simply love ‘em so season opened on much they often choose to time. eat them instead of their This year is shap- favorite woody plants. ing up to be no In fact, they are so im- different. Nowadays portant, in many places, Monroe County is they are considered the so dry that walking white-tailed deer’s most across our lawns important source of food. we hear a crunch- This fact was demon- in sound created strated b the results of one wlglen our weight TERRY w' JOHNSON study theft revealed forbs crushes dry blades comprised a whopping 81 of grass. Should the fact that we percent of the whitetail’s diet. have just experienced one of the This year Monroe County hottest and driest summers on record concern Monroe County deer hunters? Even though there is not much chance opening day will be delayed, we should indeed be concerned for a far different reason. Extreme drought can have a del— eterious impact on White-tailed deer in many ways. However, far and away its greatest impact is on the quality and quantity of white- tailed deer food plants. Deer eat a variety of diiferent foods. The lengthy list of such plants includes the likes of woody plants, grasses, fruits, berries, nuts and plants Whitetails have had a difficult time locating an ample supply of suc- culent, nutrition-rich forbs. Like grasses, woody browse plants, and other deer foods, countless forbs have withered and even died before they could flower. As a result, the forbs that have found a way to survive the drought have been less palatable and nutri- tious. This translates into reduced antler growth in bucks and does producing less milk to feed their fawns. This can, in turn, reduce the number of fawns that will survive into the fall and beyond. It can also retard the skeletal growth . Rep""”“"““""’orter of this year’s fawns. Drought also severely impacts berry, seed, and fruit production. One savvy deer hunter recently told me she has discovered mus- cadines that have prematurely withered to nothing more than raisins and persimmons to be no more than a fraction of their normal size. A number of studies have found drought can also have a severe impact on the size of the acorn crop produced by a variety of species of oaks. It seems that during drought years, many oaks produce fewer acorns. Since the drought has extended into fall, dry soil conditions have stalled efforts to plant winter deer food plots. The winter grazing provided by these patches can provide Whitetails with much— needed nutrition at a time food is scarce. Typically, a paucity of food will force deer to travel greater dis- tances to find enough to eat. This, in turn, can potentially increase the number of deer harvested this season. In some parts'of the country, a lack of rain forces deer to aban— don certain habitats. Fortunately, it has never been documented as being a significant problem in the Peach State. Here in Monroe County, for example, an abun- dance of lakes, small ponds, streams, and rivers provide deer with water during all seasons of the year. ' It is obvious though, if this weather pattern does not soon October 2, 2019 The impact of drought on food supply reduces antler growth, fawn survival and skeletal growth of surviving towns. (Photo/Steve Kyles) change, we are going to be faced with one of the driest hunting seasons on record. This means, we should all use extreme cau- tion not to let our actions result in a wildfire. All it would take is sparks from a campfire and a carelessly tossed match or cigarette to ignite a wildfire that could quickly destroy acres of wildlife habitat. Should that occur, it might takes years for food cover plants that benefit white-tailed deer and a host of other wildlife species to recover. It does appear the 2019—20 deer season may be onerof the most challenging seasons you have ever experienced. Terry Johnson is retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame— Endangered Wildlife Program. He has written the informative 'column ‘Monroe Outdoors’ for the Reporter for many years. His book, ‘14 Journey to Discovery,” is avail- able at The Reporter. Email him at tjwoodduck@bellsouth.net. Monroe County iust m Club earlier this year. cluded: Conner Dicker Michael Bittick) arked the fifth anniversary of the death of deputy Michael Norris, and the second annual Golf Tournament in his memory was held at Forsyth Golt Above left: the first place team in- son, Craig Dickerson, Wayne Whita- ker and Thomas Wilson. Above right: the second place team included: Josh Ayer, John Thompson, Brett Upson and Brad White. At left: tournament volunteers worked hours to prepare to make the 20l9 tourney a success. (Photos/ Monroe County Rec Department 2019 soccer scores Sept. 9 U14 -- Firestorm 3, Galaxy 0 U16 —- Butler 6, Jackets FC 6 so MP 109D Road; 478-994-9911 1010‘ (166035?! 0112518 Sept. 10 U8 Goalbusters 7, Bulldogs 2 U8 Mustangs 12, Overdrive 0 U8 -— Tyrants 4, Firestorm 0 U8 Cruisers 5, Blazers O U10 —- Cruisers 5’ Mighty calmly and manage we _g Ducks 1 U10 Strikers 4, Warriors 2 U12 Crazy Cleats 5, MC United 1 Sept. 12 U8 -— Mustangs 6, Firestorm 1 U8 -- Blazers 3, Tyrants 2 U8 -— Goalbusters 7, Cruisers 0 U8 —— Bulldogs 11, Overdrive 1 U10 —— Strikers 9, Fireball 0 U10 FC Champs 5, After- shock O U12 Crazy Cleats 3, Sharks 2 U12 —- Dragons 3, MC United 3 BRYANT'S COLLISION FULL SERVlCE COLLISION REPAIR CENTER Locally Owned and Operated 0 Full Service Collision Center - 40 Years Combined Experience - Certified Technicians v We Work With All Insurance Companies ' fill-1" Estimates! 177 N. Indian Springs Drive - Forsyth. GA Phone: 478-974-0680 - Fax: 478-974-0640 U14 -- Jackets FC 5, Galaxy 0 U16 —— LC 8, MCRD 1 ' Sept. 16 U12 -- Sharks 8, Dragons O U14 -- Firestorm 2, Galaxy 2 U16 -- Jackets FC 5, Butler 4 Sept. 17 U8 -- Tyrants 2, Bulldogs 2 U8 -- Goalbusters 3, Mustangs 1 U8 -- Firestorm 5, Overdrive 1 U8 -- Cruisers 3, Blazers 0 U10 -- Cruisers 12, Warriors 1 U10 Strikers 5, Mighty Ducks 3 ACCOUNT TT\ 11x HOPKINS ASSOCIATES U10 -- FC Champs 10, After— shock 2 Sept. 19 U8 -- Bulldogs 3, Firestorm 1 U8 —- Mustangs 6, Blazers 0 U8 -- Cruisers 8, Overdrive 0 U8 -— Goalbusters 4, Tyrants 1 U10 -— Aftershock 3, Fireball 1 U10 -- FC Champs 11, Mighty Ducks 1 U12 —- Sharks 3, MC United 3 U12 -- Crazy Cleats 7, Dragons 1 U14 -- Jackets FC 8, Firestorm 5 ING PROFESSIONALS. Busmfess CONSULTANTS. , Tax ' Audit ' Bookkeeping IRS Reprmenmtion Certified Public Accountants 68 Northjackson Street Forsyth (p) 478-994-1820 - (f) 478-994-3102 www.hopkinscpaga.com Serving Forsythfirr more than 40 years!