04/12/2013 03:20 EDT | Updated 06/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Long winter could kill nearly half of Manitoba’s deer

Manitoba Conservation is estimating the province’s unseasonably cold weather will kill off a major amount of deer.

Conservation officials expect 30 to 40 percent of the province’s deer population will die — double the number that normally dies over winter, said Ken Rebizant, Manitoba Conservation’s big game manager.

It could be years before the population recovers, he added.

“In all likelihood, the population will recover within a few years, given of course, that we don’t have another severe winter in the short term,” Rebizant said, adding deer have an amazing reproductive capacity.

Rebizant said the public should not disturb deer this time of year because the animals will expend extra energy.

He added the public should never feed deer because the animals may not be able to digest the food they are given.