The white-tailed deer range in Manitoba exists south of Flin Flon in the northwest and the Bloodvein River in the southeast. Isolated summer reports of white-tailed deer have come from Lynn Lake and Herchmer, approximately 140 km south of Churchill. Its northern range is likely limited by the severity of the winters and the limited food supply.
The white-tailed deer is the most abundant and readily-seen big game animal. High deer numbers are seen in the province in spite of the historic loss of winter forest shelter to agriculture and urban development. Population estimates remain between 150,000 and 160,000. A historic peak of about 250,000 occurred in the summer of 1995, in contrast to a low of 60,000 in 1974. The severe winter of 1995/96 increased deer mortality, and a subsequent overall drop in provincial population was observed by January 1997. Locally, mortality was offset where agricultural forages were accessible (typically as hay bales) and where emergency feeding programs were initiated. An emergency program was again initiated in early 1997, when an even more severe winter occurred.
The abundance and proximity of white-tailed deer to populated areas continues to provide excellent opportunities for viewing and interpretive programs. Responsive management ensures that deer meet the demand of licenced and Treaty Indian hunters. In urban and peri-urban areas, increasing deer numbers may contribute to greater numbers of deer-vehicle collisions. Agricultural forage and specialty crops, tree nurseries, market gardens and ornamental plantings continue to experience damage from deer feeding.
The continued loss of forested cover to cultivation and development increases the vulnerability of deer to severe winter weather, predators and hunting. Habitat reduction may eventually reduce deer numbers in southern Manitoba even though productivity and fawn survival remains high with the availability of agricultural forage.