State wildlife officials are concerned about Utah's deer herds during this week's deep freeze and are asking people to avoid them.
Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said that despite the cold temperatures, Utah's deer herds are doing well.
"Fortunately," he said, "deer went into the winter with an average layer of fat on them. And the snow depth in most of the state is not covering the vegetation."
If conditions deteriorate, however, DWR is prepared to purchase pellets specially designed to give deer extra energy to deal with cold temperatures and deep snow.
The public is being asked to avoid disturbing deer, which burn some of their precious fat reserves to escape a perceived threat.
DWR offers other tips on helping deer:
• In the backcountry, keep your dog on a leash. Don't let your dog harass deer.
• If you encounter deer while hiking, skiing or snowmobiling, give the animals plenty of space and remain as quiet as you can.
• Slow down while driving through areas where deer live, especially at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active.
• Pay attention to wildlife crossing signs.
• Watch for movement along the side of the road. If you spot one deer, there's a good chance other deer are with it.
A new website, www.watchfordeerutah.com, provides more information about deer behavior and how to drive safely in deer country.