There could be other effects as well.
"When deer go into the winter in less-than-optimum condition, the effects could show up next spring with does having fewer fawns, and next fall with bucks having smaller antlers," Johansen explained.
"Mature does usually have twin fawns. But if those does are in poor shape, we may see more of them having single fawns, or not producing fawns at all."
Hunters are already seeing poor nutrition's effect on antler size. By all accounts, bucks checked-in during this season's first week had smaller racks, on average, than did bucks in 2012.
Johansen attributed the decline to last fall's spotty acorn crop, and he said this fall's especially poor crop could retard next year's antler growth as much if not more.
Widespread starvation is highly unlikely to happen. Usually "winterkill" occurs in pockets, and mostly then in the state's high mountains. Johansen said the deer he examined this year at a Raleigh County game-checking station "appeared to be in good health" - not fat, but not skinny either.
The most likely effects will appear during the fawning season, when fewer young deer are born; and next fall, when bucks sports smaller antlers than they otherwise might have.
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.