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Energy & Environment

Feeding Deer Is Either Not Legal Or Not The Best Idea: Biologist

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The snow is deep in the Northwoods, so the temptation is to help your nearby deer by feeding them.

A DNR expert says this could do more harm than good. DNR wildlife biologist Tim Marien says off the top, because of Chronic Wasting Disease concerns, many areas you can't feed....

"...We have a number of counties where baiting and feeding is banned. Vilas, Oneida, Lincoln line and any of the counties east of there feeding is not allowed. If your in a county where it is still legal, it isn't always the best choice...."

Marien says the deer spend the summer and fall building up their fat reserves for seasons like this. Two popular feeds...corn and hay, are bad for deer as they aren't easily digested. Deer that died of starvation have been found to have full stomachs of hay. There are deer foods mixes available that include oats that help deer.

He says the deer also change behaviors..

"...They're not moving as much and their in more protected areas as they're trying not to waste energy. They're doing things on their own. They don't always need that extra feed that people put out on the landscape to help them...."

He says one idea that can be done in any county in Wisconsin is cut down a branch from an oak, aspen or maple tree and leave it. He says that's their natural browse.

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