DNR urges public to stop feeding deer during winter months

DNR urges public to stop feeding deer
DNR urges public to stop feeding deer(KBJR)
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 3:06 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - While it may be out of generosity, leaving out feed for deer during cold weather conditions causes more harm than good.

The Department of Natural Resources urges the public to avoid feeding deer. That includes leaving out corn, alfalfa and other feed for them in your backyard.

The deer population is naturally well-adapted to surviving in winter conditions, DNR explains. With a slower metabolism and gut adjustments in winter months, the foods people are likely to leave out can cause severe digestive issues and even death.

Winter feeding can also negatively impact deer by drawing them out of their range where food is naturally available, causing them to use more energy than necessary. This can also cause deer to congregate which increases the risk of transmitting diseases.

According to the DNR, the risk to the deer population outweighs any temporary perceived benefits to the individual deer. Improving their habitat is a more sustainable long-term solution to give the deer and wildlife population the resources they need during winter and summer months.

Deer feeding is currently illegal in most Wisconsin counties and where it is legal, restrictions may be in place. Visit the DNR’s website to see a full list of wildlife feeding regulations.

For resources to help landowners improve their land for wildlife, visit the Deer Management Assistance Program, the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership and the Landowner Incentive Program websites.

Click here to download the NBC15 News app or our NBC15 First Alert weather app.