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Feeding Deer?

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Mark Christianson

Until its illegal to feed wildlife, I will continue to do so.
Whether its birds or deer. I like to watch the wildlife, and I wouldn't see them in my yard if I wasn't feeding them.
I have salt blocks, trace mineral blocks, corn, hay, sunflower, safflower, suet cakes, etc....
Its just fun!

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Guest

I guess that would be your own call on feeding deer .I'm not as concerned with deer feeding as I'm am with deer and elk farms that import deer from other states . Those have been the one's testing positive for chronic wasting disease . One farm was in Aitkin Co . The DNR had a large testing program this 2003 deer season for CWD and none was found .Seven states and two province's have had CWD .Colorado and Wyoming has had this disease for many years . Guess where deer farms inport there animals . I don't know if you are familiar with the two bad winters we had back in the 80's . Well the deer were starving and the DNR had a deer feeding program going then . THe DNR was giving deer pellets to anyone who would feed the deer . These were 50 lb bags and you could only use snowshoes in the ceder swamps . You had to pull a toboggan to haul the bag's . It was a big job . Funny how things change . Your right on you information that the disease is spread by saliva. My thought is I will keep on feeding the deer until they find there is a problem then I will be the first to stop .Also once you start feeding the deer you have to keep doing it until they can find food themselves . I buy deer pellet's made especially for deer and mix in corn . Just my two cent's worth . Brad Sr

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Boyz in the Woods

Should we be feeding deer in backyard feeders?

I was under the impression that we shouldn't because it can spread harmful diseases in the herd. Feeders unnaturally congregate the deer and allows them to exchange saliva while eating forom the same food source.

I have stopped feeding the deer and putting out mineral blocks because of this.

BOYZ

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Ruttin' Buck

I contacted my local CO about this a few years back and he recommended not doing so unless the winter proved to be very snowy. Feeders or not, deer congregate anyway every winter into virtually the same feeding areas. If the food is difficult to get to, or the herd is large enough to diminish the supply before the end of the winter, the herd suffers.

A very important tidbit of information my CO informed me of that I know alot of people who feed deer disobey is to not feed them strictly corn. If there is enough browse for the deer to feed on in addition to the corn they will be okay. But during hard winters if they only eat corn, their digestive systems do not handle the feed well and sickness can prevail.

I would strongly suggest contacting your local CO before you just start throwing bags of feed out behind the house.

my .02

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Swamp Scooter

True true true Buckblaster. In the winter the deer cannot handle the high protein and amino acid content of the corn / grain. They need the browse. Grass hay is very good. The deal with feeding through winter is that the normal deer yarding areas may be changed due to your feeding. Not bad unless you stop or do not offer the right food at the time. They expend a lot of energy getting to your area and if the food is not right they suffer getting back to the regular hide outs. A couple local does and fawns is one thing but if you are around a yarding area and want to supplement do so where they are at and do not have the deer come to your window.

The best time to feed is after the rut for the bucks to regenerate after breeding. They suffer the most.

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Mark Christianson

I have heard the deer not only suffer from a straight corn diet(if other food is not available), but it can eventually kill them.

My mix is corn, ground horsefeed(corn, oats, molasses and something else), and some hay.
They are looking awfully fat and happy right now.
I think I started feeding in late October this year. I had my trail camera by the feeder through the rut. On Nov 6th I got 2 different 8 pointers and a 6 pointer on film. Obviously nosing around after the does that had been using the feeder.
One thing is very important. Don't start bombarding them with food, and then abruptly stop feeding them in mid winter.
If you start, finish out the winter.
You're gonna make things more difficult for them, if they have artificially been lured from traditional yarding areas.
I don't have much to worry about. At work, they only have about 20 acres of land they live on all year.
At home, I have a river bottoms area that is behind the house with a vast swamp area.
Lots of browse to supplement my feeding at home. No idea if its a traditional area they used as wintering before I showed up, I have to guess it had to be with all the brush and cover.

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Boyz in the Woods

Thanks for all the input.
I also enjoy seeing wildlife in my backyard. That's why I live where I do. Every evening we watch 6 deer cross the river ice and walk up the trail toward some houses. I'm sure someone is feeding them. We probably wouldn't see them if they weren't on their way to a feeder. I just don't know if it's the responsible thing to do, but...unless we get an outbreak of CWD in our area (SE MN) it's probably OK.

Thanks again for all of the input.

BOYZ

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