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#4628039 - 01/08/18 10:57 AM Feeding deer in winter?
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 3042
Loc: NJ
We have a bunch of deer that visit our backyard. Most we've seen is 7 in the yard. Never seen a buck but can tell there are does and their offspring who try to suckle. They're cute and we enjoy watching them frolic; often at night with the motion detect spot lights shining on them.

The ground has been snow covered recently and the deer seem more active. Thought about putting food out for them to help them through the winter. Read that the wrong type of food can kill them. That their digestive systems have switched over to winter type foods and feeding them summer type food and be deadly. Also, don't want the deer to be waiting in my backyard for me to get home from work so they can eat dinner.

Any success stories on how to go about this or just let nature take its course?
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#4628043 - 01/08/18 11:04 AM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
PimTac Offline


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4298
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Id let them forage for themselves.
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#4628048 - 01/08/18 11:09 AM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
Ethan1 Offline


Registered: 12/29/14
Posts: 1632
Loc: 'murica
Reminds me of this.

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#4628050 - 01/08/18 11:14 AM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
Mr Nice Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 21196
Loc: Orlando, FL
Don't feed the deer, you're trying to be nice but in reality you're not doing the right thing.

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#4628067 - 01/08/18 11:27 AM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
Virtus_Probi Offline


Registered: 06/25/15
Posts: 3970
Loc: New England
We put some corn out in the woods for the deer right after we moved to New England and ended up attracting a really skeevy looking raccoon that acted strangely and just wouldn't go away. We were about to call the town about it before it abruptly disappeared.
Just be aware that other animals you don't like so much will likely also find the food...the deer have plenty to eat now that our plantings have matured.
We do still feed birds and have to deal with the endlessly inventive squirrels finding ways to pilfer the seeds...one of the feeders has collapsible perches and we used to use plastic hoods for the other two, but the hoods cracked and need to be replaced somehow. We also (re)learned to put the feeders away at the first sign of spring after having three bears visit in the wee hours last April.
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#4628069 - 01/08/18 11:31 AM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Mr Nice]
jeepman3071 Offline


Registered: 04/15/10
Posts: 4216
Loc: Storrs, Connecticut
Originally Posted By: Mr Nice
Don't feed the deer, you're trying to be nice but in reality you're not doing the right thing.


This.

If you feed them they will become more dependent on neighborhood settings for food, will become less afraid of people, etc. We have someone in my neighborhood who feeds the deer. Now the herd has doubled in size, and they are destroying lots of plants and lawns. They are active in the neighborhood at all hours of the day and have become less afraid of people. I see a few almost every night and they are often crossing the road.
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#4628095 - 01/08/18 11:54 AM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
zzyzzx Offline


Registered: 05/18/12
Posts: 4372
Loc: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
In central Maryland, deer are seemingly abundant as squirrels. I would not worry about them going out if existence if not fed.

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#4628102 - 01/08/18 11:58 AM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: jeepman3071]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 3042
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: jeepman3071
Originally Posted By: Mr Nice
Don't feed the deer, you're trying to be nice but in reality you're not doing the right thing.


This.

If you feed them they will become more dependent on neighborhood settings for food, will become less afraid of people, etc. We have someone in my neighborhood who feeds the deer. Now the herd has doubled in size, and they are destroying lots of plants and lawns. They are active in the neighborhood at all hours of the day and have become less afraid of people. I see a few almost every night and they are often crossing the road.


That's a reason I don't want to feed them.

I was thinking just feed them enough so they don't perish over the winter. But then nature is cruel but sometimes that is just how it has to be.

It's interesting how the wild animal population has changed in the 15 years I've been in he house in what was once farmland. At first it was a lot of foxes and a few rabbits. Then it was a lot of rabbits and a few foxes. Now, it's almost all rabbits and deer. The predators have mostly disappeared. I can do without the rabbit death screams in the woods at night that I heard 15 years ago.
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#4628116 - 01/08/18 12:18 PM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
SVTCobra Offline


Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 701
Loc: Battle Creek, MI
I agree with others not to feed the deer, but if you decide to anyway just for fun feed them hay. Buddy of mine buys hay off of me to attract them to watch behind his house. Other animals don't tend to mess with it so it shouldn't attract too many other pests.
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#4628117 - 01/08/18 12:18 PM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
ZZman Offline


Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 5786
Loc: Michigan
Loose corn or sugar beets. But I don't really feed them but love to watch them. A big salt block or sweet lick block brings em around.


Edited by ZZman (01/08/18 12:21 PM)
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#4628138 - 01/08/18 12:48 PM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
AZjeff Offline


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2642
Loc: PV Az
Leo99, you were right in you first post about their digestive systems changing for winter forage. Don't do it. Putting corn out for deer in winter is about the worst thing you can do to them.
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#4628159 - 01/08/18 01:04 PM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
DoubleWasp Offline


Registered: 05/21/12
Posts: 5236
Loc: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Humans love animal feeders because they are helping the animals and get to watch them.

Predators love animal feeders, because they know it's a great place to find animals, or a snack.

Bears should be in hibernation by now, and I don't know the animal diversity in your area, but you could be inviting something you won't like.
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#4628172 - 01/08/18 01:13 PM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20457
Loc: Upstate NY
I do not think it's legal in NY.
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#4628181 - 01/08/18 01:22 PM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
Pajero Online   content


Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 857
Loc: Rio Rancho, NM
Leo99, I commend you for caring. But, let nature handle the deer. They were here before us and perhaps after us. You are correct about their digestive system. Deer should fear humans, in order to survive.

Funny story, many years ago I was on a nature trail in a National Park in Louisiana (swamps). I grabbed a lizard and fed an alligator (safe distance). I was escorted out of the park by a Ranger for feeding wildlife. I was doing more harm than good. We don't want the alligators associating humans with food. My thinking at the time was not feeding them human food.

Respectfully,

Pajero!
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#4628193 - 01/08/18 01:28 PM Re: Feeding deer in winter? [Re: Leo99]
rustypigeon Offline


Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 211
Loc: PA USA
Feeding of deer contributes to the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. This is a big problem in some states.

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