Oh, deer. What you should know about feeding your neighborhood deer.

Jan 8, 2016

Sure, you have a soft heart and good intentions but feeding deer is not in their best interests, or yours.

Depending on what you feed them, deer may actually be harmed by your feeding. Some foods will kill them within a few days or debilitate them enough to be easy targets for predators and automobiles. Feeding is also a way of domesticating deer. Tame deer create a host of other problems. Because they no longer fear people, they become more vulnerable to hunters. They are emboldened to encroach on your property, eat the shrubs in your vicinity, and deer are pretty good at getting the word out when they find supplies of food; especially during the winter when food tends to be more scarce. As a result, you'll soon have more deer in your yard. More deer means the probability of more deer ticks. Deer ticks, of course, often carry Lyme disease, which can be devastating to those you hold dear. Also, concentrations of deer attract predators like coyotes and wolves—who will gladly kill your pets along with the deer.

Deer adapt very easily to people, but they don’t need to be fed by them. They survive fine on their own. Better, in fact. Usually the weather controls deer populations, but deer fed by people increase regardless of the weather. This leads to overpopulation and disease. Deer browsing in the back yard may be charming, but Lyme disease and road kill are not.

Please don’t feed the deer; let nature do its job.


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