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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Deer Herd increases with Supplemental Feeding

Supplemental feeding of deer is gaining popularity in Wisconsin. Practiced primarily during late autumn, winter, and early spring, deer feeding involves placing grains, apples, hay, and other feeds where deer will find and consume them.

A diverse array of people feed deer. Many are suburbanites who feed a few deer; others provide supplemental food to literally hundreds of deer within deer wintering areas. Deer feeding sites are sometimes maintained by municipalities, which commit a portion of their tax revenues to deer feeding, or by businesses that fund deer feeding operations as a cost of doing business.

People are motivated to feed deer for a variety of reasons. They may believe deer cannot survive winter without supplemental food, or they believe that feeding deer in winter will result in a larger, huntable population the next year. Suburban landowners may believe supplemental foods will divert deer away from expensive shrubbery, hence reducing landscaping costs. Others simply enjoy seeing deer at close range. Some business owners know that attracting deer also attracts customers.

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