The harsh winter is generating questions from the public about feeding deer. DNR northern wildlife supervisor Mike Zeckmeister says these are legitimate and compassionate questions but without an easy answers.”I understand people want to try to help deer through a hard winter, but feeding can do more harm than good,” he said. Feeding unmixed corn or hay can actually be harmful to deer in late winter. A commercialized pellet – or mixes containing small quantities of corn, plus alfalfa, oats and soybeans, as well as various vitamins and minerals – is the best choice. The food should be spread out to reduce fighting, kept away from roads or snowmobile trails to avoid collisions, and placed near areas sheltered from the wind.
Deer feeding is regulated under Wisconsin law and is prohibited in counties affected by chronic wasting disease. In all other counties, feeding is limited to a maximum of 2 gallons per site. Feeding sites must be placed within 50 yards of a dwelling or a business building open to the public and may not be placed within 100 yards of a roadway with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or higher.
More information on deer feeding and baiting at the DNR website.