Discourage the long-term feeding of deer. Supplemental feeding is a technique that is sometimes proposed as a method to decrease deer browsing damage. The concept is to feed deer on a year round basis or provide an alternative planting or lure crop in an area that will attract deer away from the area where they are causing damage. This practice may have undesirable outcomes; it can lead to an increase in the overall health of adult deer temporarily, can contribute to an unnaturally high concentration of deer, and can lead to increased deer damage problems.
Concentrating deer may facilitate the spread of diseases between deer, cause the depletion of habitat, and may impact forest regeneration. In suburban and urban areas, feeding deer may also lead to an increase in vehicle strikes near the feeding area. Feeding deer can decrease their fear of humans, which may lead to dangerous deer-human interactions. Likewise, deer concentrated at feeding sites may also increase the risk of people contracting Lyme disease.
Municipalities experiencing deer problems may want to consider imposing restrictions on the feeding of deer, or may want to ban the practice altogether.
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