Posts Tagged ‘consequences of feeding deer’

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

DEC: Consequences of Feeding Deer in Winter

Deer in winter

Now that white-tailed deer hunting seasons have ended throughout most of New York State, it may be tempting to begin feeding deer to “help” them through the winter. However, feeding deer during the winter or other times of the year is unnecessary, prohibited in New York, and can have very negative consequences for deer, your neighbors, and surrounding wildlife habitat.

During the winter, deer mainly rely on woody vegetation (known as woody browse) for their nutritional needs. The digestive enzymes in a deer’s stomach change in the winter to better digest this browse. If deer are provided with unnatural food sources such as corn or hay after this change in diet has occurred, it can result in deer becoming ill or even dying. Deer will eat the unnatural food source, but can develop acidosis (grain overload disease) or enterotoxemia (Clostridium overgrowth) disease because they can’t digest the food properly. Both diseases can result in the rapid illness and death of deer even though their stomachs are full.

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