Article Posted: December 04, 2001

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MARQUETTE--The Michigan Department of Natural
Resources reminds Upper Peninsula residents of the
procedures required to legally feed deer this winter. Those
who plan to feed deer on private land must notify the DNR,
and a supplemental feeding permit is required for those who
wish to feed deer on public land.
Application forms and complete information for feeding
deer on public and private land is available at all DNR
offices or on the DNR Web site at www.michigandnr.com.
"During the past few winters that we have been keeping
tabs on the winter deer feeding activity here in the U.P.,
we have been able to learn a lot about the feeding programs
and the animals that are frequenting the feed sites," said
Jim Ekdahl, DNR U.P. Field Deputy. "We especially have been
able to help those who are feeding with tips and suggestions
on how it best can be accomplished."
Feeding for the purpose of recreational viewing of
deer can be done without notifying the DNR if the volume of
feed does not exceed two gallons per residence per day, and
is placed within 100 yards of a residence on land owned or
possessed by that person. Other provisions also apply.
Supplemental feeding, which is defined as placing
larger volumes of feed in locations where deer congregate,
is allowed only in the U.P., except for the area south of
US-2 between Escanaba and Iron Mountain. Supplemental
feeding programs may not begin before Jan. 7, 2002, and must
end by May 15.
The DNR also will be asking those who conduct feeding
programs to file a report at the end of the season so food
amounts and total number of deer fed can be tallied.
Residents who begin a feeding program should maintain it
throughout the winter months so deer do not become stranded
in areas where food is no longer available.
"Despite the good intentions of those feeding deer,
there are some negative consequences that should be
considered," said John Hendrickson, DNR Wildlife Biologist.
* Feeding habituates animals to the presence of humans,
making them less wary of cars, predators and pets.
* Feeding at inappropriate locations increases the
probability of deer/car crashes.
* Supplemental feeding can make wild animals dependent on an
artificial source of food. This feeding can disrupt the
normal movement patterns and keep deer from migrating to
natural wintering habitats.
* Delayed deer migration in poor winter habitat may result
in starvation when the feeding is halted.
* Feeding may result in the grouping of large numbers of
animals, which can causes stress for the deer and
overbrowsing of nearby shrubs and trees, which may deprive
other animals of food and cover.
* Overpopulation also can contribute to poor survival of
newborn fawns, lower reproductive rates in does and a
lowered carrying capacity of the habitat.
Feeding deer also increases the potential risk for
disease transmission that can occur if the animals are over-
concentrated. The outbreak of bovine tuberculosis in the
wild deer population in the north central Lower Peninsula is
being blamed in part on feeding programs conducted in that
area in past years. Supplemental feeding of deer and elk now
is prohibited in the Lower Peninsula.
For more information, contact the DNR Marquette office
at 906-228-6561.

Source: MDNR

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