In many counties in the north, feeding deer is illegal due to the suspected presence of Chronic Wasting Disease. A DNR wildlife health specialist says long term habitat improvements would curtail the need to do more artificial deer feeding even in the CWD affected areas.
Tim Marien says you need to improve habitat in the summer to help deer survive the winter....
"...planting trees and oak stands, aspen in the summer months and maintaining it can have a bigger impact on deer survival during these late winter months of January, February and March...."
He says having access to their natural food during the winter has a better impact on the animal's health. He says as when the winter settles in, deer are looking to congregate in pines and oaks for shelter, and if there's a nearby food source like aspen and oak, all the better. He says where feeding is still allowed, some foods are better than others.
He says some supplements have oats, which is good feed for deer, but a popular feed isn't the best...
"...but just dropping corn down there is not preferred because in the long run it can cause some digestive problems..."
He says hay is also not the best deer food. Marien says the latest information is on the DNR website.