In rare move, DNR to feed deer stressed by cold, snow


Reversing course, Minnesota wildlife officials say they will feed the deer after all, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

The Department of Natural Resources now plans to release $170,000 from a special fund to feed northern Minnesota wild deer that have been struggling in severe cold and deep snow this winter.

It was just last week that DNR officials said they were not inclined to undertake the feeding effort, which disappointed some hunters.

Officials say feeding efforts often prove ineffective. They also say feeding deer can lead to the spread of diseases such as bovine tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease as the animals gather at feeders.

But the DNR is under fire from some of the state's 500,000 hunters, who say the money should be spent for the purpose for which it was collected, the News Tribune reports. The state's deer-feed fund has about $770,000, an account fed by a 50-cent surcharge that deer hunters pay as part of licensing.

Feed will be distributed in the next few weeks in areas that are below the DNR’s goal for deer population, and have high scores on a “winter severity index” — a measurement of deep snow and extreme cold that put deer at risk of starvation, the DNR says.

Some hunters were pleased.

“I was pleasantly surprised and mildly shocked,” Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA), told the Star Tribune.

Many deer are really in trouble, some hunters say.

"They're belly-deep in the snow. They're using a lot of energy to try to find food, and we've had some brutal cold temperatures also for an extended period of time," Gary Thompson, director of region 11 for the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, told WDIO in Duluth.

Hunters have said they have seen fewer deer in recent years, and have sought the DNR's help in boosting the population. Hunters harvested about 6 percent fewer deer last year than in 2012.

Next Up

moose minnesota usfws - flickr

MN homeowner mistakes large tent for dead moose

They spotted two people on a security camera dragging the "moose" across a driveway.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

What happens if Mpls. public safety question passes? City memo provides answers

The memo was sent to the mayor and council members Tuesday morning.


COVID-19 hits Minnesota Wild coaching staff

The Wild will be shorthanded for Tuesday night's game in Vancouver.

Anthony Edwards

Ant takes alpha role after bad loss: 'We need to lock the f*** in'

The Timberwolves' rising star was not happy after Monday's loss to the Pelicans.

parker eisinger

Lakeville football player diagnosed with cancer week before playoffs

The tenth-grader was diagnosed with a form of cancer most commonly found in people aged 65 and older.

University of Minnesota peeping tom suspect

Someone keeps trying to film showering women at U of M

The university has received three reports in the past two weeks.

john Fluevog shoes 1

John Fluevog Shoes closes its Uptown Minneapolis store

The brand could return to the Twin Cities one day.

sidecar drink

Sidecar — Town Hall's new cocktail lounge — is officially open in Minneapolis

It's the fifth Town Hall location, but the first to focus on cocktails.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Here's where DFLers stand on Minneapolis' public safety ballot question

The question would create a Department of Public Safety and remove some requirements.

Arthur Kollie

Man pleads guilty to brutal murder of 14-year-old girl in Fargo

The 14-year-old girl was the victim of a random attack outside a Fargo strip mall.

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates 2021 - jacob frey sheila nezhad kate knuth

Here's who has endorsed the frontrunners for Minneapolis mayor

Politicians and community groups are voicing their opinions.



7 counties added to deer-feeding ban to prevent CWD spread

It brings the total to 31 of the 87 counties in Minnesota.

DNR: Deer harvest down seven percent in 2011

The Department of Natural Resources says the decline is a result of a smaller deer population and a windy opening weekend of the firearms season. Minnesota deer hunters harvested 192,300 deer during the 2011 season. That's 15,000 fewer deer than in 2010. The 2012 deer hunting season begins in September.

DNR to reconsider deer population goals as hunters express disappointment

Wildlife officials say they're reaching their population goals for deer, but the agency plans to revisit those targets as hunters report they're not seeing the number of deer they've seen in the past. The DNR says hunters bagged 192,300 deer last year. That's down from the peak, 290,000, in 2003.