Michigan DNR monitoring weather to determine deer feed status

MARQUETTE — The Michigan DNR allowed people to feed deer on a supplemental basis last year in the southern U.P. with a permit. The chief of the DNR’s Wildlife Division says he’s hearing from Michigan residents who’d like to do it again this year.

He says if the state can pass its snow triggers early, the DNR will allow people to feed deer on private land, but the Wildlife Division thinks it’s a bad idea on public land.

Russ Mason says it increases disease risk. He also says there’s a predator risk because wolves are as good at finding food as deer are.

“Third, it costs a lot of money, and you’re only affecting a couple of hundred deer, which is to say you’re not moving the needle on populations,” Mason said. “And finally, and perhaps most important, we want deer to be looking for natural foods. We don’t want them depending on a few things, but having said that, we understand that people want to do something for their deer. We’re sympathetic to that, and we are going to work with them.”

Last year, deer feed needed to be placed at least a quarter–mile from the nearest paved public road.