Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

DNR: corn and hay deadly for deer in winter following elk death in Rusk Co.Submitted: 01/13/2020
Story By Stephen Goin

DNR: corn and hay deadly for deer in winter following elk death in Rusk Co.
RHINELANDER - Watching wildlife struggle during the winter is part of life in Northern Wisconsin. 

"It's hard to watch deer walking around, and they look kind of thin and scraggly - especially in February," said Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife biologists Jeremy Holtz. 

It is still illegal to feed deer in a majority of Wisconsin counties including Oneida, Marathon, Portage, Vilas, Forest, Langlade, Wood and Lincoln counties. Holtz said the bait and feed ban was put in place in 2016 to lower the risk of deer spreading chronic wasting disease (CWD).

Farmers Feed Store owner Kelly Ramker said the bait and feed ban negatively impacts her business and frustrates many of her customers.

"My business was hurt, especially that first year," said Ramker."They've got all these wild animals that can't find food and their faced with a dilemma of not being allowed to feed them."

Holtz said the recent death of an elk in Rusk Co. could show people other reasons why feeding deer is dangerous.

On Jan. 2, an elk was found dead after a landowner put out corn for the animal to eat. The DNR called the move a "misguided attempted" to help wildlife.

"If you feed them the wrong food at the wrong time, you'll actually kill them," said Holtz.

According to DNR deer and elk expert Kevin Wallenfang, the animal died from rumen acidosis. The condition affects elk and deer when their diet's change rapidly. In the winter, deer are less active and access body fat reserves to stay alive. According to the DNR, naturally found foods are less nutritious and less abundant in the winter than in the summer.

According to the DNR, the rich starch content of corn can make it harder for deer to digest food properly in the winter. Holtz says hay can also be difficult for deer to digest in the winter.

Feeding deer and elk is legal in many Wisconsin communities including Rusk, Price, Ashland and Iron counties. However, Holtz warns death is not the only unintended consequence of feeding deer; nutrient overdose is another concern. An overdose of nutrients can cause a condition called slipper foot where deer hooves grow faster than the animal can naturally grind them down.

"If it is legal, you should put out foods that are going to help the animal, not kill them," said Holtz.

Instead of corn and hay, Holtz explains that deer food mixes and oats are better feed alternatives.

Ramker says she'll continue to sell both deer food mix and oats, but she typically doesn't ask her customers where and how they plan to use it.

"I think in some way shape of form there should be a blind eye when it comes to the winter months," said Ramker. "What they do with it when they leave here isn't my business."

Find a list of additional state regulations regarding deer feeding here.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

MILWAUKEE - Marchers and a caravan of cars moved slowly into a western Milwaukee suburb Thursday night, but stopped short of a major mall where police were waiting.

+ Read More

KAUKAUNA - The father of two young children found dead in Kaukauna in February has been arrested in their deaths.

Police say Matthew Beyer, of Manitowoc, is in custody on possible charges of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

5-year-old William and 3-year-old Danielle Beyer were found dead Feb. 17 in a Kaukauna duplex.

+ Read More

MADISON - The percentage of positive COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin continues to decline.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported Friday that 3% of all test results were positive.

That continues a downward trend over the past two weeks.

+ Read More

WAUSAU - Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation and its impact on community health, the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Valley Fair has canceled the 2020 Fair.

Numerous other events have already been canceled, and it is evident that the risk of community spread of COVID-19 will still exist through the summer.

Following the guidance of the Marathon County Health Department, the CDC and WEDC, we have determined it would not be safe to hold an event of this size.

Details on the MASS program (Market Animal Show & Sale of Marathon County, Inc.) will be available in the coming weeks.

+ Read More

STEVENS POINT, WI - On Friday, June 5th after an approximately 10-month investigation, police detectives executed a search warrant at a residence in the town of Dewey in Portage County. 

The search was a result of a several months long investigation into fraudulent activity conducted by a local home builder.

+ Read More

WASHINGTON - U.S. unemployment dropped unexpectedly in May to 13.3% as reopened businesses began recalling millions of workers faster than economists had predicted.

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - Up North Beerfest and the National Championship Musky Open Tournament have both been postponed until the summer of 2021 due to concerns of the spread of COVID-19.

The Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, along with the Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin jointly made the decision to delay the annual fishing tournament.

The Chamber made the difficult decision to postpone the beer festival.

Up North Beerfest will return June 11-12, 2021. The Musky Open will next be held August 20-22, 2021.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: