In the recent year deer feeding has gained more and more popularity especially in harsh winter. More and more people worry about the coping up of deer from winter. In that process they tend to forget that these animals have numerous natural adaptations which help them survive even the toughest conditions of winters.
These supplemental foods are basically a kind of management tool only in which deer are provided with notorious and healthy food in the situation of stress, adverse weather conditions or to trigger the biological process of the animal.
It cannot be denied that people tend to feed these deer with good intention but in the end supplemental feeding of dears will have a negative impact on the natural habitat of deer as they will lose their natural wildness and skill to hunt for their own food.
There are various disadvantages of supplemental feeding of deer. As the winter arrives deer normally tend to migrate to their preferred areas with natural wintering habitat which can miles away. Short-stopped by the feeding these deer become potentially vulnerable to malnutrition due to the lack of right amount and type of food and as a result their migration is disrupted which is vital for their healthy survival.
As people think, supplemental feeding should give the deer the required strength to survive the severity of winter hence reducing the deer loss but in real the scenario doesn’t change.
This is because the major cause of deer loss in winter is predation not starvation. These supplements are no doubt a solution to starvation but still vigorous and healthy deer become the food of many predators. This way supplemental feeding doesn’t help in reducing deer loss during winter.
Supplemental feeding deer actually increases the predation as these animals gets crowded near the feeding source and becoming an easy and concentrated food option for predators. Sometimes these concentrated bunches of deer become the food of free roaming wild dogs especially when snow is deep and crusted. Since supplemental feeding of deer is done around a house or any area accessed by human there are chances of deer-vehicle collision.
If the source of feeding is near the well-traveled highway then the situation becomes worse for both humans as well as the deer. It is very common that significant numbers of deer are killed every year in the accident with motor vehicles. This can significantly reduce the deer population in that area and at the same time pose a threat for the human lives too.
If fed regularly these animals get used to the supplemental food reducing the intake of natural forage, vegetable and shrubbery which again will deprive them of many natural substances which are necessary for them, as every substance needed by their body can’t be included in their supplemental food, especially the one required in lesser percentage.
The risk of various bacterial diseases and parasitic transmission is can also not be neglected if these animals are around the human population. Lastly the structural and property damage can only be described as the collateral damage of bothering about these naturally capable beasts.