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Press Release

FEEDING WHITE-TAILED DEER IN WINTER: NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON THE SPECIES

Québec City, November 26, 2013 – The Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs (MDDEFP) wishes to remind citizens not to feed white-tailed deer, especially during the winter season.

Although many citizens engage in this practice, it is essential to emphasize that, in general, feeding is actually harmful to the health of deer. Many negative effects can be caused by this type of food intake:

  • Diseases and mortality resulting from the consumption of inadequate foods;
  • Diseases and parasites transmitted at the feeding site, leading to the ingestion of food contaminated by saliva, urine, and feces;
  • Road accidents when feeding sites are located near roads;
  • Poaching (feeding facilitates the close-range slaughter of deer off season);
  • Domestication of deer (reduction of fear and creation of dependency on humans for food);
  • Loss of seasonal migration behaviour;
  • Presence of deer outside their deer yards, in environments that are less favourable to their survival;
  • Potential damage to personal property and property of neighbours (ex: landscaping, ornamental shrubs, etc.).

Generally speaking, deer do not require additional food from humans. They live in our climate by adapting in two major ways during winter: physiologically, deer alter their eating habits by restricting food intake and using fat reserves they accumulate in summer and fall; behaviourally, they reduce their movements. They leave their summer habitats at the first major snowfall to regroup in deer yards where the coniferous tree cover, slopes and exposure reduce snow accumulation.

MDDEFP biologists monitor white-tailed deer populations in Québec and adapt hunting methods by taking into account natural mortality factors such as the severity of the winter.

The white-tailed deer is a wild animal that is part of Québec’s natural heritage. It is the responsibility of all citizens to maintain a healthy herd by avoiding feeding deer in inappropriate ways that draw them out of their natural environment.

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Source:

Sophie Roy
Media Relations
Communications Branch
Ministère du Développement durable,
de l’Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs
Tel.: 418 521-3823 ext. 3991

 

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