ST. PAUL, Minn. – A deer feeding ban remains in effect for 16 counties in central, north central and southeastern parts of the state.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the ban was established after chronic wasting disease was detected in captive deer on two farms. Tests of deer harvested by hunters in these areas in the fall of 2017 did not find the disease.
“This time of year, we start to hear of people interested in feeding deer, especially when they see deer searching for food before plants start to green up,” said Erik Thorson, acting big game program leader with the DNR. “People can help deer by being aware of and following the feeding bans that still are in place – they aid in preventing the spread of disease.”
The DNR says the ban will stay in place until at least June 27 for Fillmore, Olmsted, Mower, Houston and Winona counties and will likely be extended. 17 deer have been found with chronic wasting disease in Fillmore County since it was first detected in the fall of 2016 near Preston.
A feeding ban will continue to be enforced as well in Kandiyohi, McCloud, Meeker, Stearns, Wright, northern Renville, Aitkin, Crow Wing, Morrison, southern Cass, and northern Mille Lacs counties.
The DNR says food resulting from normal agricultural practices is generally exempt from the feeding ban but cattle operators should take steps to minimize contact between deer and cattle.
“Even though people have good intentions, feeding often does more harm than good,” said Thorson. “In addition to spreading disease, feeding can lead to death when deer abruptly shift their diet or cause behavioral changes that end up harming the animals.”