As of September 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has expanded the areas in which deer feeding/attracting is prohibited, however Sherburne County is currently not included in the banned areas. That being said, Parks and Recreation Commission members recently had a lengthy discussion about whether or not a deer feeding ordinance should be implemented in Elk River, in an effort to proactively approach both deer herd management issues, and the control of wildlife diseases. Many residents simply enjoy watching deer in their backyard, which is why they provide a continual food source of salt, corn, grain, etc., however it may not be known the negative impacts this seemingly minimal action can have on the deer population, as well as others who live in the community. Here’s what you need to know about deer feeding and attracting:
Why are feeding and attracting bans in place in some areas of Minnesota?
Feeding and attractant bans are in place across the state to prevent concentrations of wild deer in areas with a higher risk for disease. These bans are precautionary steps the DNR took after deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) were found both in the wild and on deer farms.
What is chronic wasting disease (CWD)?
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that impacts the cervid family which includes deer, elk, moose, reindeer and caribou. It causes spongy degeneration in the infected animal’s brain, and can be easily spread to other cervids through saliva, urine, blood, feces and antler velvet.
How does feeding deer increase CWD?
Food sources can concentrate deer and allow for close contact – one of the mechanisms for CWD spread.
To view a map of prohibited deer feeding areas in Minnesota, or to learn more about the impacts of CWD visit the DNR’s website. After careful consideration, the Parks and Recreation Commission decided against recommending an ordinance banning feeding/attracting deer at this time, however the city encourages residents to refrain from this action upon learning how harmful it can actually be.