Emergency Deer Feeding

Posted at: 03/19/2014 8:29 PM
Updated at: 03/19/2014 10:49 PM
By: Laura Kennedy

This Esko feed mill was a busy spot on Saturday. There was a line out the door, all folks wanting to do their part to help the deer.

Doug Black is one of many volunteers who came to collect their weekly supply.

"I go and pick up the feed, I usually come out here around 4:30 when I see more deer and I sprinkle it as we were coming in where the county land started," Black said.

Earlier this month, the DNR started giving out emergency deer feed to help protect the population from Grand Rapids up to International Falls and down to Hinckley.

"They're starting to see some die off. That's part of why we're doing this," said Brad Trevena of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

Trevena says the deep snow and subzero nights have been especially hard.

"The goal for this is to have healthier deer going into the fawning season," Trevena said. "The does are starting to show it, I've seen does that are real skinny. The healthier the doe is going into fawning, the healthier the fawns will be."

"We don't want to lose what we have," Black said. "I mean I saw more deer three years ago than I did last year. I've hunted this area for 40 years."

There are protocols these volunteers have to follow. For starters, they have to put the feed a certain distance from farms, houses and roads, and they have to be in it for the long haul.

"Make sure you adopt a spot on public land and feed until the deer are getting around really good," Trevena said.

The goal is not to replace the deer's food source, but to help tide them over until spring.

"We don't want them to be dependent on any food," Black said. "They have their natural food. and there's a lot of natural food from the logging here."

"Our goal is to get the numbers back up," Trevena said. "Not just for the hunters but for people to see the deer."

It hasn't taken long for the deer around Doug's house to find his feeding spot.