Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Minnesota will soon spend $170,000 as part of an emergency effort to feed part of the state's threatened deer population.
This program hasn't been utilized since 1997, when two years of severe winter weather depleted a portion of the state's deer population.
The Minnesota DNR sets aside a portion of all deer hunting license purchases to fund the Emergency Winter Deer Feeding Initiative.
The program asks regional feeders to bid to be the distribution point of the state–funded feed.
Volunteers with the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association will then pick up the feed, specialized alfalfa or barley pellets, to distribute across the region.
The emergency fund also goes toward preventing diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease.
"The irony there," said Area Wildlife Manager Chris Balzer, "Is that diseases spread easiest among deer where they congregate to feed".
"Those are severe diseases that can be real big game changers for the deer population for the long–term. Feeding deer can potentially increase the risk of spreading those diseases," Blazer said.
At least 11 deer permitting areas in Northern Minnesota will be subject to the state–funded feeding effort.
The goal is to have volunteers spreading feed by March 1st .
That effort will take place until either funding runs out, or green up occurs.