Emergency feeding of deer in Northeastern Minnesota

By KBJR News 1

February 13, 2014 Updated Feb 13, 2014 at 10:35 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has made an abrupt change to its policy, now allowing emergency feeding of deer.

Deer feeding will be allowed on public property across much of northern Minnesota, beginning within the next two weeks from Wednesday's DNR decision.

The decision to feed deer follows several meetings between the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) and the DNR.

Feeding will be allowed in a region that extends from about Cloquet west to Cass Lake, north to International Falls, then south to Ely and Lake Vermilion. Feeding will not be allowed along the North Shore.

The significant amount of snow, combined with extreme cold has already taken a toll on the deer population and the DNR felt it would just get worse if humans did not step in.

It is a decision many deer hunters applaud.

"Everybody is concerned, everybody is asking 'what can we do to help out," said Becca Kent, chapter coordinator for the MDHA. "It's exciting to finally say there is an opportunity for you to help out and try to help out the deer."

"If we want to see the herd have a good fighting chance, that's a good thing that needs to happen, I think," deer hunter, Rob Hering, said. "I'm seeing some kills and some natural deaths due to the cold."

The DNR has been reluctant to allow feeding because when deer congregate it increases the chance of spreading diseases like chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis.

This is the first time since 1997 that the DNR has provided money to feed deer in Northeastern Minnesota.

For every Minnesota hunter license that is sold, 50 cents goes into a fund to be used for deer feeding or other tests. The DNR will use roughly $170,000 to do the deer feed.

MDHA is organizing volunteers to help the DNR distribute feed in designated areas. If you would like to be part of the process you can call 281-327-1103 or email the association at jenny@mndeerhunters.com.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.