The Utah Division of Wildlife Assets (DWR) is taking drastic measures to forestall a extreme winter die-off of mule deer. In keeping with a press launch offered to Subject & Stream, the company instituted emergency deer feeding protocols in elements of northern Utah on January 20. The Utah DWR is feeding deer at 11 areas in Wealthy County and also will distribute feed at one location in Summit County.

“Within the areas the place we’re feeding, the vegetation that deer eat within the winter is totally coated by snow,” mentioned Utah DWR Northern Area Wildlife Supervisor Jim Christensen. The company additionally says that latest well being assessments present below-average physique fats circumstances for deer within the space.

Utah DWR biologists are utilizing a specifically formulated pellet to feed the deer. They are saying that different merchandise akin to alfalfa and grass hay is not going to be used. “Deer will eat hay, but when that’s their solely supply of feed in the course of the winter they will have a really troublesome time digesting it,” Christensen mentioned. “We regularly discover useless deer with stomachs full of hay. We recognize folks wanting to assist the deer, however we strongly discourage folks from feeding hay or different issues to deer.”

That is the primary time the Utah DWR has applied its emergency deer feeding program since 2017. The company is not going to feed deer in areas the place CWD has been detected, as a result of attracting deer to feed areas might facilitate the unfold of the illness.

Along with feeding deer, the Utah DWR can also be emphasizing the significance of giving deer loads of area to cut back any further stress for them. To verify this occurs, recreation wardens are doing further patrols in areas the place deer are identified to congregate in the course of the winter.

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“Mule deer have developed with harsh climate, and some deer dying in years with extreme climate is anticipated,” mentioned Utah DWR Huge Recreation Coordinator Dax Mangus. “Nonetheless, there are occasions and areas when winter climate is so extreme that it turns into essential to implement emergency feeding to guard grownup does, that are the reproductive phase of the deer inhabitants. Even with emergency feeding, we nonetheless anticipate the lack of some fawns and sick or previous animals.”

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