The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has placed a ban on feeding deer starting September 1 and ending in January, “It is unlawful for any person to place or distribute food, salt, minerals or similar substances, to feed or attract deer from September 1 through the first Saturday in January, both dates inclusive.
Some of the reasons for banning the practice are:
- Increasing population numbers that damage natural habitats
- Disease transmission
- Human-deer conflicts
- Semi-taming of wildlife (trying to make them pets)
Feeding deer causes them to gather in larger numbers, which helps to spread diseases like tuberculosis, brucellosis and chronic wasting disease. It also causes them to lose their fear of humans, which means they enter residential areas where they don’t belong looking for food. In these areas they can be struck by cars, or captured and euthanized by animal control agencies. Feeding deer does not help them.
One popular food to feed deer is corn, which can actually kill them. Their digestive systems can’t process large quantities of corn when they are used to eating other foods. Corn toxicity can kill a deer fairly quickly, according to the website of Department of Natural Resources and Environment. “Within 24 hours of grain ingestion animals may be recumbent, staggering, or standing quietly. Death may occur within 24 to 72 hours. “