Deer Feeding Banned in Virginia

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. “


W. C
W. C3 months ago


William C
William C11 months ago

Thank you.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B6 years ago


Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege6 years ago

We'd better give them their habitat back, they'll have more food to live on in winter. And if you think there are too many deer, bring a few wolves back!

Jake Cohen
Jake Cohen6 years ago

Great! The only wild animals who should be fed are chickadees.

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago


colleen prinssen
colleen p6 years ago

save them feed them don't kill them. we take their homes and food away, so feed them, let them in.

"you want them to starve?" well that is 1000000000000000% better and more humane than hunting, right? and natural. it leaves them to be deer in the wild, free and happy without human intervention.

when bucks are in rutting season, they are dangerous. deer don't have a thing in their brain to say "I should be nicer". even if you are not a hunter or coverd in doe urine, a buck in "heat" will still be surging with hormones and be "pumped up"

so what if a pumped up buck is also looking for a snack, and knows "these things that called human give food" and someone lacks it. they aren't going to go "ah no food *^^* let me beat up some dudes and get some women"

you want deer to be fearless around humans?

have any of you seen that video of the doe that kicked a dog? that dog wasn't rushing at the doe with snarling murderous rage. she just wanted to protect her baby.

what if you now have stupid kids who think they can play with a fawn. a doe isn't going to go "ahh people, these ones are kind. I think I'll share my joy with this little one".
if one attacked a dog, she'll attack a human.

we don't live in a "disney cartoon"

Franco Di Palma
Franco Di Palma6 years ago

When I lived in NY I fed the deer in the winter when many were starving. It allowed me to see the most amazing thing. A group of deer would approach the food. A big buck deer would eat first. When he was done he would allow one of the other deer to eat but would chase them away from the food so the next deer in the group could eat. This animal saw to it that all had something. and they say animals are dumb. People should be so caring.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

So, why not let the wild life starve to death during Winter? Responsible feeding of wildlife by organizations or gov agencies must be way better than to find dead animals throughout the woods come Spring?

David N.
David N7 years ago

Thanks for the article. I had no idea corn was bad.