SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — The state is letting people feed deer in the southern Upper Peninsula because heavy early snowfall is making it harder for the animals to survive the winter.
The feeding can start Wednesday, according to The Evening News (http://bit.ly/1a0Ap2j ) of Sault Ste. Marie.
"This winter has started out substantially more severe than last winter, which took a large toll on the deer population in the U.P., resulting in reduced reproduction and high fawn mortality," said Terry Minzey, regional wildlife supervisor for the state Department of Natural Resources in the Upper Peninsula.
The department is issuing permits for the special feeding. It will be allowed in Delta, Dickinson, Iron, Mackinac, Menominee and Schoolcraft counties and parts of Chippewa and Marquette counties.
The state only permits supplemental feeding in the southern Upper Peninsula when heavy early snow suggests deer will experience winter stress. It normally allows feeding Jan. 15-May 15 in the Lake Superior snow belt.
"While supplemental feeding can have unintended negative consequences, such as auto collisions, overbrowsing and disease transmission, we recognize folks want to help deer through a harsh winter," Minzey told the newspaper.
Groups or individuals in these counties seeking supplemental feeding permits should contact DNR Wildlife Division staff at the Baraga, Crystal Falls, Escanaba, Marquette, Shingleton, Newberry or Sault Ste. Marie offices, the department said.
People with permits may feed deer on private or non-state public land with landowner permission. Supplemental feeding is forbidden on state land.
Feed must be placed at least a quarter mile from the nearest paved public road and at least one mile from domestic farm animals and certain agricultural lands. The feed must consist only of grains, second-cut alfalfa and clover, or pelletized plant materials. And it must be scattered on the ground in amounts of no more than three inches in height.
The DNR also requires people who get the permits to report back by May 30 on when, where and what they fed the deer.
Information from: The Evening News, http://www.sooeveningnews.com