While we love massive snowpacks, others may find deep snow to be a bit of a nuisance. There are plenty of people who don’t ski, hate the cold, and just want the snow to melt away, and there are plenty of animals who’s lives become a good bit more difficult when the ground is out of reach. For example, Utah’s deer population, who, in Rich County and Summit County, are now being fed by biologists and volunteers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) because there is simply too much snow.
The program, which began at 11 locations throughout Rich County on January 20th, feeds the deer specially formulated tablets designed to meet their nutritional needs. According to a press release from the DWR, grass hay, alfalfa, and other feed will not be used throughout the program.
“Deer will eat hay, but if that is their only source of feed during the winter they can have a very difficult time digesting it. We often find dead deer with stomachs filled with hay. We appreciate people wanting to help the deer, but we strongly discourage people from feeding hay or other things to deer.” – DWR Northern Region Wildlife Manager Jim Christensen
Conditions throughout Utah will continued to be monitored by the organization, and, if snow continues to fall and block deer from being able to access their normal winter vegetation, other locations may be added to the feeding program. Areas where chronic wasting disease has been found, however, will not be included in an attempt to prevent the highly fatal disease from spreading.
“Congregating deer at a feeding location increases the chance that a deer with chronic wasting disease will pass it on to other deer. The short-term benefits of feeding do not outweigh the negative long-term consequences of spreading chronic wasting disease in a highly congregated deer population.” – DWR Big Game Coordinator Dax Mangus
Despite this fantastic program, the DWR still wants to remind people that this involves trained professionals and highly specialized feed. The public should not be feeding deer or any other wildlife.
Due to the deep snow in Rich and Summit counties, we’re implementing emergency deer feeding measures in those areas. This is to help deer with below-average body fat conditions better access food. Learn more: https://t.co/JsZz9SbOrC pic.twitter.com/z6F0J67iK0
— UtahDWR (@UtahDWR) January 23, 2023
Image Credit: Utah Division Of Wildlife Resources via Twitter