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Reminder: Feeding deer illegal in many Minnesota counties

Feeding and attractant bans are aimed at slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease.

One deer outside of a forest and another one inside the forest
A deer stares ahead after exiting a forest at West First Street and North 11th Avenue West in Duluth in early January.
Dan Williamson / 2023 file / Duluth News Tribune
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ST. PAUL — Deer feeding and attractant bans are in place in several counties across the state to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources notes.

The feeding bans are in place to keep deer from congregating in tight quarters while eating, with biologists noting that face-to-face contact is a big way that deadly CWD spreads.

These bans are precautionary steps the DNR took after deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease were found in either wild deer and on deer farms in the impacted counties or adjacent counties.

Feeding bans are in place in Carlton, Itasca, Pine, Koochiching, Beltrami, Chisago, Douglas, Isanti, Kanabec, Lake of the Woods, Pope, Roseau and Stearns counties.

Deer feeding and, in addition, the use of any attractants during hunting seasons are illegal in the following counties: Aitkin, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Norman, Pennington, Olmsted, Polk, Ramsey, Red Lake, Rice, Scott, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena, Washington and Winona.

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People who feed birds or small mammals must do so in a manner that prevents deer from getting at the food. Place the food at least 6 feet above ground level. Cattle operators should take steps that minimize contact between deer and cattle.

While people might feel sorry for deer struggling through deep snow, wildlife biologists note that it’s unnecessary to feed deer in winter because the animals can find food if they move on to new areas.

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John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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