What happens when people feed deer? You get an up close, intimate viewing experience! Maybe you even develop a "meaningful relationship" with the animals--but at what cost?
Many folks don't realize that feeding dear can have unintended consequences. Negative effects can manifest themselves in several ways. Human residences are often within close proximity to one other and connected by busy roads that have traffic. Deer will accumulate in high densities next to these roads where the households are feeding them. The animals being fed can lose fear of people which makes them more susceptible to hunting pressures. They may additionally become accustomed to unnatural and potentially unhealthy food sources (popular example: corn). Collisions of vehicles with fed deer in particular are very dangerous to people, to the deer, and to the scavengers who feed on their carcass next to the busy road. I live in northern Minnesota and have had two notable deer collisions within the lat year. In certain instances there is nothing the vehicle operator can do to avoid the animal.
For the past several years I have been working on telling this story. Whenever I have a safe opportunity to remove a road kill carcass (deer or other species) from the roadway or roadside ditch--I do. The smell and sight of the carcass will lure many scavenger species to the roadside, exposing those animals to the same fate. By moving the carcass and placing a camera on it, I have been able to document what sorts of animals are at risk. While I do not condone baiting for wildlife photography, to tell this story I have made an exception (it is a local, natural food source that would attract these scavengers anyways). When I move the carcass I make sure to call a local conservation officer and obtain a permit. It helps environmental law enforcement keep track of the deceased animal mostly for tracking and preventing disease transmission.