When people feed big game, the animals tend to concentrate where the food is set out. That increases the risk of spreading diseases through the herds. Diseases also can spread between wildlife and livestock, as well as to domestic animals and people. CPW is most concerned about devastating diseases, such as brucellosis and tuberculosis, which can be transmitted to humans.
Feeding also can dramatically change the natural distribution and migration of big game animals.
You may delight in seeing a deer grazing in your yard. Your neighbor, however, may become irate seeing his rose bushes chomped to a stub. For farmers and ranchers, the losses can be costly from big game munching on crops or hay. Not only that, luring wildlife to your yard by putting out food could set the wild animals up for death if they have to cross highways to get to feeders or if they encounter harassment from domestic pets.
What’s worse, once wildlife stop using their historic ranges, that land could end up being developed, losing valuable habitat forever.
Feeding big game is not a substitute for enhancing and protecting critical wintering areas.
Next: Unwanted and Dangerous Guests