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Thread: Don't Feed the Deer: How Corn Can Be a Killer

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    Default Don't Feed the Deer: How Corn Can Be a Killer

    Killing them with Kindness...

    citizens in the town of South Hampton found six dead whitetails in a wooded, suburban lot on March 20. State biologists and a warden responded to the call and, after a brief search, discovered an additional half dozen dead deer. After examining the animals at a nearby veterinary lab, authorities confirmed that at least two of the whitetails were victims of enterotoxemia, a condition directly linked to feeding deer—primarily corn—in winter.

    To shed more light on this incident, I called my friend Kip Adams. In addition to serving as the Education/Outreach coordinator for the QDMA, Adams is certified wildlife biologist and the former Deer Project Leader for the NHDFG. Adams was not only familiar with the case, but of many others. “It’s actually fairly common, and why state agencies generally advise people to not feed deer,” he said.

    According to Adams, wintering whitetails—especially in the North—subsist largely on woody browse, and not much of it, for the duration of the winter. “Then, all of a sudden, you introduce a high-energy food in large amounts, and the result is not good for deer,” he says. “The whitetail rumen, or stomach, is full of microorganisms that help digest food, but it takes them at least a week to adjust to each new food type taken in. If those microorganisms can’t adapt by taking in small amounts over a period of time, the result is such a shock to the system it can kill deer pretty quickly.”
    https://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs...n-be-a-killer/
    Arte et marte (By Skill and by Fighting)...The RCEME motto

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    There is no reason to feed deer, especially with the milder winter and low snowfall. I have lots of deer on my property and the eat a combination of browse on my property and hay from my neighbour’s field.

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    When I saw this it reminded me of a pic I saw years ago...so I searched it out and it was not corn but hay. AND it was in an article in the same magazine in 2013.



    Here's the deal, according to Ross, whose Masters degree just so happened to focus on winter deer feeding in northern New Hampshire:
    When people feed hay or grain, winter deer tend to pseudo-gorge themselves on the new food source. This is a shock to their digestive system, and, as the reader says, they don't have the living bacteria to digest it. People usually feed deer at a time when snow is deep and there aren't many other foods available. So the deer fill their stomach on the hay or grain alone and can get sick or die from it (rumenitis).
    https://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs...-hay-handouts/
    Arte et marte (By Skill and by Fighting)...The RCEME motto

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    Depends on location as we have standing corn fields through this winter so I can't see feeding them corn any worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canadaman30 View Post
    Depends on location as we have standing corn fields through this winter so I can't see feeding them corn any worse.
    I agree, I think this issue is in northern areas, where deer feeding transitions from fresh grasses, leaves etc, to cedar and winter browseAround here, they eat corn pretty much year around.
    Last edited by rick_iles; February 18th, 2020 at 01:39 PM.

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    Deer arent anywhere near the standing corn here, 15 acre standing bean field is loaded, I seen 5 bucks, 10 does in there at last light.

    Corn looks moldy, I walked a 50 acre corn field yesturday and only seen coyote tracks. Not sure why but corn fields are the worst for running hounds they loose the coyote everytime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SongDog View Post
    Corn looks moldy, I walked a 50 acre corn field yesturday and only seen coyote tracks.
    That was a question I had; I see a lot of standing corn around her (winter drying) but have never seen or heard of deer in them. I don't think they eat it come winter, like they know it's not good for them. Does anyone actually see them grazing in corn fields..are they eating the corn or just the stalks/leaves ?
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    My understanding is eating corn from the stocks and off the ground in a field is fine because the moisture content in the corn is still high. I was under the impression feeding the deer dried corn is what gets them as they need the extra moisture to digest the corn.
    Things that fly turn me on

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddy View Post
    My understanding is eating corn from the stocks and off the ground in a field is fine because the moisture content in the corn is still high. I was under the impression feeding the deer dried corn is what gets them as they need the extra moisture to digest the corn.
    There is not much moisture on the corn as winter goes on, that is why farmers leave it there. They use the dry winter conditions to dry the corn naturally, sometimes it is cheaper than paying for drying, sometimes their loses are higher than they get burned.

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    It's all about their gut bacteria and is as much a matter of when they start eating something as what they are being fed.

    As mentioned earlier, if you feed deer in the Northern yards corn or hay when their digestive system is in winter mode and they're only eating browse, they'll be in trouble. They don't have the proper gut fauna to process it.

    On the other hand, deer that have fed on standing corn or hay all through the fall and winter months will not be adversely affected by eating either as their guts are already able to process it.

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