Division of Wildlife Resources Begins Emergency Deer Feeding
Division of Wildlife Resources biologists and volunteers, mostly landowners and hunters from local conservation groups, started feeding deer at 11 locations in Rich County on Jan. 20. Feed will also be distributed for deer at one location in Summit County. DWR biologists have been monitoring the condition of the deer, as well as snow depths and winter temperatures, across Utah since early December. These monitoring efforts include body condition and health assessments conducted during the big game captures via helicopter that take place each year from December to March. Biologists measure and record overall deer condition, body fat levels and fawn weights as the animals enter into the winter season. Biologists are feeding the deer specially formulated pellets that meet the nutritional needs of deer when natural forage becomes temporarily unavailable. The pellets are the only item biologists will feed the deer — alfalfa, grass hay or other products will not be used. DWR biologists will continue monitoring winter conditions and the condition of the deer across Utah and may feed deer in additional locations, if the need arises. However, deer feeding will not happen in areas where chronic wasting disease has been found. The decision to feed deer in Rich and Summit counties was made following guidelines in the DWR's Emergency Winter Big Game Feeding policy. The last time the DWR implemented emergency deer feeding was in 2017.