All those who feed deer have good intentions to see deer through a rough winter. Certain deer feeding practices though can actually cause malnutrition and even death. Just because the deer love table scraps doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Maine Inland Fishing and Wildlife (IF&W) biologists have put together a brochure to insure appropriate feeding of deer, even if the practice is discouraged. Deer have been found starved to death with a belly full of corn.
The intent of this article is to highlight responsible winter feeding and outline the pitfalls of inappropriate feeding practices, some of which are outlined in the brochure. Please download this brochure at
In winter, deer cannot digest vegetables, apples, hay and corn in the winter. Deer have a unique, complicated digestive process: Microorganisms needed to digest food in the deer’s stomach differ from those in the spring, summer, and fall. Around late December, they switch and develop specialized microorganisms to digest a diet of woody browse, turning this high-fiber diet into proteins. During the winter, they supplement this diet by living off their fat for 40% of their daily needs.
If deer are only fed corn, hay, potatoes and etc., they risk malnutrition and even starvation.
The feed should be spread out in several small piles 10 feet apart allowing the smaller deer and fawns to get their share. The site should be a half-mile from the highway in order to avoid traffic fatalities.
Feeding deer should start only in late December, because a deer can die from sugary molasses-laden feed introduced later in the winter. In addition, a deer is at risk if it is given too much food abruptly. Feeding deer must be consistent and continue through to spring greening. If you are going on vacation, the responsible thing to do is to get coverage during your absence, because the deer are now dependent on your feeding.
Deer take three weeks to adjust to artificial food. Please choose horse or deer formulations in pellet form. Feeds containing some corn and molasses offer less nutritional value. Deer need two pounds a day depending on their habitat. If the winter lasts about 100-110 days, that equals $50 -$120 per deer at $11 a 50-pound bag. If you end up feeding 30 deer, that can get up to $1,500-$3,000 a season.
Keep in mind, that if each deer is fed less than 2 pounds a day, they still may be in risk of malnutrition. They may be burning up more net calories traveling to the food site than are gained through consuming artificial feed.
There are three main factors that impact winter survival 1)winter severity; 2)body condition going into the winter through high quality foods in the summer and fall; and, 3) adequate softwood cover in the winter.
Land-owners can help the deer even more by managing their property for high-quality habitat, planting food plots or seeding their fields with forage like oats. Logging activity in the winter provides a large amount of natural browse from tree tops–preferably hard wood. Cutting down hard-wood saplings for the sake of thinning ones timber is also a win-win for the owner and the deer. Releasing any wild apple trees also give a boost to deer and wildlife bracing for winter.
Landowners, interested in improving their property can get technical and cost-sharing help by contacting Natural Resources Conservation Service—U. S. Dept. of Agriculture. Our Franklin Country representative, Paul Hersey is at 778-4767. Or can be reached online: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/WHIP.html. The local Maine forest Service District Forester, firstname.lastname@example.org and our local biologists at the Strong IF&W will be glad to provide assistance. Don’t forget to refer to the brochure for responsible feeding practices.
Marcia Baker is a wildlife artist and amateur naturalist, who was the coordinator for the successful Deer Forage Project recently conducted in the Rangeley area. Check the blog: deerandwildlifeforageproject.blogspot.com/ She currently consults with state-wide land-owners interested in establishing food plots.
Carleen Cote, Owner of Duck Pond Wildlife Center in Vasselboro, will be the guest speaker at the RRG&SA monthly meeting held on Thursday, October 15th.
Celebrating their 50th anniversary caring for thousands of injured and orphaned wildlife, this non-profit organization is supported entirely by the Cotes’ own resources and outside donations. The monthly meeting is open to the public with a potluck dinner starting at 5:30pm followed by the guest speaker presentation. The RRG&SA’s Clubhouse is located on Old Skiway Road in Oquossoc.
The Rangeley Region Guides’ and Sportsmen’s Association will be hosting its 7thAnnual Turkey Shoot at the Association’s rifle and pistol range on Sunday,October 4, 2015. Registration is from 10AM-11AM. No additional shooters can be accepted after registration closes. Competition will begin promptly at 11 AM. Shooters will have the chance to win a turkey or…
The Rangeley Guides and Sportsmen’s Association will celebrate its 19th annual Outdoor Sporting Heritage Day on Tuesday, August 11th at our Clubhouse on Old Skiway Road in Oquossoc. It is a celebration of Maine’s sporting life modeled after an old fashioned frontier rendezvous featuring hunting, fishing and trapping exhibits and demonstrations as well as educational lectures,…
The Rangeley Guides and Sportsmen’s Association will conduct its annual Hunter Safety Course at their Clubhouse on Old Skiway Road in Oquossoc. This 4-day course will run Wednesday, July 23rd, Thursday, July 24th, Wednesday, July 29th and Thursday July 30th. A range day will be held on Saturday July 25 at the club’s shooting facilities….
RRG&SA would like to extend an invitation to all of its members and the public to our annual cookout on Thursday, July 16, 2015 from 1PM to 7PM at our Clubhouse on Old Skiway Road in Oquossoc. This will be a fun-filled afternoon, celebrating the Grand Opening of our newly renovated and improved outdoor sporting facilities.
From 1PM to 4PM, individuals and families can visit the rifle/pistol range on the Morton Cut-off Road, the Archery Range and Kid’s Fishing Pond adjacent to the RRG&SA clubhouse, and the shotgun range at the end of Old Skiway Road. There will be RRG&SA instructors present to help beginners learn new skills and to give advice on how to improve your outdoor sporting skills. At each venue, participating adults and children will be given a raffle ticket for a chance to win some fabulous outdoor gear, generously donated by Cabela’s.
A silent auction, featuring many one-of-a kind items and offerings from local merchants, will take place at the Clubhouse throughout the afternoon.
At 4PM, folks should gather at the RRG&SA clubhouse where they can mingle with club members, make final bids on the silent auction items, and hope your number gets pulled in the Cabela’s gear raffle. A cookout meal will be served starting at 5PM.
Cost of the event is $15 for adults and $10 for children (18 and under). This fee includes the meal, ammo, shotgun shells, targets and all the equipment necessary for participation at all the venues. Please join us for this Grand Opening celebration. The Clubhouse is located on Old Skiway Road in Oquossoc.
This year Wildlife Services are conducting enhanced surveillance for Rabies, and your business is located in our surveillance area. I have attached our informational poster in hopes can be distributed to your employees, customers, and any other interested individuals. If anyone sees raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes or bobcats acting strange or as roadkill, we are asking they please call 207-629-5178 to report it to our office. We are NOT asking that anyone approach or handle wild animals, and if emergency assistance is needed, contact local authorities.All we need is a description of where the animal is located, and Wildlife Services staff will collect the sample. If there are any questions, please contact our office. We need your assistance to collect additional critical samples. Your help is greatly appreciated. I will be conducting surveys in the area throughout the year on a weekly basis and can be reached directly at 207-592-3816.
If there are specific individuals that you are in contact with who may be able to better assist, if possible, please distribute this information to them (i.e. Animal Control Officers, Police Officers, Fire Departments, Game Wardens, Public Works Employees etc.).
Thank you for your time,
USDA APHIS Wildlife Services
79 Leighton Road, Suite 12
Augusta, ME 04330
An Update on the Status of Maine Moose Health will be the topic for the RRG&SA monthly meeting on Thursday, May 21. The presenter will be Anne Lichtenwalner, DVM PhD, Director of the UMaine Animal Health Laboratory in Orono. The monthly meetings are open to the public. Potluck dinner starts at 5:30pm followed by a short business meeting and then Dr. Lichtenwalner’s presentation. The RRG&SA clubhouse is located on Old Skiway Rd in Oqoussoc. For more information, please contact email@example.com
The Rangeley Health and Wellness fitness and physical therapy staff will be presenting an active lifestyle presentation at the Rangeley Guides Association facility on March 19th at 6:30pm. The focus of the presentation will be exercise recommendations for folks that like to hunt, fly fish, snowmobile, snowshoe, ski, hike, play tennis, play pickleball or enjoy running.
Even though all of the above activities help keep us fit, adding a few strength, flexibility, mobility and balance exercises will assist with injury prevention and improve overall the enjoyment of a favorite activity. Our bodies will quickly adapt to the physical stresses that we place upon them and will no longer improve fitness in any significant way after a few weeks. Adding exercise that challenges us will be very beneficial.
Heather Reed – Practice Manager and therapist for Ascent Rangeley Lakes Rehab will discuss recommended does and don’ts, as well as specific exercises for active people that have had knee or hip replacements.
Jeff Hawksley – Rangeley Fitness Center Director, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist will discuss strength, mobility and balance exercise for the outdoor activity enthusiast.
Lindsay Richards – Rangeley Fitness Center Fitness Assistant, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Sports Nutrition Specialist will present nutrition concepts to help fuel a healthy active lifestyle.
We will also present the many membership, classes and personal training options at the Rangeley Fitness Center.
The Rangeley Region Guides’ and Sportsmen’s Association (RRG&SA) will host a 2-day Wilderness First Aid Course on Saturday, April 18 through Sunday, April 19, 2015 and a 4-day Registered Maine Guide Course on Thursday, April 23 through Sunday, April 26, 2015. Both course will be held at the RRG&SA Clubhouse in Oquossoc and run 8…