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Are deer being forced into agricultural and suburban areas because there is a food shortage in the woods due to vegetation management?

Category: Environment and Wildlife

Deer are well adapted to seek and feed on the most nutritious food sources possible. It isn’t that deer are trying to escape treated areas, they are simply finding the most nutritious and easily accessible foods available – the grasses, shrubs, trees, and other vegetation readily available in agricultural or suburban areas.

Deer have always sought the most nutritious foods available in their home ranges. When near humans they commonly feed in and around agricultural fields which have been enriched through fertilization, planting of nutrient rich species, and vegetation management (including plowing, disking, and herbicides). In suburban areas where deer are no longer hunted aggressively, their local populations have grown and they seek nutrient rich forage, like planted and fertilized vegetables, fruits, grass, shrubs, and trees found in yards. The foods being provided by homeowners in suburban areas, not the application of spray solutions containing glyphosate, are the primary reason deer have started using those areas extensively. It should be emphasized that artificially feeding any wildlife, including deer, is considered a very risky and inappropriate practice because animals may become dependent on that food source, drawn away from their natural habitat and less capable of foraging naturally.