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Don’t feed the deer

To the News Enterprise:

It’s 9:30 pm, it’s February, it’s dark, and you’re driving on State Route 28N in Minerva. You’re awake and alert, and are heading home after attending a meeting or doing some much-needed shopping. All of a sudden, out of the darkness that is just outside the area illuminated by your headlights, a deer wanders/leaps/runs directly into your path of travel. You don’t swerve (there’s no time) and you crash directly into the deer. The deer is hurting and the front of your vehicle is wrecked. It is not a good scene.

This scenario has happened way too many times in Minerva (and many other Adirondack communities) over the years. I have nailed three deer over the past 12 years. The issue is not the overall number of deer in the area – the issue is that too many residents feed these critters in their front, side, or back yards. The deer become accustomed to the food and the traffic whizzing by, and then trouble happens. Please, be aware that feeding deer in your yards is illegal in New York State.

According to Part 189 of the regulations that implement the State’s Environmental Conservation Law, no person shall feed white-tailed deer or wild moose at any time in New York State except under certain circumstances: 1) under a license or permit issued by the NYS DEC, for bona fide scientific research; 2) by planting, cultivating or harvesting crops directly associated with bona fide agricultural practices; 3) by distribution of food materials for livestock directly associated with bona fide agricultural practices; 4) by distribution of food material for legally possessed captive white-tailed deer or wild moose; and 5) by cutting of trees or brush.

Why are deer- and moose-feeding regulations necessary? There are good reasons. The threat of spreading Chronic Wasting Disease to NYS deer and moose populations may be at the top of the list. This disease is fatal and is transmitted most likely from animal to animal at central feeding sites, especially where deer are close together. The nature of the disease has required quick and extraordinary actions to address the threat posed by this disease.

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