Written by Tammy Walro
December 31, 2008
Watching deer, especially this time of year when they are the most active, is a popular pastime in the local Metroparks. Feeding deer, however, is a misguided and potentially dangerous thing to do, for people as well as the animals, park naturalists say.
Feeding wildlife in the Metroparks is prohibited for good reasons.
The animals don’t need it. Deer and other wildlife do not need the food that people provide. Some foods, like popcorn and bread, actually can do more harm than good to animals, including ducks.
People can get hurt. More importantly, people can and have been injured by wild animals, even squirrels and raccoons, who have lost their natural instinct to keep their distance. Even people who don’t feed wildlife can get hurt if they are approached by animals used to being fed.
Cars and deer don’t mix. Feeding deer from cars or alongside roads is a very bad idea because it attracts the animals to streets, potentially leading to car-deer collisions.
Metroparks naturalists are asking park visitors to enjoy wildlife from a distance, never feed wildlife in the parks and to drive with added caution.