DEC releases new regulations for feeding of deer, moose
PLATTSBURGH — New regulations aim to reduce problems caused by wildlife feeding and lay out strict procedures for using tick-control devices designed to treat deer.
According to a state Department of Environmental Conservation press release, prohibition of wild deer- and moose-feeding is a best management practice for reducing risks associated with communicable wildlife diseases, minimizing conflicts with deer and protecting wildlife habitats.
“Feeding deer and moose can artificially increase populations and change behavior, causing harm to people, wildlife and the environment,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement.
“These new requirements strike a necessary balance between preventing the negative effects of deer feeding while recognizing the increased public health threat posed by tick-borne diseases and make an exception to allow the use of certain devices designed to kill ticks on deer.”
Chronic wasting disease
In response to the threat of chronic wasting disease (CWD), the DEC first prohibited deer feeding in 2002 since concentrating deer or moose at feeding sites increased the risk of transition, the press release said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CWD is fatal to animals, there are no treatments or vaccines, and symptoms include drastic weight loss, listlessness and other neurologic symptoms.
So far, there have been no reported cases of CWD in people.
DEC adopted the new regulation, which provides a clearer definition of what does and does not constitute illegal feeding, following a public comment period earlier this year.
“For example, the requirements provide exemptions for wildlife plantings, bona fide agricultural practices, livestock husbandry, and research and nuisance abatement actions permitted by DEC,” the release said.
“It clarifies that incidental feeding such as the attraction of deer or moose to a birdfeeder will only be considered a violation if DEC has previously issued a written warning to the person responsible for the incidental feeding.
“This will allow nuisance situations to be appropriately addressed without limiting bird feeding in general.”
The regulation also requires that “retail products packaged for sale as food or edible attractants for wild deer or moose … carry a label clearly stating that such use is illegal in New York.”
It additionally establishes procedures for the legal use of 4-Poster Tickicide, a pesticide registered by the U.S. Environmental Agency and DEC to kill ticks on deer.
Four rollers or “posts” attached to bait stations filled with corn deposit pesticide on the deer’s heads and necks as they eat the corn, the press release said.
“In parts of New York with high tick-borne disease rates, there is considerable public interest in using these devices.
“The application procedures and permit issuance conditions specified in the new regulation are designed to allow such use while limiting negative impacts of deer feeding on the surrounding community and environment.”