Feeding deer can be dangerous and illegal

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Okemos forest where deer enjoy lurking.

By Sara Ventimiglia
Meridian Times staff writer

Although deer may be beautiful animals, Environmental Commission Board Member Mira Bagdasarian does not want them near her yard and especially not her plants. Bagdasarian mentioned the problem at a Board meeting Wednesday, Feb. 16.

The multiplication of deer in the Meridian Township area is apparent, but citizens are unaware of the dangers of feeding the animals.

“Last year, public remarks were made about people feeding the deer,” said Bagdasarian. “People complain that the deer are eating their plants but it’s their neighbors who are attracting them.”

Michigan State University Professor Shawn Riley gave a televised lecture on the issue of deer and what to do to keep them away, but never mentioned that it is illegal to feed them.

Vice Chairman Michael Thomas said that people could be ticketed if they put out bird feeders intentionally to feed deer.

“It’s illegal to do it intentionally but the problem is that the DNR has more serious trouble to deal with than people feeding deer,” said Thomas.

Thomas said that deer will continue to be a problem in Michigan and will become an even larger one.

“It’s been proven that deer are eating things lately that they normally wouldn’t have in the past because the population is multiplying,” said Thomas.

Board Member Sarah Finley was taken back by the discussion.

“If we put out bird feeders, the deer will eat it and that obviously isn’t just our fault,” said Finley.

Finley said she has tried different methods to keep the deer away including pepper spray. None seem to work, according to Finley.

Bagdasarian said deer have also caused accidents and if they continue to multiply, so will the dangers.

“I think that we should do something to inform people of these issues,” said Bagdasarian.

Chairman James Jackson said it is a decision on the commissions part whether they think people should be informed about the deer problem and told that it is illegal to feed them.

“I’m sure the public would appreciate a simple statement,” said Jackson. “Informing people about the law is only appropriate.”

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