The legislature’s IFW Committee had a long discussion about deer feeding, and received extensive reports from DIFW on these issues. The department recommended no changes to the existing laws, but did say they had plans to address all the issues and concerns.
One handout I found interesting was wildlife biologist Nathan Bieber’s briefing paper on all the issues. I posted that report in this outdoor news blog on February 3.
Also interesting was a survey done at the University of Maine, which found that nearly half of those surveyed considered deer a nuisance that should not be in their yards. You can read the entire survey here:
Gerry LaVigne, DIFW’s long time deer biologist, who in his retirement is very active in the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine, also provided the IFW Committee with a written statement that included this:
Regarding supplemental feeding, I am very supportive of any Department efforts to improve messaging about feeding deer… In addition, I think the idea of establishing a deer feeding pilot program is a great one… A SAM survey of our members in 2018 revealed that 26% had fed deer sometime during the previous 3 winters. That equates to about 2,000 feeding sites, just among SAM members! As for food plots, I think the Department is spot on in not recommending regulating the activity, and I appreciate the agency’s avoiding to characterize whether use of food plots constitutes “fair chase”.
After a long discussion, the IFW Committee agreed to make no changes to the existing law, preferring to allow DIFW to initiate their own plans for dealing with this complex issue.