Although it may feel like you are doing a good thing, feeding wild animals has many negative consequences.
Conservation Officer, Kevin Harrison, warns that feeding wild animals often does more harm than help, "The animal gets used to eating the human food instead of their natural diet so they don't get the proper nutrients."
He said some animals, such as deer, cannot handle certain foods provided by humans, "If you're feeding deer not their natural diet, there's a thing called grain overload. The deer will starve with a full stomach, because they're not getting the proper nutrients and can't digest that food properly."
Other animals may be given an advantage if being fed, which can lead to other problems according to Harrison, "That artificial food source can also cause larger families and litters, overpopulation. That can lead to starvation, disease and it can be harmful to humans as well."
By feeding deer or other prey animals, you may also be leading predators, such as coyotes, to your yard.
Those wanting to help and encourage the local wildlife populations should just leave things as is. Harrison noted people on farms or acreages can leave some natural shelter for deer and other small animals, "Ensure there's large blocks of tree cover, bluffs or bushes. These provide cover and food for the deer."
If you have any concerns about wildlife, Harrison said to contact the local conservation office or the Turn In Poacher Line at -800-667-7561.