Colorado Parks & Wildlife Warns Against Feeding Wild Animals in Your Home

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If you thought luring wild animals into your home and feeding them human food will make you a Disney princess, Colorado's Parks and Wildlife wants to remind you that feeding big-game is "selfish and illegal" in the state of Colorado.

The agency issued a reminder on Monday after two "egregious" incidents of people feeding wild deer were reported to the agency, including one incident that had been recorded on video. In the video posted on CPW's Twitter account, a woman can be seen calling out to a buck (a male deer), using names like 'Sweetness' and 'Angel' while feeding the wild animal bread and various fruits and vegetables. Two other deer show up in the video, with the woman addressing each one by name.

A second incident involving a man standing in his front yard feeding deer was also reported by the agency. Deer would apparently rush up to the man while he had food.

“It is selfish and unethical to feed big-game,” said Area Wildlife Manager Mark Lamb. “You are going to end up unintentionally killing those animals and also putting yourself in harm's way. If what you want is a pet or just to connect with an animal, choose a domestic breed that has evolved to live with people.”

Wildlife officials warned there was more danger than just having a wild animal in your home. Residents who feed big-game prey animals are also attracting predators to the area.

“If you are training deer to come and stay in your backyard, you are asking mountain lions to be in your neighborhood as well,” Lamb said. 

Feeding big-game wildlife is illegal and can result in a $100 fine per occasion of feeding, plus, mandatory surcharges, CPW said in the release. Both people mentioned in the release were contacted by CPW and charges were filed.

“I commonly find that mountain residents believe feeding deer and elk is a helpful and harmless act, but doing so habituates these animals to people in ways that completely alter the natural distribution of elk and deer and disrupts their natural wild behavior,” said Wildlife Officer Joe Nicholson. “Turning your yard into a virtual zoo by feeding deer and elk is not safe for people, not healthy for wildlife and is truly a selfish act. The proper way to enjoy viewing wildlife is to do so from a safe distance and without artificially introducing feed, salt, or other attractants that alter their natural use of the landscape and aversion to people.” 

Photo: Colorado Parks & Wildlife

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