People intentionally feeding white-tailed deer cause unnatural concentrations near the food source, which can lead to ecological damage, damage to property, and an increased risk of transmitting disease between deer.
DEC recently adopted a new regulation to provide a clearer definition of what does and does not constitute illegal feeding of deer or moose. All intentional feeding of deer or moose is prohibited, except for cutting trees and brush for wildlife, growing foods for wildlife or agricultural crops, or activities conducted under permits issued by DEC for research and management purposes. Distributing foods or food products (fruits, vegetables, grains, minerals, powders, liquids) to attract and feed deer or moose is otherwise prohibited statewide and at all times of year.
The regulation clarifies that incidental feeding, such as attracting deer or moose to a bird feeder, 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 prohibits the sale of retail products packaged for sale as food or edible attractants for wild deer unless the products carry a label clearly stating that such use is illegal in New York.