We conducted experimental feeding using 3 feeding methods (pile, spread, trough) and 2 quantities (rationed, ad libitum) of shelled corn to compare deer activity and behavior with control sites and evaluate potential direct and indirect transmission of infectious disease in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in central Wisconsin, USA. Deer use was higher at 2 of the feeding sites than at natural feeding areas (P ≤ 0.02). Deer spent a higher proportion of time (P < 0.01) feeding at pile (49%) and spread (61%) treatments than at natural feeding areas (36%). We found higher deer use for rationed than ad libitum feeding quantities and feeding intensity was greatest at rationed piles and lowest at ad libitum spreads. We also observed closer pairwise distances (≤0.3 m) among deer when corn was provided in a trough relative to spread (P = 0.03). Supplemental feeding poses risks for both direct and indirect disease transmission due to higher deer concentration and more intensive use relative to control areas. Concentrated feeding and contact among deer at feeding sites can also increase risk for disease transmission. Our results indicated that restrictions on feeding quantity would not mitigate the potential for disease transmission. None of the feeding strategies we evaluated substantially reduced the potential risk for disease transmission and banning supplemental feeding to reduce transmission is warranted.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 72 • No. 2