Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment has a warning for those wanting to feed deer in the province.
It says it has received calls recently from individuals wanting to feed deer in areas of the province such as the southeast.
While these may seem like well-intended actions, it can be detrimental to deer populations, according to the ministry.
Biological adaptations, such as a thick winter coat, fat reserves, a reduced metabolic rate and sedentary behaviour, help deer survive severe winters.
Even with all the food they want, deer will still rely on their fat reserves and lose weight over winter.
The ministry says although winter-related starvation can occur, trying to save them through supplemental feeding can end up causing them more harm than good.
Research has shown deer in relatively good condition can fast for several weeks without suffering any harmful effects.
One way Saskatchewan residents can support deer populations, says Sask. Environment is to ensure larger blocks of tree cover, such as aspen bluffs, remain intact.
These areas provide the cover and sufficient food for deer to survive the winter.