There’s a big difference between filling bird feeders in your backyard and inviting a few deer into your house for a snack. This week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) charged two Colorado residents with the “selfish and unethical” practice of feeding big game, Fox News reports. Photos released by the agency show deer entering into a living room and, even, eating a mixture of apples, carrot and bread from what appears to be a kitchen table.
“It is selfish and unethical to feed big-game,” said Mark Lamb, an area wildlife manager with CPW. “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.”
According to Fox News, the instances occurred in the towns of Bailey and Evergreen. In Bailey, a homeowner was charged with feeding deer in his yard so frequently “that deer would come rushing to him when he stepped outside.” In Evergreen, a woman invited a buck into her home, and in a video, “can be seen feeding a piece of bread” to the deer while other deer waited outside. The woman also fed deer snacks off of her kitchen table.
CPW filed charges against both residents, which could mean “fines of up to $100 per instance of feeding, along with associated costs,” according to Fox News. CPW also cited 12 other residents for similar incidents last month.
Feeding wildlife changes their natural instincts and feeding patterns. It can also introduce predators to an area that they might not have traveled to before.
“If you are training deer to come and stay in your backyard, you are asking mountain lions to be in your neighborhood as well,” said Lamb.
“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,” said Wildlife Officer Joe Nicholson. “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.”