Man’s bird feeder prompts question about deer feeding law

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If you get caught feeding deer in Sioux Falls city limits, you could pay dearly.

The law states you can’t put out any “unnatural” food sources, like corn or table scraps, out on your property or anyone else’s to attract deer. Doing so will cost you a nearly $100 ticket. A local man says his yard is a magnet for deer, and that has him wondering if what he’s doing is against the law.

For 30 years, Myron Wachendorf has called Old Orchard home. He’s not the only one.

“You’ve got everything here wildlife would like,” Wachendorf said.

His house overlooks the woods. Being ever the good host, he leaves plenty of feeders for area squirrels and birds.

“There’s bird seed all over underneath,” Wachendorf said.

Wachendorf says some deer fawn over the leftovers and wander into his yard to eat. There aren’t any big herds, just a few of them. Actually, Wachendorf recognizes this lunch crowd.

“I got one deer that’s been here five years. I call her mom. She has babies every year. She usually has twins,” Wachendorf said.

Someone recently called animal control to report Wachendorf for feeding the deer. Something, he says, he’s not doing intentionally. Now he’s wondering if the law affects his bird feeders.

“Any unintentional feeding of a deer, like a bird feeder, that would not be a violation of the law,” Animal Control officer Milo Hartson said.

Hartson says it’s important not to try to attract deer into your yard. Not just for their safety, but for yours.

“You get too many deer in a certain area, especially around the rivers and hilly areas of Sioux Falls, that’s where a lot of our main throughways are. People get into car-deer accidents. We just don’t want that to happen,” Hartson said.

With that in mind, and with where he lives, Wachendorf says there’s little he can do to keep wildlife out of his yard. So, his feeders will stay full.

“No, I’m not going to stop what I’m doing,” Wachendorf said.

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