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Earth Brief

Do not provide food to big game animals

Feeding big game is not only illegal in Colorado, it is deadly for wildlife, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The digestive systems of deer, elk, moose and bighorn sheep are specialized for natural food sources, not the common types of feed given to livestock and pets.

When big game eat food not suited to their systems, especially during the winter, they can develop digestive problems that will kill them within a few days.

The digestive systems of ungulates change so that they can efficiently digest vegetation that is naturally dried out and low in nutritional value. When they eat nutrient-dense food such as corn or alfalfa, their digestive systems produce high amounts of acid which causes them to become dehydrated.

Another problem with feeding is that it causes numerous animals to congregate in one area. That creates an environment for disease transmission. Animals that bunch up can also be vulnerable to mountain lions or other predators.

Anyone who suspects that big game animals are being fed is asked to call the nearest Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.

Tips also can be called in to Operation Game Thief at (877) 265-6648.

Herald Staff

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