In response to a severe Winter Severity Index for 2014 an Emergency Winter Deer Feeding Program was approved by the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and conducted by the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association during the winter of 2014 (March-April). The program was funded by the DNR through a MN taxpayer based account funded by the 50 cent per deer hunting license allotment initiated in 1996. (MN Statute 97A.075) These funds, paired with in kind and/or monetary contributions from MDHA, MDHA Chapters, and MDHA volunteers, made the deer feeding effort possible.
A total of 1,056,000 pounds of feed, or 528 tons, was purchased and distributed across a total of 12,190.95 square miles during the six week initiative. There were a total of 969 individuals who obtained feed through the program. These volunteers put feed out to 1,123 documented sites across the 13 DNR approved Deer Permit Areas in Northeastern MN.
A total of $200, 225.69 was spent on feed procurement and shipping/handling. Under the terms of the grant, MDHA paid the feed procurement expenses as they in incurred, and subsequently requested reimbursement from DNR. DNR reimbursed MDHA for appropriate expenses from the “Emergency Winter Deer Feeding/Wild Cervid Health” account.
Considerable volunteer help was provided to help with feed distribution both at the eight distribution locations, and by the volunteer feeders themselves. A minimum of 72 volunteers handed out feed on a weekly basis at the eight distribution points (avg of 9 volunteers/site/week) for a total of 288 volunteer hours/week, 1728 total volunteer hours for the six week duration. Using the DNR’s standard volunteer labor rate of $13.00/hr, the total in-kind volunteer labor amount provided by MDHA is $22,464.00. A total of 885 hours of MDHA Staff time was used to support the feeding program. The cost of this staff time was $32,990.48 (including fringe benefits).
To see the complete report go to: mndeerhunters.com/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2014/07/Deer-Feeding-Final-Report.pdf – MDHA release