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Minnesota Kicks Off First Emergency Deer Feeding Program in 17 Years

Last week, Minnesota hunters and volunteers kicked off the state's first public emergency deer feeding program in 17 years.

More than 100 volunteers participated in the launch of the program, which aims to distribute 1,000,000 pounds of feed to 13 deer permit areas throughout the state's northern regions.

The emergency feed is a joint effort between the state Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. The MDHA's Executive Director, Mark Johnson, said the program's kickoff has been a success so far.

RELATED: Food left by humans likely killed Pennsylvania trophy elk.

"It went really well," he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "It definitely will have a local effect."

Johnson said that he hopes the feed will reach at least 20,000 deer. The MDHA will use more than 400 volunteers to distribute the feed via snowmobiles. The state DNR will only allow the public to place feed on public land.

The DNR opposes supplemental feeding, but wanted to act "in good faith" to support the deer feeding program. The department's stance is that supplemental feeding causes deer to congregate, which can lead to the spread of chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis. The DNR spent $170,000 on 1,000,000 pounds of pelletized feed, which they gave to the MDHA to distribute.

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Minnesota Kicks Off First Emergency Deer Feeding Program in 17 Years