Nevada Wildlife officials are warning Carson City residents not to feed the deer.
Department spokesman Chris Healy said not only is it bad biologically, deer populations can attract large predators such as mountain lions.
Healy also said it is just plum illegal.
Intentionally feeding deer is punishable by a warning the first time and Healy said the department has issued a number of warnings this winter.
Carson Game Warden Jake Kreamer said he has issued repeated warnings but that people think the deer need food so many of them ignore the warnings.
“The number one thing I get from people is the deer are going to starve if they don’t help,” Kreamer said. ”I tell them they only go where the food is so all you’re doing is keeping them here.”
He said the presence of the deer in large numbers draws predators into Carson neighborhoods — mountain lions in particular. Kreamer said lions are especially a problem in the Lakeview subdivision.
The problem with deer and motor vehicles, Kreamer said, is “huge.”
“One of my problem persons was in the Ash Canyon area,” he said. “I gave her her first warning a couple of years ago. I thought she was going to pull a gun on me she was so irate. The second time, I caught her with food in her hand, hand-feeding deer.”
He said one chronic deer-feeders apparently finally got the message because of the number of animals hit by vehicles.
“I had to put down four deer in her immediate neighborhood — within 200 feet of her house — just because of vehicle collisions and the food she provided.”
He said throughout Carson City, he still is dealing with about one deer vs. motor vehicle accident a week.
The deer themselves, he said, can also get “very aggressive,” especially females.
“They come after homeowners, dogs.”
In addition, he said deer have a lot of ticks that carry diseases such as Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that can infect people and their pets.
Kreamer said the standard for a first offense is a warning, but that additional offenses carry a fine — up to $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third.
In a nutshell, Kreamer said people need to know that: “The deer are doing fine without their help.”