All spring, summer and autumn long your neighbors are trying to figure out how not to feed the local deer with their gardens, but this winter your local deer are looking a little lean, so you are on the hunt for some winter deer feeding recommendations. Before you set up your deer buffet, though, you should learn the local laws. Some states, like California, prohibit you from feeding the deer and baiting deer for hunting is illegal in nearly every state. If you are having an especially harsh winter, though, and feeding deer is legal in your area, here's a list of your best options.
Ideally, you can provide the deer with the same thing they eat throughout the year: your local hardwood. If you live on a big plot of land where you can cut down a maple, birch or oak tree, you can offer this woody browse to your deer. Although you might think that chopping down a tree is not the most environmentally healthy way to feed the deer you would be mistaken. You can chop up the leftover lumber for firewood in the summer and the stumps will grow suckers and saplings that will provide the deer with forage in future winters.
Your local feed store probably carries pellets that are specifically designed with deer nutritional needs in mind. You can buy these pellets in bulk and leave them out for the deer. The deer may not recognize the pellets as food at first. You might need to mix in some cracked corn or oats to make the pellets more appealing to the deer. Once the deer realize they can eat the pellets, you can put out the pellets without the grains.
Although deer love to eat alfalfa, you probably should not offer it during the winter. Alfalfa and hay can cause serious digestive problems in deer, especially if the deer were starving. Save this treat for the summer.