Greg Sheehan, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Greg Sheehan, director of the Division of Wildlife Resources, shows some of the specially designed pellets biologists are feeding to deer in the Bear Lake Valley.

GARDEN CITY, Rich County — Biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources and hunters from sportsmen’s groups are starting an emergency deer feeding program in Garden City, where snow and bitter temperatures are threatening the survival of deer in parts of the Bear Lake Valley.

This is the first time emergency deer feeding has been needed in Utah since 2008.

Greg Sheehan, director of the division, said in a statement biologists have been closely monitoring deer and winter range conditions across Utah this winter. He said the weather in the Bear Lake Valley is an anomaly compared to other locations in the state.

“These deer are exhausted, confused and without options,” Sheehan said. “They need help.”

Justin Dolling, supervisor of the division’s northern region, said biologists are feeding the deer a specially formulated pellet that meets the nutritional needs and digestive systems deer have. He said the pellet is the only item biologists will feed the deer and alfalfa, grass hay or other products will not be used.

“This specially formulated pellet gives deer the correct balance of energy and protein the animals need,” he said. “Products other than this pellet can actually hurt the deer. We appreciate the concern many folks have about deer in Utah this winter, but we strongly discourage people from feeding deer on their own.”