Big Game Winter Feeding

When winter brings wildlife out of the hills and into contact with people, we may ask when is it appropriate to feed big game animals. The desire to feed animals is natural, yet from past experience, Fish and Game knows it is a complicated decision.

Fish and Game looks to natural forage to sustain big game populations. But when emergency conditions exist, winter feeding becomes an option. Three main conditions that can trigger winter feeding are:

The agency’s policy and actions have evolved through decades of experience with winter feeding and is done with the best interest of Idaho’s big game populations.

After the devastating winters in the late 1990’s, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission developed a policy and process to guide the agency’s decisions to feed or not to feed big game animals.


Winter Feeding: A Wildlife Dilemma
In 1999 Fish and Game produced a video to explore the challenges the agency and the public face with feeding wildlife in the winter.   While the situations and voices are from the past, the complex nature of winter feeding hasn’t changed much in 20 years.