The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is encouraging farmers and ranchers to plan ahead to protect hay, grain and winter feed supplies from wildlife, according to Kevin Kading, private lands section supervisor. Even with today's low deer populations, severe winter conditions can result in wildlife depredation to livestock feed supplies, Kading said. Producers are [...]

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is encouraging farmers and ranchers to plan ahead to protect hay, grain and winter feed supplies from wildlife, according to Kevin Kading, private lands section supervisor.

Even with today's low deer populations, severe winter conditions can result in wildlife depredation to livestock feed supplies, Kading said.

Producers are encouraged to store hay in a manner and location that prevents or reduces damage by wildlife. For example, stacking bales rather than leaving them scattered across a field can help reduce damage and make the bales easier to protect. Stacking bales inside a fence, if possible, can prevent wildlife from gaining access to them. Ranchers have also used a protective barrier of round straw bales surrounding their higher quality bales to prevent wildlife damage, Kading said, and a number of other options are available to producers to minimize or reduce wildlife depredation, including allowing hunters access to land to ensure a proper harvest of animals.

Kading said any type of livestock  feed supplies left in an open field are difficult for Game and Fish to address. 'There are very few options available,' Kading added, 'this is why we stress the importance of being as proactive as possible.'

Planning early is the best way to reduce problems, Kading said. 'If producers wait too long, snow and deteriorating weather conditions could make it difficult to store hay and feed supplies properly,' he said.

The Department will assist producers with wildlife depredation problems, but cannot compensate producers for losses.  The Department has temporary and permanent fencing options available for livestock producers experiencing chronic depredation problems.

For help or more information on how to protect hay, grain and winter feed supplies, contact the Game and Fish Department at  701-328-6300.