The reason deer may have a hard time digesting certain feeds in the winter months has to do with their need for a gradual acclimation in order to get their rumen bacteria geared-up. All ruminants are this way. If they eat a little hay all fall and winter, it would be no problem. But, folks generally wait until the deer are in tough shape to begin feeding, and there is potential for problems.
Either way, I think habitat improvements are the best way to feed deer during winter. Shooting an appropriate number of does in the fall can be every bit as important, depending on the local area.
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