Balancing Deer Nutrition

Nutrition is the foundation for maintaining healthy productive deer and elk populations.

 

It is important to provide a well-balanced wildlife feed that provides all the nutrient classes in proper amounts to meet your animal’s needs.

Deer, like all ruminant animals, eat to meet their energy needs. The need for energy drives daily intake. It’s this need, and the appeal of palatability that influences what a deer eats. Deer may need to eat more of a low-energy feed in order to meet their demand for calories. Likewise, deer may need to eat less of a higher-quality, higher-energy feed. Since deer eat to meet an energy requirement, the other nutrients (fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals) must be in proportion with the energy amount, so that the deer gets what it needs of all nutrients in the amount of feed that it will eat. For instance, a high-energy low-protein feed will not provide enough protein because the deer will eat only until its energy requirement is met. A high-energy, low-fiber feed (such as corn) can actually get your deer in trouble if they eat too much at once.

Deer also like to eat what is palatable. Given a choice, they will eat the more palatable feed, even if the less palatable feed contains more of the nutrients they need. Corn is a perfect example of a highly palatable but nutritionally deficient feed that deer will eat before eating almost anything else, even to their own detriment.

When choosing a feed, it’s important to review the feeding rate. While a certain feed may have a higher price per bag, it may cost less per year because deer will need to eat less. On the other hand, a feed that has been cheapened up by increasing the fiber and ash content will have an appealing price tag but may end up costing more in the long run because you will have to feed more of it. Feeding deer large amounts of something inexpensive and palatable like corn will also cost in lost productivity and antler growth. Making sure deer get the balanced nutrition they need year-round can result in optimal antler growth and health, maximizing production and profitability.

View all Purina Wildlife Deer Feeds here.

View the Quick Draw Mineral Block here.

 

Feeding Deer in the Fall and Winter Is Beneficial for Bucks, Does, and Fawns

Feeding your deer herd during and after rut in the fall and winter sets bucks, does, and fawns up for success the following year.

With less daylight in the fall and winter, the deer may not be seen at the feeders, but they will utilize the nutrition if available.

Feeding Bucks Through Winter

Even though bucks are in hard rack and achieved their antler size for the year, they can lose 10-30% of their body weight due to increased activity and decreased food intake during the rut and subsequent winter. Feeding bucks during the fall and winter allow bucks to regain weight they may have lost during the rut.

Bucks entering the spring in good body condition can utilize the nutrients they consume for antler growth rather than merely regaining the weight the lost the previous season.  Fall and winter feeding does not need to be the high protein diets that allowed the deer to reach their genetic potential for antler growth. A well-balanced diet of 16% protein and added fat and minerals to support reproduction is of greater benefit than just corn during this time of year.

Feeding Does Through Winter

After a summer of producing milk for one to three fawns, a doe’s body weight and body condition has decreased. Just like the bucks, regaining the lost weight and condition is critical for reproductive success and for surviving the winter.

A study conducted at Washington State University1 in mule deer showed that digestibility energy intake the month prior to the breeding season impacted pregnancy rate and rate of twining. Additionally, does with greater body fat prior to the breeding season had greater rates of twinning.

Benefits of Winter Feeding for Fawns

Does in good body condition during gestation were found to produce heavier and a greater number of fawns than does in poor body condition.2 Fawns with low birth weights have a greater chance of mortality within the first week of life.3 Additionally, researchers are evaluating the link between the food available to does during gestation and their fawns’ future performance.

Fawns born early and late summer may benefit from fall feeding. The fawns born early in the summer are just being weaned in early fall and depending on forage availability would benefit from supplemental feeding. Likewise, fawns born late in the summer may benefit from supplemental feeding in the fall and winter to achieve an adequate body size to survive the winter.

In both cases, the fawns have watched their does consume the supplemental feed and have started nibbling it as well. Weaning is a period of stress and having an additional source of nutrition, like supplemental feed, supports the fawns’ needs during this period of transition.

The importance of supplemental feeding in the spring and summer to support antler growth is a common practice. Continuing to feed deer in the fall and winter is also important to support the nutrient requirements of all classes of deer to support their body weight and body condition to continue to have a successful program the following year.

Michael Schlegel, Ph.D., PAS, Dipl. ACAS-Nutrition

Sr. Nutritionist, Wildlife & Small Ruminant Technical Solutions

 


1 Tollefson, T.N., L. A. Shipley, W.L. Myers, D.H. Keisler, N. Dasgupta. 2010. Influence of summer and autumn nutrition on body condition and reproduction in lactating mule deer. Journal of Wildlife Management 74(5):974-986.
2Verme, L.J. 1963. Effect of nutrition on growth of white-tailed deer fawns. Trans. N. Am. Wildl. Nat. Res Conf. 28:431-443.
3Carstensen, M., G.D. Delgiudice, B.A. Sampson, and D.W. Kuehn. 2009. Journal of Wilflife Management 73(2):175-183.

Stealth Cam Scouting Camera Tips

Whether you have a few acres or thousands of acres that you hunt having a general knowledge of what game is on your property can be key to successful game management program as well as possible hunting success.  One of the best ways to keep track of what’s going on at your properties is with scouting cameras.   We’ve used StealthCam since they only had models that took photos on 35MM film.  Most of us remember those days of taking the film to be developed and waiting for week or more.  Now we’ve seen Stealthcam lead the evolution of cameras that we can view right then.   The new models do everything from taking still pictures in bursts, operating at night in infrared, taking HD video with sound, and even cameras with the ability to send the pictures to you no matter where you are in the world.

Hunters use scouting cameras for a wide variety of things on their properties from watching their animals to protecting their properties. Most of us cannot be out at our properties 24/7 but our scouting cameras can be our eyes while we are away. With the help of the scouting cameras hunters are able to monitor numerous things amongst their herd such as antler development, fawn recruitment, and keeping track of other game on your property from turkeys to hogs or even elk, bear and moose for our friends up north.

Once you get the right scouting camera for your needs it is time to head out and place your camera on your property, but there are a few things you need to take a look at before setting the camera up.

  • Placement – most hunters are going to look to have their cameras near game trails, food plots, feeders or watering holes.
  • Making sure you have the camera located next to an area with lots of activity will help you better know what is on your property
  • Ensure you place your camera in an easily accessible location

Today’s scouting cameras have numerous ways to mount the camera to fit your needs. Most all the cameras will come with straps to mount the camera to a tree or pole, but we all know sometimes that just won’t work. Other mounting options include:

  • Zip Ties
  • Bailing Wire
  • T-post or Auger type mounts
  • Screwing the housing directly into a tree, post or the ground.

One tip, after you get your scouting camera all set up is to take a few test pictures and pull the card and have a look at them. Make sure you have a clear picture and are seeing everything you want, lots of times in heavily wooded areas you may have to trim some branches or brush to get that perfect shot.

Once you have your scouting camera mounted and in the correct location it is time to make sure all of your settings are set the way you like them.

  • Set the date and time to ensure you can accurate data on your pictures
  • Choose if you are wanting to take pictures or videos and how often the camera shoots them
  • Select how high of quality do you want the pictures or videos. Remember the higher the quality the faster your SD cards will fill up

Once you get all those things done it is now time to sit back and enjoy looking at the pictures your scouting cameras will take and seeing what is on your property.

For more information on Stealth Cam Scouting Cameras visit: http://www.gsmoutdoors.com/stealth-cam/

Spin Tech Spreaders Patented Spinner Mechanism

 

Filling feeders has never been easier.

Spin Tech features a patented Spinner Mechanism that not only rotates BUT elevates up and down! When the motor is shut off, the spinner plate automatically is pushed up tight resulting in it being sealed against the hopper, preventing any leakage of feed.

The SPINTECH technology is windproof and also prevents varmints like raccoons & squirrels from opening the plate and eating feed.

One thing we’ve noticed in the field is how strong the motor is, how far the feed is thrown as well as the fact we’ve got little to no waste thanks to the spinner plate going up and down and when not in use it’s secured against the funnel.

When motor is shut off, the spinner plate automatically is pushed up tight AND sealed against the hopper.

 

The SPINTECH technology is windproof and also prevents varmints like racoons & squirrels from opening the plaste and eating feed.

Some of the great features.

  • 12 Volt heavy duty motor
  • Hinged door with latch
  • Bracket to hold “EZ” timer
  • Spin Tech Patented Positive on Demand open/close spinner plate
  • Adjustable feed flow wing nut easily increases or decreases feed rate
  • Powder coated metal
  • 10 amp fuse protection
  • Digital “EZ” timer
  • Feeds up to 8 times a day
  • 1-30 second feed cycles
  • Adjustable motor speeds
  • Variable day selector
  • Test button (10-second delay)
  • Large display
  • Battery life display
  • TWO YEAR WARRANTY

Starting and Maintaining a Feeding Program For Whitetail Deer

Lance Cote from Mumme’s shares a wide range of tips for those creating a wildlife feeding program from scratch. Some of the topics he’ll touch on include when to feed, what to feed, how to get started as well as choosing feeders to help get the feed deployed properly while keeping out other animals.

Mumme’s Inc. South Texas wildlife management headquarters!

Mumme’s Inc. and Purina Mills have had a partnership that spans over fifty years.

Tips to Create a Wildlife Protein-Feeding Program with Lance Cotes from Mumme’s

Lance Cotes from Mumme’s shares a wide range of tips for those creating a wildlife protein-feeding program from scratch. Some of the topics he’ll touch on include when to feed, what to feed, and whether bulk or bagged protein pellets are right for you.

What Time of Year Should You Feed Protein?

“ If it is feasible both labor and financially year round feeding is the best time to feed deer protein pellets. This keeps those animals on constant level of nutrition and the results will soon be very obvious.” 

Why Should You Feed Deer Protein?

“As we all know climate is ever constant, therefore the browse and forage which are the main stay of a whitetail deer’s diet are never constant. When you get your deer heard established on a steady regiment of high quality deer feed you even out those highs and lows mother nature throws at us.” 

Do You Feed The Same Protein All Year Long?

“During spring and summer, march through September this is antler growth doe lactation time. Now is when you need to be feeding a 20% deer pellet such as Purina Antler Max 20%. When September arrives and bucks shed their velvet and fawns have switched over to a diet other than doe’s milk you can switch over 16% pellet that is higher and fat such as Purina Antler Advantage Rut and Conditioning Deer 16” 

Bag or Bulk Protein?

“The choice to get feed in either bulk or bag is up to the customer. If you have storage such as overhead bin and a delivery system such as a blower trailer then you would most defiantly want to take advantage of bulk feed. Mumme’s can serve you either way, simply stop by one of our four locations and pick up the bagged or bulk feed you need.”  

Click the link to watch and listen to Lance Cotes on this program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B73U3iD-sow&t=5s

 For more information visit: http://www.mummesinc.com