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.

 

When Should You Head To Your Deer Stand?

When should I get to my stand and how early is too early? Two questions every hunter should ask when preparing for any deer hunt. Some fellow hunters provide their take on when they like to head out to the stand.

How early is too early and how late is too late when going to and from stands? WOW, that’s a great question that really can’t be answered with a one part answer due to so many factors. To get the right answer you would have to look at the time of year, deer movement, weather conditions, etc. 

As a rule of thumb for me, I like to get to the stand at least 30 minutes before daylight for an early morning sit. One hour is even better. For an afternoon sit, I like to get there two hours before prime time movement for that time of the year, at a minimum.   However, as I said above there are so many factors in answering this question that I would never say there is an absolute answer to it.”

Wade Middleton, Host of Americana Outdoors®

Well, I’ll start by prefacing my answer that I am not a fan of all-day sits…that considered, in the AM, can’t get in too early (in most cases).  Always good to be settled/quiet for a period of time before the woods officially comes to life for the day.  As far as leaving in the AM, if there is action, stay put.  If nothing is moving, at all or for an extended period of time, and you don’t have pics to show a pattern of late-morning wanderers, get out.  Head back to camp and solidify the plan for the afternoon/evening.

 For the PM, same as the AM…too early is a good default.  No harm in saving the sore backside if you don’t have a comfortable set-up.  Sneaking in just before a forecasted “prime time” is too risky.  I’m lazy but not that lazy!  As far as getting out, dark is the default.  Even with no movement I would vote for staying as long as you can, with a couple of exceptions – you can more easily bail without mucking up the area for future hunts or if Angel is making venison salisbury steak that night.”

Steve Nessl, Yamaha ATV and Side-by-Side Marketing Manager & Avid Hunter

I’ve always wanted to get in my stands really early in the morning. I prefer about 30 minutes before it actually starts breaking. That may seem early, but bumping one by being a little late is just not worth it to me. Then when the hunt is over, I gauge when to leave by what is around as it is getting dark. I don’t want other deer to see me getting out of the blind during daylight. Usually when it gets black dark, I’ll sneak out.”

Clark Wendlandt, Host of Fishing & Hunting Texas™, Cabela’s Pro Staff

As you can see, everyone has their own preference. However, the general consensus for morning hunts, plan on being squared away at least 30 minutes to an hour before daylight. Regarding afternoon hunts, confirm what the deer are doing that time of year. If you have Stealth Cams setup, check the times of when the photos are taken and gauge from there.

We hope this insight will help you get settled in the stand and ready for when that shooter comes in. Happy hunting!