- Why Supplement Feed?
- Supplemental Feed Vs Food Plots
- When To Use Protein Feeds
- Other Advantages to Protein Feeds
- Benefits of Wildgame Innovations
- I would like to request a donation or contribution for my organization. Who do I contact?
- Can a solar panel be used with the THX5.0?
- How far away should I set up my camera for the best quality pictures?
- My SD Card will not accept images.
- What type of USB cord should I use, and where can I find one?
- All of my thumbnails are black or white.
- My Timberview did not come with a USB cord is it supposed to and where and what type do I need?
- How high should I mount the camera?
- What is the difference between LED and Incandescent flash?
- Why does my camera sometimes take photos every minute when the temperature reaches into the mid 90's?
- Why are my photos not in "full" color?
- Why is the SD card not reading in my digital camera?
Successful managers around the country have learned supplemental feeding deer picks up where Mother Nature has left off. Regardless of drought, harsh winters, or poor habitat, by supplemental feeding deer, you can be assured that each deer has the nutritional ability to reach it's genetic potential. With supplemental feeding, you will see increased body weights, higher fawn survival, larger antlers and less mortality. Does will produce more milk and are more likely to have twins. Bucks will have lower post-rut mortality and a faster recovery time, leading to increase in antler quality.
Q: Supplemental Feed Vs Food Plots
The two most common and best ways to increase the protein intake of a deer herd is either protein feeds or food plots. Despite some rhetoric, both methods are considered supplemental feeding deer. Food plots are the latest and most current fad in deer management. Like all fads, food plots may not be for everyone. Food plots have many drawbacks that most people are not aware of. For example, the first step in creating a food plot is to destroy and clear all native vegetation on that piece of ground. Destroying native vegetation usually means destroying deer habitat (in most cases you are replacing that native vegetation with a non-native plant). Once these areas have been cleared it destroys ecological succession, and that area may never return to its original state. On the other hand, protein feeds do not require the destruction of native vegetation in order to implement a supplementation program. Most people just put up a free choice gravity flow feeder that the deer have access to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This avenue of supplementation does not destroy any acreage of natural habitat and most people do not even hunt over the protein feeder. Why, you might ask? Because that feeder is there to increase the protein intake of the deer...it is not there to attract deer to a location so that they can be killed. You cannot say the same about a food plot with a deer stand at end of it. With protein feeds, the manager just places a feeder in the desired area and the deer continue to mutually use and benefit from both native vegetation and protein feeds.
Most seed companies recommend you plant in fertile, black soils, which retains moisture during dry periods of the year. It is no coincidence that the soil types they recommend you to place your food plot in are the exact same soils that usually produce the most productive native plant species for deer. If you chose not to plant in the most fertile of soil types, then you are faced with the extra cost of fertilizer or the inevitability of rotating your food plot crop to different sections every year. Without fertilization or rotation, your food plot faces the strong possibility that the plant grown will not actually exhibit the nutrient content that the manufactures states it is capable of under ideal conditions. Alternatively, most protein feeds come with a guaranteed analysis from the manufacturer. This guaranteed analysis assures the deer manager that his/her deer are receiving the exact nutrients at the exact proper levels, regardless of weather patterns or soil fertility.
Another subject that seed companies fail to mentionâ€¦is that size matters. The size of the food plot is one of most important aspects about creating a food plot and surprisingly it is rarely discussed. It is not a great leap of logic to understand that if a food plot is to significantly increase the overall nutrition of the entire deer herd, it has to be large enough to not only provide food for each and every deer in the herd, but to also provide enough food to significantly increase their nutritional status. In other words, if you have 100 deer in your area you can hardly expect a 5-acre food plot to provide enough nutrition to significantly increase the overall health of your deer herd. Let's study this example further; each deer will eat approximately 1.5 - 3 lbs of food each day. By multiplying the number of deer in your area times the pounds of food each deer eats per day, we can conservatively deduce that the food plot would have to produce 150 lbs of food per day. Some food plot crops, of course, can actually do this. However, can it be done on just 5 acres and can it be done without the ideal weather conditions?
Even if a food plot is planted in the perfect soil type, at the perfect depth, with the perfect equipment, at the perfect time of year, the food plot still could not produce. Without proper amounts and timing of rain the ideal planting conditions for a food plot are meaningless. As Dr. Kroll has noted on many occasions, the manager must plant both warm and cool season food plots; something most areas cannot support. In the North, frozen ground and snow prevent plant growth for up to seven months; while in the South; high summer temperatures and low rainfall prohibit crop production at a critical time. Hence, there always is a need for supplemental protein feeds. Dr. Kroll calls pelleted feeds, â€œrainfall in a bag.â€ According to Dr. Kroll pelleted rations allow deer to â€œtop off the tankâ€ whenever they need added nutrition.
During a drought most plants, native and non-native, have limited growth and exhibit less than desirable nutrient levels. Droughts can create the food plot planter's worst nightmare, double jeopardy. Double jeopardy refers to the failure of a food plot, both nutritionally and monetarily. Double jeopardy is when a food plot fails to produce enough high protein food to significantly affect the deer herd, which in turn renders the manager's money investment into the food plot meaningless. This Double jeopardy can be caused by numerous events but usually the cause is either climatic or an incorrect planting procedure. Double jeopardy is very unfortunate to the person relying on food plots to elevate his/her deer herds nutritional status, because during droughts and other extreme climatic events are when a deer herd needs that extra supplementation the most. Extreme climatic events are the true test of any supplementation program. While in route to completing my master's degree, I once had a wildlife professor tell me that if something is true, then it should also be true when it is subjected to infinite proportions. What he meant by this was, if anything is true it should remain true in the most extreme possible conditions.
By applying this statement to the subject at hand the argument becomes clearer. No one is arguing that under the right conditions a food plot can benefit a deer herd. However, will it benefit a deer herd if you experience a drought, flood, extreme heat, extreme cold or a variation/combination of all the above? This statement may seem out of place in an article about supplemental feeding, but I think it enlightens us to the conclusion that food plots can not be depended on to consistently provide your deer herd with increased levels of protein during all possible climatic conditions. Conversely, using protein feeds, as your method of supplementation requires no destruction of native plants, no expensive farm equipment, no extensive knowledge of farming practices, and assures you that your deer herd will be provided with optimal nutrition during all possible seasons and climatic conditions.
The last and most sensitive subject in the debate of pellets vs. plots is morality. There are some people stating that food plots are the natural way to increase your deer herd's nutritional status. One of the most common sentiments I hear on the subject is that food plots are more ethical than pouring protein feeds out of a bag. Whenever I am confronted with this statement, I gently remind that person that if they really think about it, food plots come from a bag too. That, of course, is the emotional approach, however emotions do not change the facts. And the facts about pellets vs. plots are that they are both unnatural. Of course the next obvious question is, at what degree of unnaturalness does a method become wrong. To complicate things even further I will draw an analogy, a glass of water is either pure or contaminated. It can have one drop of arsenic in it or it could be full of arsenic, it doesn't matter how much arsenic is mixed in, the water is still contaminated.
So as you can see there is no clear right or wrong on this subject. What I believe a person must do is weigh all the evidence and find what works best for them, both nutritionally and economically. We can assume that the top producing whitetail ranches have done just that. Most of these are ranches are in the commercial hunting industry and are in the business of consistently producing record class animals. By researching the management techniques of these ranches, I believe you will see that a high percentage of them use protein feeds in some form or fashion. Of course, there are plenty of tremendous bucks taken on lands that do not use protein pellets or do not have a supplemental feeding program at all. However, take a look at the ranches that consistently produce huge bucks year after year, those are ranches you want to learn from.
Once a deer manager has decided to use a supplemental feeding program to help his/her deer herd, that manager must also decide which method of supplementation fits best into their management program. By researching and evaluating the facts before making a decision, you might just get those big bucks out of your dreams and into your crosshairs.
Q: When To Use Protein Feeds
Year round feeding gives deer those optimal protein levels during antler growing season, fawning season, pre-rut, rut and post- rut. In order for a deer to reach it's genetic potential, you must create an environment in which deer never become nutritionally stressed. If it is not economically feasible for you to feed year round, then it is recommended you feed during the spring and summer months, more specifically, during the antler growing and fawning season. This will give bucks that extra push to develop larger antlers and reduce some of the stress for does involved with raising a fawn.
If you continue feeding into late summer and early fall, it is likely the does will teach their fawns to eat protein feeds. This is really the ideal situation, if buck fawns are eating protein feeds, they will continue to eat feeds for the rest of their lives. By eating the feeds at an early age and continuing to do so as they grow older, these fawns will always be healthier, which will reflect into larger antlers than fawns who did not have this advantage available to them.
Q: Other Advantages to Protein Feeds
2. Considering the cost of farm equipment and the labor involved in clearing land, not to mention if a food plot fails and provides limited or no extra nutrition to your deer herd, it is much more economical to use protein feeds than planting food plots.
3. Bearing in mind that the cost difference usually is less than 4 dollars / 50 lbs, between corn and protein pellets, it seems wise to invest in pellets considering the overwhelming benefits that protein pellets have over corn.
Q: Benefits of Wildgame Innovations
Benefits of Calcium: Formation of antler, teeth, and bones. Important for milk production in Does and also aids in muscle and nerve function.
Benefits of Phosphorus: All of the Calcium benefits, plus a vital component of protein in soft tissue.
High fat (compared to 3% fat in corn) supplies energy, and bigger bodies which lead to bigger horns. Fat also makes does healthier, their yearlings stronger, and provides a fuller coat.
High Fiber increases digestibility of the proteins and fats, thereby utilizing all the important nutrients. Yeast enzymes in our formulas also increase Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) which provides greater growth rates.