In this blog series we're looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter's area. We've looked at food plots, selective harvest, deer surveying, herd balance, mineral sites already in this series and in this entry we'll look into the concept of "supplemental feeding".
Supplemental feeding of deer is not a brand new concept, but the trend is gaining momentum in game management circles. Outdoorsmen who invest a lot of time and resources in hunting and managing game usually provide some form of supplemental feed for their deer. If you've ever seen a deer who's benefited from supplemental feeding then you'll understand why game managers put in the time and effort to incorporate this practice into their game management strategy.
Supplemental feeds are typically high in protein and game managers put them out all year long. Like many other game management practices, it's not a "quick fix" and will take time before the full effects can be noticed. Supplemental feeding is generally part of a habitat management program and requires a long-term commitment on behalf of the game manager.
It?s also important to note that these supplemental feeds are intended to be exactly what they are called, a supplement. Supplemental feeds are not intended to replace a deer's natural diet, but rather to add to it. Supplemental feeding is also not a magic cure for poorly managed deer populations. It won't give you monster bucks or a healthy herd overnight.
While I was investigating this topic I found a lot of high-level, scientific research regarding supplemental feeds. If you're interested in getting really in-depth info about supplemental feeding of deer there are several scholarly articles on supplemental deer feeding available online. This blog entry however is not "scholarly" in nature ;-)
I found some really good info on supplemental feeding at a web site called "BuckManager.com". I encourage you to investigate that site for more information on supplemental feeding if you would like to read from someone who's lived and breathed it for a while. One of the articles on that site discussed the notion of whether deer could live on supplemental feed alone. The author noted
"Regardless of what the current study finds, both scenarios end up proving that deer cannot live on supplemental feed alone. Even when supplemental food is provided free-choice, white-tailed deer still desire native browse plants in their diets. Not only are these plants important for food, but also for the shelter and screening cover they provide for deer and other wildlife species. And let's not forget that browse plants typically contain protein levels ranging from 15 to 35%. And that can feed your deer and really supplement your supplement, for a lot less money."
The bottom line is that deer will consume more than just supplemental feed regardless of how much is provided! As the author noted "Food preference is probably a function of palatability, digestibility, and overall nutritive value." Incorporating supplemental feed as one more available food source for your herd is the best approach.
What blend, location, and ratios of supplemental feed are suggested for game managers? The article on BuckManager.com prescribed that "The preferred method is to use a 16% to 20% protein pelleted commercial feed, fed free choice, from feeders distributed at the rate of at least one feeder per 300 acres located within or adjacent to adequate escape cover." This recommendation is similar to what I found on other sites and articles so it's probably a good rule to go by.
Depending on the product you choose, supplemental feeding of deer can be one of the more expensive facets of game management. We've chosen to use a supplemental feed that was designed with a deer's overall health in mind and that is reasonably priced.
BUCK YUM was started to provide hunters with a quality feed and supplement product that not only attracted deer but also provided them with the proper nutrition deer need to grow. The idea to develop and implement a feed and supplement product that accomplished this was the inspiration of the launching of BUCK YUM Products and the creation of BUCKYUM.
BuckYum is a feed and attractant mixture of peanuts, peanut chips, and corn that provides the proper balance of nutritional supplements that deer need to grow. BuckYum also contains a special blend of seed that grows as a permanent food source as well. When you pour it out you can really smell the odor of peanut butter in the air (and the deer can too!). Deer and other game will browse on BuckYum and when you return be prepared to see some green growing from the ground where you poured it out! BuckYum is very efficient in this manner because not only does game in the area eat the corn & peanuts, but they also love the forage that grows from this blend as well. It's like a 2 for 1 deal!
BuckYum Guranteed Analysis
Where can you find BuckYum to buy? http://www.buckyum.com/Dealer_Info.php
Information in this post cited from the following locations:
There is no doubt that providing deer with a supplemental feed can be beneficial for hunters seeking to ?Grow the Hunt? and have monster bucks on their property. The only question is, are you committed?
In this blog series we?re looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter?s area. We?ve looked at food plots, selective harvest,deer surveying, and herd balance already in this series and in this entry we'll look into the concept of "mineral sites".
Mineral sites, in many cases, are one of the most overlooked and underutilized parts of a game management strategy. Mineral sites provide deer with great sources of vitamins and nutrients that they need throughout the year. We put in a lot of work creating food plots and we're selling ourselves short if we don't compliment them with mineral sites. Mineral sites are not too difficult to create and can pay big dividends in the long run.
Mineral sites provide similar benefits as food plots in that they help increase deer health which in turn helps them better survive the rut and the winter. Having a healthy deer, whether it be a doe or a buck, is great for the whole herd when it comes to breeding, reproduction, and survival. Most importantly for those seeking "monster bucks", mineral sites are great locations where bucks will get nutrients that aid in rack growth and development. A buck's antlers grow during the summer months and this is the time when they will really visit mineral sites.
It's a good practice to keep mineral sites in a consistent location year after year. Rain helps the minerals dissolve into the soil which creates a location that will be frequented by deer long after the minerals are no longer visible. Hang a game camera up over a mineral site and watch the pictures as time passes. The results may be surprising and this is a great way to survey your deer. Just ask anyone that keeps mineral sites year after year, the deer will literally dig a hole in the ground seeking out the minerals and nutrients.
It's a good idea to start mineral sites in April, refresh them in July, then again in October. Experienced mineral site managers say it's good to have mineral sites along a deer's travel route in a low spot that can hold moisture. Hunters who I know that are serious about game management keep minerals sites year round in various parts of their hunting properties.
One thing to clarify though, don't confuse simply putting out a salt-block with creating a mineral site, they are two different things! A mineral site usually has a mixture of nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, and several different types of vitamins which greatly benefit deer.
There are several mineral site products available for purchase and I'm not going to endorse any certain one because communicating the principal of why hunters should create mineral sites is my main goal here. Each product will have different methods for implementation so be sure to read the directions for whichever product you select.
Start a mineral site and see what happens!
We met up with Derrick at 5:30 in the morning. I thought that was a little early, but I had forgotten to budget in the time necessary to let Derrick bend our ears a little before heading out. After our ears got warm we headed out.
Derrick and I were hunting out of a tall tower stand overlooking a food plot bordered by a cutover on one side and some woods on the other. The sun reflected off the ice that covered the trees, plants, and underbrush that surrounded us below. We watched the sun rise while we scanned the field below for movement. At a certain point the sun was shining directly in our eyes, the stand was facing east. For about 20 minutes I could only look left and right out of the sides of the stand avoiding the front of the stand where the brightness of the sun shined through. Eventually the sun got high enough to where we could see out of all directions of the stand easily. It felt like it was time for something to happen.
We surveyed the field looking for any movement. I would zoom in with the camera looking around the edges of the field while Derrick looked through his binoculars. Around 8:20 a hawk appeared out in front of us at about 80 yards and perched on a tree branch. The hawk would swoop down as if to catch something and then return to the branch. It did this several times so I decided to turn the camera on to hopefully get the hawk catching something on camera. I turned the camera on and got the hawk flying off and returning to the branch one time. Just a few seconds after the hawk returned Derrick said ?look at those deer?. Sure enough two does had walked out in a shooting lane to our left while this hawk was chasing his breakfast. I rotated the camera over to film the deer as Derrick slid down from his chair into shooting position.
At first we weren?t sure if the does were going to be big enough to validate taking a shot. After looking at them closely we decided that the first one was decent enough size to make a shot. I had the camera in place and Derrick was ready to make the shot. As I looked through the camera I heard Derrick say ?Are you ready? and I whispered back ?yes?. A millisecond after I said yes the deer was laying on the ground. Derrick wasted no time pulling the trigger after hearing that I was ready. The smaller doe scurried off with the loud booming sound of the shot. There was no doubt on this one. Derrick had a made good shot.
We sat in the stand for a bit to let the nerves settle a little and then we got down out of the stand. Getting down out of that tall stand is a process for me because I don?t like being up that high in the first place. I made a point to go slowly and after I got down I filmed Derrick as he got down from the stand as well to show the height of the stand. We went over to the deer and loaded her up. Derrick says that he aimed at the base of her neck. I?m not so sure about that, but whatever the case is?he hit the deer at the base of the neck. The doe weighed 113lbs and we had another good morning in the woods.
Derrick came through again and I got my fair share of entertainment.
It?s evident that managing game on one's land can have long-term benefits for hunting. In this blog series we're looking at the concept of Game Management. So far in the journey we've discussed Food Plots, Selective Harvest, & Herd Balance and with this entry we're going to look into the concept of deer surveying.
Deer surveying is exactly what is sounds like, surveying the deer on your land. Recent technology has made surveying deer (and any species of game) a whole lot easier, mainly via the creation of the game camera. The invention of the game camera has undeniably changed the way we hunt. Game cameras give hunters an advantage by providing valuable information about the deer in our area. Obviously game camera pics don't give an outdoorsman a 100% accurate read on the deer in a given area, but they do give way more insight about the deer herd than if we didn't have game cameras.
Game cameras are the most common (and affordable) way to survey one's deer herd. Though, there are more scientific and expensive methods of surveying deer. I heard one speaker at a conference say that in some locations they were flying airplanes over tracks of land taking thermal imagery to survey the game on the land. I imagine thermal imagery is more accurate and way more expensive too! I also know that DNR uses some more advanced, scientific techniques for surveying deer population & growth. These are all neat methods that provide more accurate data, but any method besides a game camera falls out of my financial range. Nevertheless the importance of having a feel for the game on your land is the main point to be noted.
Why is having knowledge of the deer in an area important for game management? If you are herd balance conscientious then surveying deer can give you a feel for the ratio of bucks to does on your property. Sure it's not accurate down to a finite percentage, but it does allow more informed decisions to be made about the herd in a given area. From this insight a hunter can help determine which deer he or she should or shouldn't harvest based on numbers. Essentially a hunter can get a feel for the herd balance in the area they are hunting through surveying the game on their land. You'll find that die-hard hunters survey deer year round and move their game cameras around a few times a year. Surveying deer, like game management, is a year round process.
Surveying the game in a hunter's allotted hunting area also helps one determine the age class of deer in the region. Viewing the size of deer in a game camera's pictures can help hunters determine the age of bucks based on body size, rack size, and other traits of mature bucks. Along with viewing the different age class of bucks any recent fawns, yearlings, and does can be observed as well. Viewing the deer in your area helps you get a feel for the health of deer as well.
Knowledge of the game in a track of land is a must in any effective game management strategy. Whether you survey deer through more expensive techniques or simply through a game camera, surveying deer pays dividends and helps hunters make informed decisions. Surveying deer allows hunters to watch deer mature over time and gives insight toward the herd balance ratios. If you haven't already, start learning about the deer in your area and you'll be a better hunter because of it.
This past week I received an email from a friend that really got my attention and so I wanted to share it with everyone here. These pictures were taken in Mississippi, but this scenario can easily happen anywhere coyotes exist. If you're a deer and/or turkey hunter and you wonder what the big fuss about coyotes is about...see below. This is why the sport of predator hunting is on the rise and is one of the reasons we're hosting the Predator Competition.
If you read my blog "Shed Crazy" you would have seen a shed that we found this past year of a buck that we later named the Brow Tine Buck. This deer had unusually long brow tines that measured approximately 9 inches. For that reason, this deer was on the top of the hit list for the 2011 season. Fast forward to October 29th.
When the alarm clock sounded at 5:30 a.m. on October 29th the sound of rain was tapping steady on the window by my bed. Without much thought I quickly turned it off and drifted back into oblivion. What only seemed like a minute later, alarm number two sounded off on my Timex Ironman watch. It was now 6:30 a.m. As I lay there for a few seconds a couple thoughts drifted through my mind. The first was the rain and the second was the rut. After a few more seconds went by I figured that I better get up and check the weather. After checking weatherchannel.com and taking a peek outside I decided that my thoughts of the rut outweighed the rain that seemed to be on its way out of town. It was time to go hunting.
One thing I've enjoyed about this season has been using the Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle. It has allowed me to store all of my gear in one spot and has kept my Crossover Camo suit ready at a moments notice. Because I was running a little behind on this morning it was important that I have all of my gear ready to go in order to get ready quicker and get in the stand faster. Did I mention that it's nice not to have to worry about cover scents. The bag takes care of all that for me. There's nothing like a good mixture of fresh earth and pine.
As I made my way to my stand I thought that with the storm moving out the deer should be on the move. I had a good wind as I walked in and I had a good feeling about the hunt. Since I was late walking in I didn't have to sit long before the sky started to lighten up. At about 7:30 a.m. I caught a glimpse of a deer moving through the cotton field. I quickly turned to get my rifle ready. The first deer was a doe. I knew this could get good quick. The doe was moving at a steady pace through the field so I scanned back across the field and there he was. My first thought was what the heck is that. I immediately knew the deer had a big body, but his rack was very unusual. As the deer moved through the field I knew my window was closing fast. I had to make a decision quick. The deer then stopped and looked my direction. That's when it hit me. This was the Brow Tine Buck. I quickly clicked off the safety and put the crosshairs behind his shoulder. A loud crack and the buck jolted out of sight. I couldn't see him crash but I could tell he didn't go too far. What a feeling! The Brow Tine Buck was down!
As I sat in my stand after making the shot I thought to myself this must be the Year of the Brow Tine. First we found his shed antler in March. Then I picked up an awesome knife from CRKT. Coincidently the knife is called the Kommer "Brow Tine". And then it all comes together on October 29th with the "Brow Tine Buck" on the ground. Awesome!
The buck was definitely a good one to get out of the herd. He ended up being a 187 # 7 point and a trophy in my book. This year his brow tines measured close to 12 inches. Crazy is all I can say!
Due to the rain I left my video camera at the house, but once the buck was on the ground a made the quick trip back to the house and got the camera. Check out some of the footage.
There is more in the air than just a little chill. There is an excitement that only the opening of duck season can bring.
This year, we have an added element to amp up the fast approaching season. On November 5, 2011, Sandhills Ducks Unlimited would like to invite you to the 1st Annual Conservation Banquet held at Windy Hill Manor in Pageland. The night will begin at 6:00 pm with a buffet dinner served at 7:00 pm. A live auction will start between 8:00 and 8:30 pm. There will be a silent auction, many door prizes and raffle prizes. There will also be an all you can eat BBQ buffet and an open bar. The auction will consist of DU premium artwork, many guns, hand carved decoys, several hunts, sculptures, knives, jewelry, hunting accessories, and greenwing merchandise. Wrecking Crew Guide Service and Quack ?Em Back Duck Calls & Merchandise will also be set up as vendors at the banquet. Blake Hodge, duck and goose calling champion, will be giving a calling demonstration. It will be an entertaining evening with family, friends, fellowship and lots of fun!
All proceeds benefit the conservation of wetlands across America. Since 1989, DU has conserved nearly 160,000 acres across the Palmetto State, investing more than $40,000,000.00 in South Carolina projects through DU and its partners. During the past year we conserved 2,034 acres through conservation easements and habitat restoration projects on Santee National Wildlife Refuge, ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, and Botany Wildlife Management Area.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 6:00 pm
Windy Hill Manor
158 High Point Church Road
Pageland, SC 29728
$35.00 single ticket / $65.00 couple ticket / $20.00 greenwing ticket
*Includes annual membership
Tickets may also be purchased online here.
For more information, please contact me at (843)622-4938.
We look forward to seeing you all there!