The notion of herd balance is one that not all deer hunters consider. The term "herd balance" most commonly refers to the ratio of bucks to does in a given area, but it is also related to a deer's habitat. The overarching goal of herd balance is to have a quality deer herd. A quality deer herd means that the population of deer is in balance with the available forage and cover. A balanced herd has deer that are healthy, well nourished, and the herd has a well-balanced ratio of bucks to does. A balanced herd will produce healthy fawns that survive winter and will also have an even distribution of deer age classes.
A significant number of hunters prefer to harvest antlered deer in comparison to antlerless deer, which leads to unbalanced sex ratios in the population. Dr. Dave Guynn, professor in the Department of Forestry, Clemson University and a member of the QDMA's Executive Board posted a great article on herd balance on QDMA's web site. In his article he asked the question "Why should we concern ourselves with maintaining a natural social balance in a managed deer herd? Because, to survive as long as they have, deer long ago developed social rules or mechanisms that would keep deer herds and their individual members fit and competitive. However, when harvest regulations allow hunters to deplete certain social classes (with deer, this is usually most or all bucks 1.5 years old or older) in an unscientific, haphazard manner, the herd's social mechanisms can become stressed". As hunters harvesting deer every year we should keep the concept of these social classes in mind. If we only harvest the largest bucks we see then we?re causing an imbalance in the herd that can have longer-term effects on the quality of deer in a given area.
This past Tuesday night Robbie Boone and I attended the Lancaster County Cattlemen’s Association monthly Meeting in Lancaster, SC. This meeting consists of a large group of cattle farmers from the area plus a representative from the Clemson Agricultural Extension. We were invited to discuss the rising problem of coyotes in SC and to talk about the 2015 Predator Challenge.
The meeting was held at Jomar’s restaurant and the meeting of course started off with a meal. After the meal was over the leaders of the group turned the program over to Robbie and me for our presentation. Robbie spoke the majority of the time and presented on all kinds of information about coyotes. He spoke about their habits, habitat, breeding cycle, animals they prey on, laws for hunting them, all the way to tactics for hunting them. Robbie did a great job and it was very informational. We also provided the members of the group with a 1-page print out for the rules for both hunting and trapping coyotes. This information came straight from SC DNR’s website and the Cattlemen’s Association Members seemed to find this helpful. After Robbie spoke on the information about coyotes I got up and briefly spoke about the Predator Challenge and what we are trying to do with raising awareness for the sport of predator hunting.
One thing that was interesting (and telling) was that during the presentation and after the meeting it was evident that the Cattlemen’s Association Members were also having issues with coyotes. Several of the members told stories of the increasing rate in which they’re seeing coyotes. Whether plowing fields, running combines, or tending to their cows each member has had an encounter with one or more coyotes. The frequency of these encounters is increasing and they definitely recognized the problem that coyotes pose for them at cattle farmers as well as for hunters.
Overall the meeting went well and the group was very receptive to the presentation. I think now instead of carrying their rifles in their trucks the group members are now going to start carrying them in their tractors and combines and shooting them more often! It was a great event and we hope to do more of these in the future. If you would like for us to come out to your venue just use the Contact Us form to reach out.
Here are some pics from the event…
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?
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!
The 2011 Pee Dee Deer Classic proved to be another successful outdoor event. If you?re a deer hunter the event definitely got you in the right frame of mind as the new products, gear, & displays on hand would get your blood pumping. Not only were deer hunting product vendors on hand, but even turkey, gator, waterfowl, and international hunting vendors were on hand as well. Radio stations were broadcasting from outside and you could find baby alligators, puppies, deadly snakes, and even a bear on hand inside the event! There were several activities for youth & kids as well as speaking sessions for sponsors.
Also, if you?re a tech-geek and use Twitter we ?live-tweeted? the event with usage of the hashtag #PDDC. If you want to go back and see the tweets just search for that hashtag and you?ll find them
I enjoyed the 2011 Pee Dee Deer Classic and was able to talk with many of WeHuntSC.com?s sponsors, bloggers, as well as a couple of site members at the event. I had lunch with 2 of our bloggers (Tommy & Evan) as well as site member ?KershawBuck? during the middle of the day. We had a good time talking about our plans for this upcoming deer season as we chowed down on some Firehouse subs.
After lunch I headed over to the Schofield?s Hardware Annual Classic Sale where Mr. Blake Hodge of the Wrecking Crew was on hand doing some calling demos on behalf of Drake Outdoors. I have never been in Schofield?s Hardware before, but I have to tell you that I will definitely be going back! Just thinking of the word ?hardware? gives one an inaccurate impression of this store. This place is an outdoor store combined with a hardware store. To me, having all those products hand-in-hand is great because I always use hunting gear & hardware simultaneously. I couldn?t believe just how much hunting/outdoor product they had on hand in the store. They?ve got really nice clothing for any kind of hunter, they?ve got feeders, boots, deer stands, scent products, all the way to guns and ammo. You name it and they had it. I left the store with a new perspective?and a new outdoor store for when I?m in the Florence area!
After lunch and going to Schofield?s I headed back over to the 2011 Pee Dee Deer Classic. This time around I wanted to really look at the products on hand with a critical eye. Probably like many other people do, I?m always looking for new products that are not just ?gimmicks?. I?m looking for cutting edge innovation and for things that could improve my hunts and yet still not hurt my wallet too much! I?m also looking for booth-vendors who are passionate about the products they are promoting...in a genuine way, not a push-this-product on you type way. I found a couple of those products and met a couple of these people. Below I?ve detailed some of the people, companies, organizations, and products that stuck out to me.
Probably the neatest thing I saw this year was a camo suit called the ?SacSuit? by CamOver. This product is definitely innovative and the guy at the booth was definitely passionate about the product. It?s hard to describe what this suit is like without seeing it for yourself, but to try to describe it I would say that it?s a 1-piece camo suit that folds inside itself and zips up into a nice circular pouch. When opened for wearing the zippers where this thing zips are used as a venting system. This product was definitely designed by a hunter and I think the guy at the booth may have even sold out there at the event. This product is a definite ?must check out?.
- Web site: http://www.sacsuit.com/
Have you ever heard of ?Falconry?? I haven?t, but I learned about it this past weekend. Falconry, as defined by the SCFalconry.com web site is, ?the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor.? The definition taken from the web site lines up with what the guys at the show told me about falconry. They catch falcons in the wild and train them to hunt. Imagine dog hunting without dogs, but rather falcons. Trying to imagine this piqued my interest because I?ve never seen or really heard of anyone around me doing it. I?m definitely going to research more about the sport and hopefully try to learn more about it?and maybe even get in on a falconry hunt at some point.
- Web site: http://www.scfalconry.com/
Another new product that seemed really neat is a feed called "BuckYum". BuckYum is a feed, an attractant, a mineral supplement, and a permanent food source all at the same time! BuckYum consists of a mixture of corn, peanuts, and peanut chips. If you get anywhere near some BuckYum you definitely can smell the peanuts in it. Just grabbing a bag of BuckYum will make your hands smell like peanut butter. BuckYum not only smells great, but it has a good balance of protein, fat, & fiber that deer need. When you put BuckYum out it usually gets eaten qiuickly by the game in your area, but in the case that it doesn't all get eaten up the seeds in BuckYum start to grow a permanent food source. This way you get the maximum "bang for your buck".
One more notable thing about BuckYum is that one of it's creators is a former NFL player...and a good one at that! Brad Hoover of the Carolina Panthers is one of the co-owners of BuckYum. Brad is very down-to-earth and is genuinely a good guy...and he loves the outdoors. Brad gladly signed autographs for Pee Dee Deer Classic event attendees.
- Web site: http://www.BuckYum.com
WinnTuck is an organization that makes waterfowl lanyards and sunglass lanyards. You wouldn?t imagine finding many waterfowl oriented vendors at the ?deer? classic, but WinnTuck?s gear looks so good and is of such quality that it drew interest from everyone that walked by. WinnTuck?s lanyards are very high quality and very durable. Also, their shirts and hat designs are so unique and stylish that you can ?crossover? in these clothes...that is, you can wear them to an outdoor oriented event or a semi-formal event and still not be out of place. I love it when I find clothing that can ?fit in? regardless of the environment and WinnTuck?s clothing & logo design is so stylish that it fits this bill. If you?re a waterfowl hunter and you haven?t heard of (or seen) WinnTuck?s gear before then you should definitely check it out.
Product web site: http://www.WinnTuck.com
Appletree Game Feeder
Yes you?ve seen all kind of feeders before, but you?ve never seen one like this. It doesn?t work by gravity and the contents of the feeder move upward before they move downward. This is another product that is tough to describe without seeing. This product was also definitely designed by hunters because all the T?s were crossed & I?s were dotted in the design of this product. I fired rapid questions about the design to the gentlemen working this booth and he had a quick and legitimate response to every question.
- Web site: http://appletree.embarqspace.com
McKenzie Scent Fan Bag
I also spent time over at Eddie McKenzie?s booth where he was demoing his ?Scent Fan Duffle bag? for the second year. His booth had the whole area smelling like dog-fennel and event attendees caught whiffs of the smell as they walked by. It was neat to see them smell the scent and then turn and look. I guess from a vendor?s perspective it?s a good way to get attention. Though, what was more impressive to me was that people who had previously bought the bag last year were stopping by just to tell Eddie how much they loved his bag and how they were sitting on top of deer in tree stands without the deer scenting them during the last deer hunting season. Unsolicited positive feedback from consumers is always a good sign and demonstrated that to me that the people who use the McKenzie Scent Fan bag like it so much that they stopped back by just to talk about it. That is impressive. So if you?re reading this blog and you?ve never heard about the McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag, you should really check it out.
Web site: www.McKScent.com
Riley Darby I also met a YouTube star for the first time in person this past weekend. I?ve seen Riley Darby in a lot of videos where he?s catching fish, showing off the biggest buck in the world, and almost falling off an ATV, but I?ve never met him in person until this past weekend. From meeting Riley I can tell you that the videos don?t do his personality justice. Not only was Riley shooting random people that walked by with a rubber band gun that he got at the Classic, he was telling us about the deer he?s going to harvest this coming year, he put on a display at the bow shooting station, and he even threatened to shoot a bear with a rubber band too. The camera loves Riley and he?s pretty accurate with a rubber band gun so it?s only a matter of time until he?s on ESPN outdoors. Keep your eyes out for Riley in the future!
All in all, the Classic was another good event. I had a good time hanging out and seeing the new products. Tommy also pointed something out to me that I had previously just walked right by. Someone had used the WeHuntSC.com banner in their setup! This was really neat to see.
As many of you have read on the site, Mike Lee has been our go-to guy at Tecomate Seed throughout the Food Plot Journey and he also spoke at our ?Hunter?s Night Out?. Mike has been great throughout the whole process and he has endured my elementary level of knowledge of all things food plot related. Mike is now transitioning into a new role with the company and we wish him well in his new role. When you wear many hats at an organization this sometimes happens and so Mike will be concentrating on a different division and will thrive there as well.
Mike?s transition into a new role helped us meet another knowledgeable resource with regards to food plots and game management. Jon Charles, out of Raleigh NC, is stepping in to be the new Southeastern Regional Representative for Tecomate. I?ve spoken with Jon several times and he was also a featured speaker at the Pee Dee Deer Classic. I can tell you that he?s very educated about game management and food plots. Jon owns River Oaks Wildlife Management which is a professional wildlife management and consulting firm specializing in deer health, nutrition, wildlife habitat development, high forage food plots, crop production, custom deer feeds, and mineral supplements specifically designed for deer and elk. Jon brings a nice mesh between science and the outdoors that we can greatly benefit from. He is a well noted speaker and writes for several outdoor publications. Jon will be our new go-to guy at Tecomate for the remainder of the Food Plot Journey and is the new contact for Tecomate Seed in the Southeast. So if you?re looking for a very knowledge resource in the Carolinas with all things food plot / herd management related?or to get some Tecomate Seed, then Jon Charles is your guy!
So the Food Plot Journey continues and we are half-way there! It?s been a while already and I?ve learned a lot since January. We?ll be starting the process again and installing our fall plots in the coming weeks/months. I?ll continue to document that as well and I hope that we can get some good pictures throughout the fall/winter. I?m excited to try to get some more Tecomate products to grow again! I think I?m learning and the deer are benefitting?more to come.
In the mean time, here are 2 updated pics from the Remote Food Plot. I?m going to try to get updated images of the other plots soon as well.