Are You Feeding Your Deer To Death?

Discussion in 'Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by Goosepond Monster, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. GregH

    GregH Legendary Woodsman

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    I haven't lost a deer yet.
     
  2. kcrebel

    kcrebel Newb

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    My thoughts are that this article is aimed at the hunters who pour out a pile of bait to hunt over for several days up to a couple of weeks annually. I could see where this could potentially stress the deer because you are introducing an unnatural attractant absent in the current area or else it wouldn't be attractive as bait. Then the hunt is over, the food source is depleted, and the deer have to go back to what got them there.
    Now that being said do we really believe we can have an adverse effect on the whitetail population by feeding them extra food? Of course not.
    Does the local Tim Horton's or Starbuck's kill humans because we stopped and got an iced coffee when it was -20?
    Same theory and has about as much merit to it when it comes to the effect of an entire population.
     
  3. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    I agree the article is nearly total BS. Nearly because under a very slim set of circumstances I could see it having a little merit but the odds of anyone's deer encountering that set of circumstances is probably greater than me winning the powerball....

    A strict diet of corn is not suitable for anything....even cattle cannot sustain health on a constant corn diet.....the problem is that deer will not strictly eat corn...no matter how much they are offered. The biologist that wrote this opinion is probably some city slicktard that doesn't understand, let alone grasp, the concept of a deer being an intelligent animal that thinks for itself and does not act on instict alone. Most animals are pretty smart, makes me mad when someone indicates that they believe a dog is an instinctual animal only...BS. Most animals "think" and are capable of some level of conscious thought. Deer will eat a wide range of food to suit their own needs, adding to the food diversity is not going to starve a deer to death....that's just stupid.

    I actually heard a DNR guy tell a bunch of seasoned duck hunters one time that ducks don't even like corn.....natural food is better. When challenged he knew he was busted, he said," Well, they will eat it but they prefer natural food." SOme time later I was building a 240 acre marsh development for he and his duck club and as soon as it was finished...he was out in the middle planting about 25 acres of corn, lol.

    I think I've heard it all over the years, biologists and DNR people will say anything that serves whatever "agenda" their last "workshop" trained them (brainwashed) them to believe.

    The best policy is to provide a diverse plethora of food and mineral to your deer and everything will be right with the world where diet is concerned. Now, I do believe that high protein feed is a bad idea and will not use it. If you want to add high protein feed to your farm, plant alfalfa or something. The protein additives in most feed is not safe for deer and completely unnatural for deer to be fed fish meal, blood or bone meal.....it's not right in any way, shape or form and is dangerous IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  4. Bootlegger

    Bootlegger Grizzled Veteran

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    On my land I plant food plots in springs and late summer. Not big ones...just 2-3 smaller ones. Then every year around the end of Jan. or first of Feb. I put up my two feeders. "Not allowed to bait in TN." I fill them with a small amount of corn, Record Rack Deer & Elk feed and Record Rack Golden Nugget stuff. I run them all year until a month before season. I haven't found one deer dead...lol. Then again here in TN we don't get very much snow like you all get up North.
     
  5. Oklahoma99

    Oklahoma99 Weekend Warrior

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    Mine are set on 3 seconds in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. I'm hoping it's more of a snack than a food source.
     
  6. Freelance Bowhunter

    Freelance Bowhunter Weekend Warrior

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    I find the notion that deer are committing suicide by eating too much of one thing or another a little hard to, uh... swallow.
     
  7. Smokey

    Smokey Weekend Warrior

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    This is nothing new. Deer research has shown us much over the years and I find it amazing when some people dismiss anything they have not heard before. Necropsy performed on deer have shown they will eat anything and if it is a food not normally in their diet they cannot digest it so there is not much room for foods they can digest hence starvation.

    The bacteria in the deer stomachs changes throughout the year to adjust for what is available to them at that time of year. This has been going on since deer have been around.

    A lot of people do not go out to the woods or yards when most of the deer are dropping, late winter early spring. Around here many predators are cleaning up the starved one too. If you find a dead deer, break open the femur. Marrow should be pink almost white but if starving it will be dark red gelatinous.
     
  8. ChuckC

    ChuckC Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Start out with small amounts and gradually increase as time goes on so their bodies can get used to it.
     
  9. bones435

    bones435 Weekend Warrior

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    Not exactly the direction I thought this thread would go but heres my two cents for any that care. And lots are going to disagree I'm sure.

    Maybe this article is a little stretched. For me the only thing that distinguishes a wild animal from a pet is consistent feeding of said animal. Deer are supposed to be WILD animals that forage on what is available in nature.

    This might mean that numbers go down. This might mean that they don't come to your property and stand in from of your stand as often. In my opinion this is supposed to be hunting. For me this would take the sport out of it. And I understand that even with food plots bait stations and mineral sites hunting these deer is not easy, however it will increase the ability to pattern movements.

    I hear a lot of preaching on this forum geared towards ethics while hunting. And for the most part they are correct but maybe conveyed a little improperly. Long shots can and do result in the non-recovery of animals. And that hurts, I know from personal experience. As bow hunters I imagine most will feel this at some point. It sucks to lose an animal that is sure to expire, however it will not go to waste. Nature has its way.

    Ethics don't just lie in the hands of the shooter however, and that's what this article is about. This article shows a stretched view of what is possible when we decide what is best forage for an animal designed for natural graze. I understand that the habitat is not as wild and natural as it once was. We as humans have made an impact on habitat for many species. And this will only continue in a negative way.

    Food plotting will continue. It will be used to better the hunters chances of taking a prized trophy animal. It will be used to increase chances of the harvest of game for feed. What else will it do? There is a lot of discussion based on what is in the deers best interests on this forum. Not much on if feeding wild animals is really in their best interests.
     
  10. bones435

    bones435 Weekend Warrior

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    Keep in mind that I'm not here to pass judgment on people for their hunting strategies. In fact I don't feel that nation wide deer population is threatened by us enough for concern. I do however find it peculiar that we will judge each other so strongly on the ethics of one situation while other situations are overlooked.

    Also keep in mind that I'm just a dude from California where big chunks of private land are scarce in comparison to other states. Where baiting is illegal. And there is more than plenty of public land to hunt.
     
  11. Spear

    Spear Grizzled Veteran

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    My feeder runs for 6 seconds once a day in the morning. Farming has been around for thousands of years too and that means harvesting corn has been around for thousands of years and therefore corn knocked to the ground from the harvest has been happening for thousands of years. Whether it's in a pile or scattered makes no difference. Deer eat what they want and when they want. Just look in the stomach after a kill, most of the time there's barely anything of what I feed the deer in there. I think this article is a crock. No animal will ever purposely starve itself. Safety, food, and water are the staple of their every day lives, they aren't going to stop eating and starve themselves.
     
  12. TEmbry

    TEmbry Grizzled Veteran

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    The article has never been substantiated by a proven trial. It is all conclusions drawn. Not saying deer CAN'T overeat and kill themselves in the winter, but to make it sound common place is ridiculous. In fact, I'd wager the number of deer saved from starving outnumbers the number of deer caused to starve by over eating.

    The GI tract of any animal including humans is comprised of millions of different bacteria and enzymes, and yes they do fluctuate based on what is predominantly being found in the diet... but not by the deer's choice as this article implicates. If a deer only eats bark, the bacteria that easily digests bark will thrive while the bacteria that struggles to digest bark will struggle. It's not an all or nothing phenomena though.

    If you are feeding hundreds and hundreds of pounds a week as a sole source of food for your herd then stop mid February, this article has a shot at being right. If you are throwing out a few bags a week throughout the whole winter as a supplemental source when the going gets tough, you have nothing to worry about.
     
  13. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    That explains a lot of your POV.
    There are at least thousands of bushels of corn (probably millions) left in the fields here in the corn belt, it's just crop residue that happens by accident but deer have been eating it for decades utilizing it for winter food sources. It's the man made environment that has created the conditions needed for great deer populations and great bucks that deer hunters across the country drool over and dream of being able to experience. Mother nature DID NOT CREATE THE ENVIRONMENT THAT HAS FOSTERED the magnificent deer herds and qualities we have in the mid-west....FARMERS DID...GRAIN DID THAT!

    So stop with the romanticized puke that we need to get back to nature and stop screwing it up. Agriculture and sportsmen are the reason game is thriving....always has been, always will be.
     
  14. MGH_PA

    MGH_PA Moderator

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    I don't see where bones was taking that angle? He simply asked what everyone thought.

    As to the OP, I don't buy it either. We supplement in the winter to help if conditions get tough (deep snows, ice pack, etc.,), but it's not large quantities of feed, either. Even in those worst of conditions where they are yarded within a 10 acre selective cut above my parent's home, they're still eating browse, and other odds and ends to get by. They don't rely simply on one source.
     
  15. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Okay, I offer the following that spurred my reaction....

    The point I was making is that agriculture has been feeding the deer everyone brags about and dreams about here in the midwest and has been doing it for years. Feeding the deer here through agriculture is the reason for the great deer. So the points made in the above quote are nonsense IMHO. Is there a line that should not be crossed....probably, that would be considered deer agriculture in my opinion, where treating deer like cattle becomes the norm.
     
  16. MGH_PA

    MGH_PA Moderator

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    Yep, I read it. Just open ended, opinion based questions. No "romanticized puke" in there.

    But I digress. Back on topic.
     
  17. frenchbritt123

    frenchbritt123 Grizzled Veteran

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    Deer have been surviving in North American winters for about 4 million years.
     
  18. Dan

    Dan Senior Member

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    I think the author is going a little far with the corn reference, but he's not way off base. If you were to start putting out bales of alfalfa here in Wi during this hard winter we're having and you'll definitely start killing deer, when you think you're feeding them.
     
  19. GregH

    GregH Legendary Woodsman

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    When feeding deer was legal I used to feed deer corn year round.I had the same deer come in year after year. None of them starved. We had some pretty stiff winters at times also. Their feeding changed with the weather. Eating more in the winter than the summer. I had about 10 deer coming in regularly. Not all at once. The most at one time was 5 (does). My limit was 100 lbs/week. In the summer it was about 25-50 lbs/week. At best, it averaged to a max of 10 lbs per week per deer. They definitely had to forage else where in order to survive. That's not a lot of deer which helps. I've never had it to where the deer depended on me to live.

    If a deer can browse and forage, it will. Feed or no feed. It's just something they need to do.
     
  20. bones435

    bones435 Weekend Warrior

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    Like I said I'm not here to point fingers or pass judgment. What I said was merely an observation of an unnatural situation. Whether or not deer are plentiful in an area or the size of their racks has nothing to do with my post. I even said that a natural situation would most likely result is smaller deer herds. I was sure I would get a response to my post knowing that the majority of members of this forum have different opinions then my own. To assume that everyone dreams of the great deer in the Midwest is just not correct. Sure some love the allure of chasing or waiting for a huge antlered animal to present a shot directly adjacent to his man made food source. And I do not feel negatively for those who do. In fact someday I would also like to experience whitetail hunting from a tree stand next to a big food plot. I am not against this practice. For now I find more pleasure in hunting animals in their natural environment with food and that accomplishment as my drive. Yes a big buck would be awesome to take someday and would serve itself as a beautiful trophy of my accomplishments however this isn't my main goal In hunting. I was really trying to show how judgment is passed and how when judging we often forget to judge ourselves. We may slander a man for taking what we feel to be an unethical shot all the while overlooking our own actions that others may consider to be unethical.

    I was judged!
     

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