How important are water sources

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by longbowmanjimmy, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. longbowmanjimmy

    longbowmanjimmy Weekend Warrior

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    Read recently that a good deal of the water deer get comes from their food. This might make some serious sense on my property but wanted to hear your opinion, thanks -Jim
     
  2. jeffacarp

    jeffacarp Grizzled Veteran

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    I could see that being possible during the spring when things are generally wetter after snow melt and spring rains, but even then I still see a lot of tracks around water sources at that time of year ...not sure about how much water they'd get as the season progresses and plants wither and die. I'm curious what others think on the matter.
     
  3. Bigtine

    Bigtine Weekend Warrior

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    I think water is key during the rut. I've shot a couple of nice bucks over small spring pond. They get very thirsty chasing and are guaranteed to swing past the water for a drink!
     
  4. bucksnbears

    bucksnbears Die Hard Bowhunter

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    as dry as it is in NW MN this year, a water sourse is HUGE!!!.

    corn is being taken down BIG TIME here. the field away from the rivers are void of deer.
     
  5. longbowmanjimmy

    longbowmanjimmy Weekend Warrior

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    I didn't think about the running and their need for water.. good point! They already cut beans yesterday and the corns gotta be getting close, thanks for the help guys I think I'm gonna keep to the ponds. The little 4 I shot Sunday was pretty far from water, though.
     
  6. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Grant Woods and I talked about this subject to some length when he visited our farms last year. He said it looked like we had plenty of water with all the creeks and deer get a large portion of their water from their food. I said well I don't completely agree with that, deer hit our better ponds hard pretty much year around. We have plenty when it's wet but all those creeks either dry up by the end of summer or turn extremely brackish and hold only tea by summer and fall. He said that's a good point, he never thought about it that much. Deer could probably survive from food borne water but they still favor cool, clean water to drink. I notice Grant mentions the importance of water sources now quite a bit on his show.

    Also look at any deer farm in the country, much like livestock....they will tell you one of the major factors in producing big bodied deer and big racks is to provide plenty of fresh, clean and cool water at all times and the less traveling the animals have to do to get it the better. It's said that optimal distance for cattle to travel to water is no more than 600-800 feet or the exercise they get will be detrimental to their weight gain and body condition. Without a doubt that distance is far greater for a deer but I think it's safe to assume that the more that's available and easily accessible, the better.
     
  7. Bigtine

    Bigtine Weekend Warrior

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    Yeah, I think a lot of hunters overlook water during the rut. I've had many bucks leave a doe it is tending to grab a drink and then head back at it!
     
  8. Fitz

    Fitz Legendary Woodsman

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    Again, like most things I think this totally depends on your area and environment. Yes, water is important. It's a great draw, funnel and food source (aquatic plants). In my area there is no shortage of water. Swamps, springs, lakes, streams, bogs, ponds... There's certain times when it can be more of a draw than others. Streams for instance are great later in the season when things start to freeze (in the north anyways).

    Deer are comfortable trying to break thin ice over streams to get to the last running water. I've never seen them do this on the lakes. They mostly avoid lakes when they first skim over. Often until there's a decent amount of snow on them for traction. On hot days they'll used water to cool themselves. There are some aquatic plants that they love in the summer time too.

    I don't know, these are just a bunch of random thoughts to think about.
     
  9. 400excracer

    400excracer Weekend Warrior

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    I agree that water is huge! I had a trail cam out for a few years at a property I hunt that didn't have a water source close by. I got a few pics here and there but once I put a plastic 55 gallon drum (cut in half) full of water in front of the trail cam I had tons of deer there. The last two deer I have shot were coming to get a drink. I think that it is just as effective as a bait pile but completely legal.
     
  10. longbowmanjimmy

    longbowmanjimmy Weekend Warrior

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    You think there probably partial to moving water then? We have a good pond but the water's never been clear, pretty shallow id imagine too
     
  11. 400excracer

    400excracer Weekend Warrior

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    The guy that sold me on putting water out has a creek going through his property and he swears that they drink more out of his barrels than they do the creek. Not sure it that is true or not but I have heard that they don't necessarily prefer fresh water as compared to a stagnant puddle.
     
  12. remmett70

    remmett70 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I would expect deer to like standing water vs running water for the sole reason that standing water is quiet and they can still hear if danger is approaching. Just a guess though.
     
  13. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Well, when I say our creeks get brackish I mean this time of year we're usually dry and have been for a while so water levels drop and our creeks and streams are all lined with heavy brush so the leaves dropping off in the standing water turns it into tea like junk and it stinks from the vegetation. Deer will drink it if they have to but I can't imagine it tastes good or is healthy. They will generally walk to one of the ponds to drink rather than drink from the creeks. I try to place food plots near to the ponds so food and water is close together.
    Generally when our creeks are running, they are okay but we're usually wet when they are running so there's ample water everywhere then. The times when water is a concern here is in drought or this time of year from back in August. Then water is in demand and the cooler and cleaner the better the deer like it, muddy water doesn't seem to be much of a bother to them as far as I can tell.
     
  14. boof

    boof Die Hard Bowhunter

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    In South Dakota, having RUNNING water is crucial come December. When winter hits and all the ponds are frozen over and creeks dried up, the deer will move to where they can find water. It's more important than vast food plots or any amount of shelter.
     
  15. longbowmanjimmy

    longbowmanjimmy Weekend Warrior

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    Thanks for the input, I'm gonna have to try the water barrels in front of cams forsure. I'm not sure where all you guys hunt but I'm pretty sure my area, North Illinois, got hit hard as F with blue tongue judging by all the BIG deer skeletons we found close to there. I have a feeling this pond in particular might have been a major culprit. If they have marsh water as an option, would you think they'd hit that as opposed to a pond? The pond is timbered, some of the only heavy timber on the 200 acre property. Marsh takes up about 20 percent of the property as well. Thanks, Jim
     
  16. 400excracer

    400excracer Weekend Warrior

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    I think that they hit the closest water when they are thirsty. I don't think they care if it is from a swamp or a pond. JMO
     
  17. Cooter/MN

    Cooter/MN Grizzled Veteran

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    One of my favorite stands is next to a water hole which is located between two bedding areas. Deer travel through this spot at all hours of the day. It is a good spot if there is no water there as well...the hole has been dry some years....but the water helps
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015

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