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Winter feeding

giles

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This will likely take me a while but I've been wanting to get this thread started for a while. This time of year I always turn my attention towards food for wildlife. Winters like this with prolonged cold Temps and snow/ice grab my attention.

But what do you do to help them? The internet are full of information about how bad straight corn is, so I won't completely go in to that. That is an argument that can go either way depending on your location. Personally, I like to go for proteins and fatty stuff. Bird seeds, sunflower seeds with some minerals and corn. Those birdseed blends are packed full of good protein and fats! That is what a deer or any wildlife really needs this time of year. Not the carbs from corn. Soybeans would be a much better option.

So if you are into antler growth, fawn survival or just helping the wildlife. Do some research as to what is actually helping and not hurting them. Don't just go dump a load of corn. That money could really go further if used in a different way. This is most important for those not feeding year around.

I'm not here to push a brand. I mix my own stuff usually by whatever is on sale. I will stock up when I see things on sale throughout the year. Then around now I start to slowly dump it out.

How many of you guys stop feeding after the season is over?
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giles

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BTW, those tubs are just containers my buddy had. That isn't what is in them. We mixed our own and I even joined the Grape Drank Mafia this year.

Reminds me that the boys need to put cards in their cams. Lol
 

jagermeister

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My own personal opinion here... wild deer don’t necessarily need our help. I think people feed deer because it makes them feel good for doing it. Don’t get me wrong. Most people probably aren’t hurting anything. But blowing money on it, without collecting quantifiable data on whether it’s making a difference or not, is likely just that... blowing money.
 

giles

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My own personal opinion here... wild deer don’t necessarily need our help. I think people feed deer because it makes them feel good for doing it. Don’t get me wrong. Most people probably aren’t hurting anything. But blowing money on it, without collecting quantifiable data on whether it’s making a difference or not, is likely just that... blowing money.
I agree. Hinge cutting would be the best option here.
 

bowhunter1023

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An animal that eats 200 different kinds of plants/mast will survive alright without us helping them along. I stopped feeding after muzzy season because I'm only baiting to provide shot opportunities for my wife and kid, so I avoid the additional expense and trust they'll find something to eat given the diversity of habitat on/around our farm.
 

giles

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The idea I had behind this thread was to help teach people how to properly "help" and I learned I was doing it wrong. TOO has the power and information to really help and it proved itself again. Not sure how I never came across that in all my searches. Sunflower seeds are in most bird seed mixes. I don't think the squirrels and birds will leave enough for them anyways, lol. They don't winter here.
 
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at1010

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Can you positively impact deer from supplemental feeding? Yes. However - it is extremely cost prohibitive. Also, it is hard to get a wild deer to simply eat enough to make a noticeable difference in his antler size. A study in Texas showed an increase in antler size but it was marginal and I believe they fed 400 tons of food per season.

Now if you are just feeding cause you enjoy it - good deal.

feeding because you feel you are supplementing the deer, highly unlikely unless you are spending thousands and spreading thousands.

I’d suggest just firing up a saw and felling some trees. An acre of open canopy will add more tonnage for deer all times of year - than most men could afford to feed.

I am not expert checkout MSU deer podcast 34 - “should I start a supplemental feeding program”

 
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giles

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I mostly started to get critters in front of my kids trail cams. I used to do it before because thats what made me feel involved and I had access to corn. I don't do it just for deer, that's for sure.
 
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Floki

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The idea I had behind this thread was to help teach people how to properly "help" and I learned I was doing it wrong. TOO has the power and information to really help and it proved itself again. Not sure how I never came across that in all my searches. Sunflower seeds are in most bird seed mixes. I don't think the squirrels and birds will leave enough for them anyways, lol. They don't winter here.
Correct ☝️

Shit I make mistakes everyday. If I didn’t I don’t know what I would do.😝

Any how I tend to agree with Bowhunter1023.

I personally feed till March. Mostly corn with a jar of peanut butter on tree. Minerals I do year round.

Personally I tend to disagree with the biologist about corn. Most of us at some point or another. Have trail cams on our corn piles/mineral sites.

I guess I can’t speak for everywhere but deer here will come in eat for a a couple minutes and are gone. They don’t stand there and
gorge their selfs to death. (I really don’t think ya have to worry Dave). Not to mention all the cut cornfields that consistently have deer in them.
Never one time have I ever read or heard anywhere of a mass influx of deer dying from said farmers corn feild.

I’ve always been under the impression from what I’ve read that corn basically heats up there body temperature.

I’ve also read in very bad winters a Doe can actually absorb their fawn in their belly to stay alive.

I would say one over looked thing is if you have enough property make some trails with the quad. Make it easier for them to walk.

Also if you can by your feed sites. Pack down the snow with quad so its easier for them to feed.

Deer are way more resilient than what we think. There is always going to be casualties in any winter. Personally I think some of the smaller fawns get their legs cut on ice and snow trying to punch through it. Then comes the yotes.

All in all personally I think deer know what they need. When they need it and will seek it out, or they wouldn’t still be around.
 

Spencie

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I feed year round except for April to July. Right now it’s mostly for sheds. The past week the deer have really slowed down on their corn consumption even though it’s still been cold at night. Something else has grabbed their appetite. I have lots of downed trees and clover/alfalfa fields. They spend more time away from the corn than they do at it. Most will come in and eat for a couple minutes and leave.
If the unlimited overtime ever stops I will not feed as much corn.
 

giles

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And inventory 🤣. I don't have enough land here to do that. Rarely get buck pics multiple times.
 

Fletch

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I dumped corn in my back yard for the deer last month when I had 30+ inches of snow..Like some have said they came and ate for a little while then moved on to the shrubs in my yard... Never did they gorge themselves on corn... Today the corn was finally gone and the deer came and ate grass and trimmed my shrubs some more... Tomorrow I may run to Tractor Supply and get a bag or two of sweet feed... After that they are on their own... As a kid growing up in Western Pa. boy scouts would go out and cut browse in the winter...