Supplemental Feeding - Should You Do It?
As whitetail seasons wind down, trail camera data typically reveals a story. One of massive amounts of energy being exerted over the past couple months from a long hard rut. One of limited food source’s due to crop harvests, freezing temperatures and the tilling of Ag lands and lastly, all too often one of injury and suffering. All of these things lead to the loss of fat stores and many times, the diminishing health of our deer herds.
Do they have the ability to survive? Of course they do. They have the resiliency to overcome incredibly harsh winters, nearly nothing for diet, and almost anything that nature may throw at them. They are incredibly tough and hardy animals. But, there are ways we can help. One of those is supplemental feeding.
Although my passion lies in hunting whitetails, I am always excited for the day after deer season goes out. In fact, its one of my favorite days of the year. This is the annual day for putting feed out in hopes of doing inventory and pulling deer onto our farms. It gives them an extra boost in nutrition when they are depleted and helps them really start to recover from the rut, months in advance. Not only do you notice an improvement in body composition, but many times it gives deer the ability to heal up from wounds and illness since they aren’t in a caloric deficit.
Not only does it undoubtedly offer health benefits, but it also pulls deer onto your property and often times holds them through Shed Season. It is not uncommon for us to have photos of nearly every buck in the surrounding area. It gives us the ability to figure out what deer made it through the season and also when to start putting miles on the boots looking for shed antlers. Additionally, there is always the hope that new bucks will show up for the feed, but will like what they find and return next fall.
Lastly, its just plain enjoyable. Knowing your making a difference in helping your deer herd go into the growing season in better health than they otherwise would have been. Seeing the bucks that somehow slipped through the cracks during hunting season show back up unscathed. Its all part of the process and is the exact reason why choose to pick up some feed, put a camera on it and wait for sheds to hit the ground in anticipation for next fall.
Happy Feed Season!
By Dwayne Jones, Community Manager at SHED SEASON™