May 3, 2013 | Deer Nutrition & Food Habits | 1 Comment
A big part of white-tailed deer management is food. Getting adequate nutrition to animals is the best way to ensure all deer live up to their potential, whether it be bucks growing exceptional antlers or does producing and raising fawns year after year. It takes food to make that happen. Habitat management helps promote the right plants for deer, but it still takes rain to make them grow. Spring is typically the best time of the year for deer because of the availability of high protein forbs. This year, although not stellar, is far from bad. I’ve seen only a few deer over the past month; they just don’t have to move because the good stuff is literally at their feet.
The foods that grow in good deer habitat are the very best for whitetail, but the problem is that they do not always grow. With the Summer season and its mercury-busting temperatures just around the corner, it’s safe to assume that those protein-rich forbs will be going bye-bye here shortly. It is during that time of year when bucks will still be actively growing antler and the energy demands of does will be high due to hungry, rapidly-growing fawns that will be in tow. When soils dry up, the supplemental feeding of deer can help fill the void on the landscape as well as in the bellies of the deer that live there. Read the rest
Apr 11, 2013 | Supplemental Feeding | 0 Comments
Question: “What’s the deal with rice bran? I hunt on 40 acres in Northeast Texas with heavy deer hunting pressure on all sides and I usually just throw corn on the ground to attract deer. I am very low budget and cannot afford the feeding of minerals and protein pellets. I have tried salt blocks, livestock blocks and wildlife blocks. The deer in my area seem to like flavored rice bran like apple or peanut butter but it is hard to find. Does rice bran have any nutritional value to deer? Any suggestions and recommendations on how to attract deer in this situation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.”
Response: Stabilized rice bran is a common ingredient used in many commercial feeds for whitetail deer. Many of the products that contain rice bran in high percentage are better described as deer baits or attractants. For example, it is the main ingredient in the commercial deer attractant “Buck Bran” which is produced by Wildgame Innovations and “Buck Grub” that is sold by Evolved Habitats. Rice bran can also found in lower quantities in truly supplemental feeds (protein pellets). In short, rice bran is a good source of easily digested vegetable fat, but that is about it. Read the rest
Mar 27, 2013 | Non-typical Stuff | 0 Comments
In today’s world it seems successful white-tailed deer management programs are just like everything else; they never sleep. There is always something for managers to do out at the ranch, be it checking feeders or “sculpting” brush. There are also opportunities available to hunters and land managers to gain additional, helpful information about deer, their habitat and the methods to improve the overall deer hunting and herd quality on a piece of property. There is always something new to be learned about whitetail, whether it be from university research or a salty ole ranch hand. Learning should never sleep.
For those looking to spend a day or two off the ranch (or out of the office), The Texas Deer Study Group is slated to meet in mid-April. The presenters at these annual forums are typically well-versed in wildlife management and offer the latest details on what’s happening in the world of whitetail. Attendees this year can expect to hear about genetics, nutrition, and diseases, as well as talks on the social and economic factors impacting deer hunting in Texas. There is also a ranch tour on the second day that allows folks to see on-the-ground deer habitat management. Read the rest
Mar 8, 2013 | Deer Hunting | 1 Comment
The last of the 2012-13 Texas deer hunting seasons officially ended as the month of February came to an end. Many hunters put deer season behind them months ago when the General Season ended, but properties enrolled in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) Program under Levels 2 and 3 just wrapped up their hunting. Now that the month of March has blown in (literally) it appears a new crop of fawns will be hitting the ground in just a couple of months. Where does the time go?
But as one season ends, another is about to bloom. Hopefully. Chalk up another drier than average winter for almost every corner of the state. Things have been green as of late, but soil moisture is low and everyone is going to need more rain when the temperatures increase. There just is not much in the tank and it’s going to get ripped out of the soil as plants use it for both growth and evaporative cooling. Deer and their habitat need rain from time to time. As research out of Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where they were investigating antler growth in both fed and unfed bucks, recently stated: Read the rest
Jan 16, 2013 | Habitat Management | 0 Comments
The white-tailed deer hunting season has closed on most hunters, but there is a new season among us, something I have termed “mid-winter deer habitat management season.” Admittedly, it’s kind of a long name and unfortunately it’s not a hunting season, but the deer and other wildlife found on your property will definitely benefit from it. It’s during this mid- to late-winter time that many landowners and hunters put whitetail deer out sight and out of mind, but the animals that you will be hunting next year are still out there, right now. If you have ever needed a reason to stay out in the field during late January and February this is it.
The time from late January through the month of February is one of the best periods to perform on-the-ground deer habitat management. The practices performed during this time will positively impact the deer on your property throughout the year. These practices include prescribed burning, brush control and tree thinning, and protecting bottomland areas. These management practices will not only improve the health of the plant communities found on your property, but also increase the quantity and quality of deer foods for the whitetail that live there. Other deer management activities that can be performed during this period include spring food plot preparation and predator control. When combined, all of these practices will lead to improve deer hunting on your land. Read the rest
Dec 14, 2012 | Deer Management | 0 Comments
Submitted Question: “I have some deer hunting questions. I hunt in Mississippi right off the Mississippi river. We have been on a deer management program for several years. The rules are, you must shoot a doe before taking a buck. If you shoot two doe then you can take two bucks. For a buck to meet the regulations, it must have 21 inch main beams and be 4 1/2 years of age or older. Our deer manager says we have too many doe, but a lot of the members are getting concerned. We see way more bucks that doe when we sit in our stands. Our trail cameras pics have also captured way more bucks on them as well, but our lactation rate is only 50 percent. Why is this and how can we get an accurate head count of our deer herd?”
Buck Manager: The answers to the questions that you have asked are critical pieces of information for any deer management initiative. In many cases, if a property manager can identify the both the buck to doe ratio as well as the reproductive (fawning) rate, then that gives the manager a real good picture of what is happening out on the ground. That being said, I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s virtually impossible to be spot-on with exact numbers when talking about a population of wild animals. However, there are various techniques available that can help you reliably estimate those all-important numbers. Read the rest
Nov 28, 2012 | Deer Hunting | 0 Comments
The month of November has nearly come and gone and, for the most part, it looks like the whitetail deer hunting in Texas has been good to date. A good number of hunters have reported harvesting their best bucks ever, which is likely the result of above-average habitat conditions throughout much of the year combined with good deer management practices. But it’s not been all high-fives and big buck photos for every hunter. The first couple weeks of November were quite toasty (nothing new around here) and that kept deer movement at a minimum.
The warm weather left many hunters wondering where all of the bucks they captured on game cameras had gone. Morning hunts showed better deer movement over evening hunts, but even then deer sightings were slim for the most part. This was especially in areas that were still brimming with acorns. Fortunately, the weather improved. Mid-month delivered a real cold front across Texas that really got whitetail moving. As I traveled across the central part of the state one morning I observed no less than a dozen bucks walking behind, running after or frantically looking for does. Cold, crisp air tends to do that. Read the rest
Oct 18, 2012 | Deer Hunting | 0 Comments
White-tailed deer hunting is already underway for Texas bowhunters and those ranches participating in the Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) Program, but the General Season–we call it gun season–is just around the corner for the rest of Texas’ hunters. This is when the majority of deer hunters head to the field to make memories and bag and tag their personal trophies. And for those gun hunters, November 3 can not get here fast enough. But the good news for those with sharp knives, empty coolers and elevated heart rates is that opening day is just over two weeks away and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) says things are looking good for both deer and deer hunters.
Source: “The white-tailed deer herd in Texas is doing well and stable. Despite one of the worst droughts on record last year, the deer population came through with minimal population impacts. Most areas experienced low fawn survival last year, as to be expected, but we had very few reports of any significant adult mortality related to the drought. Read the rest