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Thread: Question for you guys who feed your deer during the harsh winters....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Question for you guys who feed your deer during the harsh winters....

    This is the first year I have decided to feed the deer during the freezing winter months.

    I built a wooden trough to feed the deer here in one of the small patches of woods/wetlands that is adjacent to the corn/beans that I hunt. I decided to put it out yesterday since the deer are back to their feeding patterns here in NW Indiana. The winters here can be pretty harsh, and I wanted to provide my deer with a good food source since the crops are all cut, the snow is deep, and the temps will continue to drop into single and -0 digits.

    My local grain elevator/fertilizer store normally carries all of the Tecomate seed and feed products. I called and they do not have the deer feed any longer, but he suggested the horse feed. It is mainly oats, corn, and beans with supplemental minerals for growth and maintenance so my brother bought bought 100 pounds of that.



    I put about 30 pounds of the horse feed, mixed with 3 pounds of H.S. VitaRack 26 mineral (which the deer absolutely TEAR up in the spring/summer) into the trough.

    I set up my Wildlife Eye video camera behind the feeder to catch the action.

    MY QUESTION IS: How long do you guys think that amount of food will last? It is right next to a pretty heavily used trail, and the temps are dropping into the teens overnight and staying in the 30s during the day around here. I want to provide enough food for all the deer that visit, but I don't want to continuously scent up the area going in and out every couple days. How long do you think that will last?

    THANKS!!
    Last edited by Jeffress77; December 21st, 2007 at 02:17 AM.
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  2. #2
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    With just one deer, I would expect that to last maybe a couple weeks. With an unknown number, it could be gone overnight, it might last a few days. I'd go back after a week to check. Chances are it will be picked clean.
    The beginning of wisdom is admitting "I don't know"

  3. #3

    deer feed

    check with your local feed store see if they have any 16 per cent goat feed in the pellet form we feed it here in texas instead of the high $ deer feed

  4. #4
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    i put a hundred pound of just straight corn on the ground a couple years ago in the woodlot behind my house, over night there was not one kernel of corn left,i couldnt beleive it,i couldnt even estimate how many there were from the tracks in the snow.it looked like a herd of cattle had come in to feed.i went out and bought a feeder.

  5. #5
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    I put corn out in the off season in front of my many cameras. Normally I'll put 100 lbs out per camera and it's usually gone in a few days. There is a pretty good population of deer in the area as well as bears, turkeys, etc. that eat the corn as well. I put it straight on the ground, no feeder.
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  6. #6
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    Also, how do you like your Wildlife Eye? I absolutely love mine!
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  7. #7
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    I normally use 2 50# bags of corn mixed with 1 50# protein pellets and it will last 3 or 4 days. If you try and keep it full you will be in the poor house soon. Just fill it up every Friday and the deer will be fine. The first couple of weeks the deer will have to get use to eating out of the feeder and the feed will last a little longer.When they are comfortable with eating out of the feeder the feed will be gone within a few days.

    Here is the cost of feed where i live: Corn $7per 50#bag
    Protein Pellets $9per #50 bag

    Good luck to ya and show us some pics

  8. #8
    I started out 2 yrs ago just sprinkling corn around every night,now I need to put out 100lbs every other day. Dozens of deer live in my little woods now. They get fed corn,alfalfa and horse grain. Seems to be working.

  9. #9
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    I feed deer behind my house and have for years. It all depends on how many deer you have as to how long it will last. There has been times they would go through 3 five gallon bucks in an hour. It is amazing. When times are bad, they have met me half way across the yard wanting their dinner. I should video tape it one time.

    We feed them corn (I buy straight from the farmer, cheaper that way), sweat feed, and soy bean meal (more corn than anything else because of $$). The soybean meal has very high protien. They look like they have been snorting coke. But they head straight for it.

    It's pretty wild. During the summer, they are all around us. We can be cutting grass or what ever. They will be there and not bothered by us. But right after the acorns start falling, their habits change. You won't see them like that anymore till next spring. They keep a very low profile, especially during hunting season. They will be out there all night, just not in the day light.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Feeding Deer

    There are lots of different feeds that deer will eat, some really benefit them and some like corn don't do much for them nutritionly. Corn is like candy to them.

    I have a ranch in Texas and we feed tons of protien feed every month, it sure makes a difference in the over health of the animal and also antler growth. When we have a cold snap a lot of the time deer will leave the corn laying and go straight to the protien feeder. They know whats good for them

  11. #11
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    Turkey's will vaccum up...

    every bit of corn and then move on. Coons love to eat that stuff too so you could be getting robbed a little.

  12. #12
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    Depending on where you live and your deer population. It is not healthy to just feed deer during the harsh weeks or months. That is natures way of strengthening the herd.

    I had corn feeders out here in Kansas for several years. But I placed them in historical afternoon loafing areas between water and roosts where I knew the quail and pheasants hung out. I'm sure the deer used them quite a bit as well, but a corn feeder isn't near enough food to sustain a deer through tough times. It could be a matter of life or death for a small game bird though.

    If you are going to feed deer, it is normally recommended that you feed them year around, and something other than just a corn spinner.
    If I feed anything at all, I throw out a leafy bale or two of alfalfa. Also be careful of using livestock feed that may contain harmful elements to deer. Horses have different digestive systems than deer, and even some cattle feeds have elements harmful to deer.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by antlrcolectr View Post
    Depending on where you live and your deer population. It is not healthy to just feed deer during the harsh weeks or months. That is natures way of strengthening the herd.

    I had corn feeders out here in Kansas for several years. But I placed them in historical afternoon loafing areas between water and roosts where I knew the quail and pheasants hung out. I'm sure the deer used them quite a bit as well, but a corn feeder isn't near enough food to sustain a deer through tough times. It could be a matter of life or death for a small game bird though.

    If you are going to feed deer, it is normally recommended that you feed them year around, and something other than just a corn spinner.
    If I feed anything at all, I throw out a leafy bale or two of alfalfa. Also be careful of using livestock feed that may contain harmful elements to deer. Horses have different digestive systems than deer, and even some cattle feeds have elements harmful to deer.

    Really? I think the problem is people dont feed them enough after the season is over causing them to not get enough nutrients.

    The supplements give them strength against predation.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by antlrcolectr View Post
    Depending on where you live and your deer population. It is not healthy to just feed deer during the harsh weeks or months. That is natures way of strengthening the herd.

    I had corn feeders out here in Kansas for several years. But I placed them in historical afternoon loafing areas between water and roosts where I knew the quail and pheasants hung out. I'm sure the deer used them quite a bit as well, but a corn feeder isn't near enough food to sustain a deer through tough times. It could be a matter of life or death for a small game bird though.

    If you are going to feed deer, it is normally recommended that you feed them year around, and something other than just a corn spinner.
    If I feed anything at all, I throw out a leafy bale or two of alfalfa. Also be careful of using livestock feed that may contain harmful elements to deer. Horses have different digestive systems than deer, and even some cattle feeds have elements harmful to deer.

    I was wondering this to. Up here(MN) and from what I've read, a deer's body turns itself over into eating browse and then really only can digest that not really a healthy dose of corn, beans, etc... I'm not sure that they can jump back and forth with it being 100% healthy for them. Plenty of deer over the years have been found with full bellys of corn, but they basically starved to death being that they couldn't digest it. But that brings me into my 2nd question, wouldn't it be really harsh on an animal to start feeding them now and then quit at any point before green up?

    I'm curious about all of this, so maybe someone can chime in.
    TheMidwestHunter.com

  15. #15
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    I've been putting feeders out here in Minnesota for the last few years now with corn and they each hold about 300lbs and will last about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks depending on how many deer there are and how many critters are around. When its warm the coons can really clean a feeder out fast. I can where feeding deer corn or other feed especially in the northwoods where there aren't crops or agriculture field where it might not be good for the deer since they are use to mostly browsing. Once you start feeding though you better keep it up until spring when it greens up because the deer become dependent on the feeding station. Like others have said get a regular schedule down by filling the feeder up every weekend or something.
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  16. #16
    Might have to get rid of some of those coon and save yourself a bunch of $$. ha ha
    TheMidwestHunter.com

  17. #17
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    Not supposed to even feed the deer here in Wis.
    Shoot straight!

  18. #18
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    Depends on where you are and the amount of deer. I can kiss 100 pounds of grain/alfalfa good bye every night or 2.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Xtec Shooter View Post
    I was wondering this to. Up here(MN) and from what I've read, a deer's body turns itself over into eating browse and then really only can digest that not really a healthy dose of corn, beans, etc... I'm not sure that they can jump back and forth with it being 100% healthy for them. Plenty of deer over the years have been found with full bellys of corn, but they basically starved to death being that they couldn't digest it. But that brings me into my 2nd question, wouldn't it be really harsh on an animal to start feeding them now and then quit at any point before green up?

    I'm curious about all of this, so maybe someone can chime in.
    Yep, once you start feeding deer, you almost have to stay with it. Sheep/goat pellets and calf supliment pellets work good. I read that deer cannot digest hay during winter months, so anyone throwing out a hay bale or two, is actually doing more harm than good. We have cut browse for deer that are yarded up because of deep snow and have picked a small area clean.
    USUALLY THE HUNTERS THAT WERE NEVER ANY GOOD AT HUNTING WILL SHOOT A SPIKE.they just dont know any better and never will amount to anything .......sproulman
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by PY Bucks View Post
    Not supposed to even feed the deer here in Wis.
    I believe that's because of CWD.
    USUALLY THE HUNTERS THAT WERE NEVER ANY GOOD AT HUNTING WILL SHOOT A SPIKE.they just dont know any better and never will amount to anything .......sproulman
    I think meat hunters is another name for "Bad Hunter" or "Low Patience Hunter"....grfox
    Meat hunter=Don't have time/and or patience to hold out for mature buck.....173BC

  21. #21
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    Well, this was an overwhelming response! I appreciate all of the good info guys, since the feeding thing is a first for me.

    A couple guys need to read my post to see that I am not feeding the deer just corn, actually there is very little corn in the feed.

    I also noted that I placed the feed right next to my crop fields. My deer have lots of corn, beans, acorns, and apples to eat during the spring, summer, and fall. I just wanted to give them an extra buffer during the winter.

    I will go back and check the food today, since it will probably be gone based on your experiences. This will be more costly than I thought!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Beamen123 View Post
    Also, how do you like your Wildlife Eye? I absolutely love mine!
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiteSpeed1 View Post
    Yep, once you start feeding deer, you almost have to stay with it. Sheep/goat pellets and calf supliment pellets work good. I read that deer cannot digest hay during winter months, so anyone throwing out a hay bale or two, is actually doing more harm than good. We have cut browse for deer that are yarded up because of deep snow and have picked a small area clean.
    I agree that if you start feeding(however you do it) you need to keep it up through the rough spell. Wild animals are easy to hook on supplimental feed and you are harming them if you just take it away.

    About the not digesting hay during the winter months? You"ve never seen deer eating on big round bales sitting next to a fence row in the winter have you? My throwing out a hay bale or two of good hay, is better than any corn feeder for deer that time of year.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by antlrcolectr View Post
    I agree that if you start feeding(however you do it) you need to keep it up through the rough spell. Wild animals are easy to hook on supplimental feed and you are harming them if you just take it away.

    About the not digesting hay during the winter months? You"ve never seen deer eating on big round bales sitting next to a fence row in the winter have you? My throwing out a hay bale or two of good hay, is better than any corn feeder for deer that time of year.
    Of course I've seen deer eating on hay bales during winter months. Sorry, I meant to say that they really don't get any nutritional value from hay. Sure they will eat it, it fills the empty.
    USUALLY THE HUNTERS THAT WERE NEVER ANY GOOD AT HUNTING WILL SHOOT A SPIKE.they just dont know any better and never will amount to anything .......sproulman
    I think meat hunters is another name for "Bad Hunter" or "Low Patience Hunter"....grfox
    Meat hunter=Don't have time/and or patience to hold out for mature buck.....173BC

  24. #24
    Interesting thread.

    I have horses and thought 10% sweet feed would bring the deer in like magnets. Tried it last year and nothing touched it. Not even the birds. Very strange I thought.

    I also put out shelled corn and it disappears quickly but like others said I am not sure how much is going to the deer. When checking on the corn and putting more out I have seen squirrels, birds and coons eating it with my own two eyes but only deer tracks. Haven't caught a deer in action over the corn yet.

    I threw a bale of mostly grass hay out near my stand in the winter a couple years ago and nothing touched it either, yet I always see deer tracks and deer all year. My son and I took 4 deer this year from that location so not sure why they are so finicky. Like I said, only the corn gets touched.

    I guess I could have a neighbor with better food on the table than I'm putting out and they are eating over at his house. They're too full to eat anything by the time they get to my house.????
    Last edited by bbaumer; December 21st, 2007 at 05:02 PM.

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