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Deer Feeder Placement
#531575 03/06/21 03:00 PM
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Warm enough to start clearing brush and working at the farm.

It already has me thinking about the best placement for our deer feeders next year.

Do deer prefer open ground, thin cover, or heavy cover around their feeding stations? Basically, are they more comfortable being able to keep an eye out for danger, or do they like a spot where they feel danger can't easily see them?

This would also apply to feeder locations on high ground or low ground?

My land is tall grass prairie, plum thickets, isolated trees, heavy tree cover along the creek, and some old dense, old shelter belts.

Thanks for any help.

Rod

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531580 03/06/21 05:04 PM
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We have all of ours in opening near to cover that they can escape too. Deer feed out in fields (planted) but near to heavy cover. We feed year around. I suggest trying an area and see how they react. You can move it if they don’t like the spot . Also helps to see trails were they move through

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531581 03/06/21 05:26 PM
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Thanks, Pat.

One of my heaviest traffic trails just barely cuts through the corner of our property. I want to draw some of the deer off this trail. The first reason is to pull the deer a little more out in the open for better shots for my nephews. The second reason is to have them spend more time on my land. Sometimes they cruise that corner in only 20 seconds.

Perhaps two feeders in that area would work best? Pull the deer out a little like they have to follow a trail of bread crumbs.

Your response also reminded me that one of my buddies said he also feeds year round.

As a new deer hunter, I did not realize how much different the deer travel patterns were in the warm season compared to the cold season. Do you move your feeders onto the "summer" trails during summer, or do you leave them in your "best" hunting spots to get the deer used to that area all year?

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531584 03/06/21 07:14 PM
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Put the feeder where you want it and they will find it, you might start out near their trails then move it ..... they will find it ... this is close to time to start them on a protein feed like antler plus or something like it 16-20% protein, maybe mixed with a little corn . We do a 50/50 mix especially when the does drop fawns. This year one doe had triplets!

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
Pat Williamson #531585 03/06/21 07:15 PM
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Food plots here really will pull them in also

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531586 03/06/21 07:26 PM
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Awesome on the triplets! That is a good momma doe.

The last two years I have had lots of bucks (>50%?) on the cameras with broken antlers. The little spikey 4-pts almost all had at least one broken spike, and some had a broken antler. Even some of the big 10-pts had 1-2 thick tines that were broken off. One even had all four of his large tines missing on one antler. They didn't look broken, they were perfectly flat like they had been sawed off.

Might they be lacking some supplemental protein or minerals in their diet at some important point of the antler development cycle?

P.S. My brother went out to look for sheds on Friday. Only found one old antler.

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531587 03/06/21 07:30 PM
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I do have several out of the way "corners" that would be good for food plots and would not affect farming operations at all.

I frequently rent a little 32HP Deere tractor. I can get a box scraper for light ripping and a very good rototiller. However, I don't have any access to a planter.

What equipment do you use for food plots?

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531606 03/07/21 07:03 AM
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I have used oilseed radish in the past for a fall/winter cover crop and never got any takers. The deer did not even touch a turnip plot. However, I seeded some topsoil hills left from my partially complete latest pond project with oilseed radish and clover late summer and had deer digging through the snow to bite off the radish tops. I think that they needed to learn, or maybe they were desperate in the snow. They continued the grazing even after the snow was gone. We have a lot of browse like blackberry as well, which was available even in deep snow. I put out a mineral block, but no food other than the live plants. My goal is 2 does per buck, but would be thrilled to have a 1:1 ratio which leads to more trophy bucks. I have a lot of deer, and there are plenty of does, even with a large coyote population.

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531608 03/07/21 08:02 AM
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The equipment needed depends on what you are planting. Summer food plots are usually larger-sized seeds and most need to be buried 1/2 to 1" deep and that is when I use a disk, spread seed, and then drag over to cover the seeds. Plants like soybeans, sun hemp are my go-to summer food plots. Fall planting requires me to seed an area and then mow and let the cuttings cover the seeds. If you disk, be careful or the seeds will be too deep and not work out for you. Winter wheat and Elbon rye are what I plant in the fall.

Look into Texas Bowhunter forum for lots of ideas on food plots for your area.

Last edited by TGW1; 03/07/21 08:05 AM.

Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.


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Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531611 03/07/21 08:19 AM
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RAH, here in Starke County deer are funny. I planted brassicas here and they were never touched, even after a frost. 12 miles away I planted them and turnips/beets and the deer ate everything down to the ground, then pawed any tubers out of the ground. The 1 ac food plot was bare dirt before December.

This year with the heavy snow the deer here were even coming up to the house to eat Arborvitae. I put out corn and an alfalfa bale when the snow was deep and the deer were walking all the way up to the barn (roughly 100 yds from the woods) to eat, and they seemed to know the sound of the tractor. After I put the stuff out, they'd be there 20 minutes later, but this was about 1/2 hour before sunset so maybe that had something to do with it.


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Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531620 03/07/21 09:33 AM
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BTW - The radish, clover and grasses were spread on the surface of bare dirt, and then I went over with a cultipacker to press the seed in. It has worked for me. We did frost seed some big bluestem and some wild senna in this week on top of clover and decomposed radish.

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531625 03/07/21 10:26 AM
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TGW1, thanks for the advice. However, I am not a farmer, so I only followed about half of what you said. (I have a farmer tenant for the wheat ground and baling the native grass.)

When you "drag over to cover the seeds" on your summer plots, are you using something like a drag harrow?

I would definitely like to add some soybeans. Do you have quail and pheasants at your place? If so, do they have beans in their crops when you clean them?

I just read up on the sunn hemp. I did not know that it was a legume. It never hurts to fix a little more nitrogen in your soil! However, it is from India. Is it invasive at your place, or does it "stay" in the plots?

I am definitely not understanding your fall planting technique. Are you just broadcast seeding into some existing cover and then mowing? What types of cover are amenable to that technique? That would definitely work on my grass areas (native tallgrass prairie) if I could do the procedure properly. However, I think my well established grasses would out-compete any new addition plants.

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531626 03/07/21 10:33 AM
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RAH, thanks for the input.

Do any of your plantings come back the following year? I am just fine with a "good" food plot in the first year, and a "fair" food plot in the subsequent year, since I think it would still draw some deer.

Also, if the deer have a good year for natural forage do they just "browse" your plots and in those years the radishes and clover come back the next year? I would be fine with the deer pawing out the radish tubers and eating the clover down to the roots in a tough year, since the plot is there to supplement their food supply.

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531627 03/07/21 10:51 AM
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Radish are an annual. I plant them as a cover crop. When they rot, they give off cyanide which controls diseases and weed seed. The clover is perennial, but takes maintenance to keep as the primary plant. I planted the radish to condition the soil, clover to add nitrogen, and prairie seed to establish the final cover. Actually, trees will eventually take over, but probably not in my lifetime. We bought some big bluestem seed, but my wife collected other seed from our established prairies. We are gradually adding prairie in strips in abandoned crop fields as well. We have 100 American plums, 100 pawpaw, and 100 Norway spruce seedlings coming this Spring as well. Not looking forward to planting them by hand. Getting old...

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531628 03/07/21 10:52 AM
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esshup, I didn't know the deer liked alfalfa. (Duh! As you can surmise, I am a new deer hunter.)

Did you spread the bale for them?

I like the idea of dropping off a few bales around the deer trails. When it snows, or a week before the season starts, it would be easy to grab a pitchfork and throw out a few clumps of alfalfa for the deer.

Alternatively, is native grass in roughly the same dietary category? I have plenty of prairie grass for the deer. However, I assumed that once it was dry and dormant after the first frost, it lost most of its nutrient value. Could I just have my farmer leave a few bales of grass, and I can spread some of that late in the season?

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531629 03/07/21 11:11 AM
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RAH, good luck on the tree plantings!

I did American Plums from bareroot seedlings and they were surprisingly hardy through a mini-drought that killed some of my other newly planted trees.

I am also going to do pawpaws in some of my semi-shade understory locations near the creek. They do really well in that location despite some of the harsh Kansas conditions.

[My grandfather used to bring us pawpaws from the river bottoms when we were kids. One of my fondest memories is taking a handful to school for show and tell, and then cutting them up to eat. The other kids couldn't believe they tasted that good and grew wild in Kansas.]

Back on topic: I was going to try some clover plots. If they are going into an area of well-established grass, would you try to "no till" and kill of the grass with Roundup, or rototill the grass out? I have some higher drier ground, and some depressions that stay pretty soggy in wet years. Does clover like well-drained soils or like the soggier ground?

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531633 03/07/21 12:42 PM
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I would Round-Up the grass so that you don't just rototill up more weed seed, but you do need a seedbed where you can press the clover seed in, or frost-seed it. I planted a deer-plot blend of 4 different clovers. https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/plotspike-clover-blend

Last edited by RAH; 03/07/21 12:44 PM.
Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531639 03/07/21 04:12 PM
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Here in Indiana the deer typically won't eat baled alfalfa. I thought I'd try it since they were coming out of the woods to try and find anything they could to eat, I didn't want to put out a couple hundred pounds of corn just to feed the 'coons and squirrels. There are so many 'coon here that they will eat 80# of feed in one night.

The deer ate some of the alfalfa, but not all and I only put out 1/2 of a compressed bale.


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Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531645 03/07/21 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by FishinRod
esshup, I didn't know the deer liked alfalfa. (Duh! As you can surmise, I am a new deer hunter.)

Did you spread the bale for them?

I like the idea of dropping off a few bales around the deer trails. When it snows, or a week before the season starts, it would be easy to grab a pitchfork and throw out a few clumps of alfalfa for the deer.

Alternatively, is native grass in roughly the same dietary category? I have plenty of prairie grass for the deer. However, I assumed that once it was dry and dormant after the first frost, it lost most of its nutrient value. Could I just have my farmer leave a few bales of grass, and I can spread some of that late in the season?

Deer are not grass eaters per se, they will do better on Forbs and woody things. Cut down a growing tree and watch them devour the leaves and twigs. They will eat alfalfa hay but at $37 a bale it’s cheaper to feed protein feed designed for them

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531653 03/07/21 10:45 PM
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Pat, up here that compressed bale was less than $19.00, but it was only 50#. I don't know how much they ate of it, but they were going around the pond eating on the dead and dried grass that was sticking up out of the snow.


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Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531655 03/07/21 11:37 PM
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Thanks for all of the great advice guys!

I did make it out to the farm to work until dark. Nice to be in the sun and fresh air again.

Pat, thanks for the clarification about deer not be grass eaters. I thought that was mostly true, but very hungry animals will obviously eat darn near anything that contains a few calories. I have plenty of grass, so I thought it would be a simple fix if I could easily "serve" it to the deer as a different recipe.

I have been having some success pollarding a few of the undesirable trees (especially Siberian Elms) around the areas where I have planted new trees. I cut off the 1-4" diameter trees just below waist-high. The trees have explosive growth of twigs at the deer browsing level the next year. I have several of these trees each year where it is obvious the deer have been continuously browsing the tree for weeks at a time.

They still want my fruit and oak trees, but I think it keeps the deer happy and takes a little pressure off the shoots that poke out of the top of the tree tubes.

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531720 03/09/21 10:07 AM
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Pat and Tracy, how do you guys have food plots with all the hogs? Nobody, including me, even does them anymore.

I would like to but.......


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

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Re: Deer Feeder Placement
Dave Davidson1 #531723 03/09/21 10:34 AM
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Dave once the wheat sprouts the pigs don’t bother it much and if they do I sit out on moonlit nite and persuade them not to .....

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531725 03/09/21 10:47 AM
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I sure am glad that we don't have hogs in Kansas (AFAIK).

After listening to advice from you guys, I read some reviews on deer feeders.

I was amazed at how many of the 1-star reviews read something like, "The hogs knocked over this feeder on the very first night. They have done it several more times and now the spinner plate is not functioning well at all. DO NOT buy this cheap feeder."

Hopefully, you guys will continue to be successful on your "moonlit nite persuasion" activities!

Re: Deer Feeder Placement
FishinRod #531775 03/09/21 05:26 PM
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Rod, I drive TPosts next to my feeder legs. Then wire them together. No problems except for the hogs that figure out how to bump the legs to get some corn to spill out.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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