Feeding deer in the summer is beneficial for the herd during a stressful period of the year.
Hunters seem to become obsessed with what deer are eating in the fall. Our experience tells us to search for mast-bearing trees to find fresh sign. Those of us with food plots, which have likely been tended to during the early fall, stick to those productive areas while the deer pack on the pounds before winter. And what about supplemental feeding? It’s an often overlooked way to keep the deer healthy during the hottest and some of the most stressful days of the year.
“Hunters have a tendency to throw caution to the wind once the season ends,” said Mitch Banks, vice president of marketing and sales for Banks Outdoors. “They just let their deer herd fend for themselves in the spring and summer.” While autumn nutrition is important, feeding deer in the summer should not be overlooked. These are critical times for antler growth, as well as gestation, lactation, fawn development, and fat deposition.
It’s tempting to stock the feeder full of corn, but it’s not a good source of protein – only around seven to 10 percent. Rather, it’s mostly carbohydrates, which is needed more in the winter months. Deer need around 16 percent of their diet to be protein, so find supplemental feed containing at least that concentration. It’s important to use a variety with vitamins and minerals, which can help the herd make it through those tough environmental conditions. All of the Feed Bank models are made of a durable poly-construction that can handle any high-octane formula, whether it’s store bought products or a homemade concoction.
“In the summer months we push the minerals and protein blends of feed through the feeders pretty hard,” Banks said. “Many of our feeders are close to clover and alfalfa fields so that a variety of nutrients can be obtained and the deer have everything they need to fill their belly in the most critical season for growth and health.”
Banks recommended one feeder for every 25 deer. A Feedbank 300 is a good choice, which offers plenty of food. You won’t have to trek into the woods often to refill it often. Another option is several Feedbank 40 models, spaced around the property near bedding areas and travel corridors.
“We like to position our feeders in areas a vehicle can access,” Banks said. “We have found driving to our feeders disturbs less game as opposed to walking to them. However, we only visit the feeders once every few weeks to avoid spooking the deer.”
By not overlooking the nutritional needs of deer in the summer, you will be sure to have a healthier herd. Continuing the routine during the fall and into winter will also provide you with a reliable place to hunt throughout the season.