Supplemental feeding generates a lot of traffic to your property. Deer instinctively search out food, water, and shelter. If your property provides that for them now, then you’re likely to have deer on your property come hunting season.
What Causes Antlers to Shed?
Bucks shed their antlers because of a drop in testosterone levels after the rut. Their levels peak during the rut season then fall off so drastically when it’s over that it weakens the tissue and bone at the base of the antler known as the pedicle. This drop in levels results in the antler completely falling off. How early a buck sheds its antlers is a good indicator of its health. A healthy deer will shed their antlers later than an unhealthy deer. So, if you started seeing shed in early January, the herd may not be at peak health. This is another sign that you need to start feeding your herd supplemental feed now.
Deer know what kind of nutrition they need. They know when their body is not feeling well, and they will seek out food options that give them what they need. They will travel to find the proper food if necessary. By placing a deer feeder like our FeedBank Gravity Feeder on your property, you will encourage the deer to visit your property to find the nutrition. Being the only location that has a specific food source will encourage the deer to travel to your property. Choose your feed according to the type of food that is nearby. If you are next to a cornfield, avoid putting corn in your feeder. Choose something that the deer cannot get anywhere else around you.
Once the deer are comfortable because they know your food source is reliable, they will come back more frequently. This presents the opportunity for you to study their sheds. If you set up a trail camera facing your feeder, you’ll be able to track where the deer are coming and going from. Based on this, you can set up other trail cameras in the locations you’ve seen the deer traveling. Check any paths in that direction for sheds or other signs. This will give you major insight into the deer you’ll be hunting in the fall. By placing a FeedBank Gravity Feeder on your property, you’ll be able to track their feeding behavior and note the time of day that is the most popular. You will also be able to monitor how much they’re eating. If you see that deer are coming to your property, but not eating the feed, try switching the type of feed you’re putting in the feeder. You may have chosen a food they can get elsewhere.
Supplemental feed will also encourage proper antler growth. If the deer are receiving the proper nutrition, their antlers will grow big and strong. It is important to start feeding the deer during the spring because their antlers grow the most rapidly during the summer. Feeding them now will give them a jump-start on the process and provide them with enough nutrition to grow their antlers while they’re still forming.
Providing deer with supplemental feed is essential for a healthy herd. It also gives you the opportunity to monitor deer during the off season. Write down everything you learn this spring and summer and use it as part of your tactics this fall.
Do you provide deer with supplemental feed in the spring? Let us know in the comments below!