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I'm contemplating the idea of feeding the deer behind my parents property this winter.

My question is: Do you feed deer in the winter months and do you feel it makes a difference in their winter survival rate?

I have read both good and bad about the subject and was wondering about personal experiences, not government articles about feeding.

Tim
 

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I leave standing crops, but I don't go out and buy feed if that is what your thinking of doing. We are also doing our timber cutting presciption in the winter this year to increase available browse from tops. About 9 acres of clear cut, 10 acres selective harvest and a 30 acre partial harvest.

If you feed, I think several stations to decrease competition at bait sites is a good idea. You should think of winter cover as well. If there isn't wintering cover handy they will use up a lot of energy your providing the with just with staying warm. You are encouraging deer to stick around instead of leaving so you would want to continue your feeding through till green-up.

As to helping them survive I think it would depend on the habitat of the wintering area your replacing. If you encourage deer to stay and you have sufficient wintering cover and ample feed to give them I think it would help in most cases to increase winter survivability. Make sure it's not anywhere near a road or you may loss them to vehicles instead of mother nature.

It could be pretty expensive as a dozen deer will eat about a bag of corn/oats every couple days. Calculate that over 4-5 months and it adds up to quite a bit.
 

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I have a neighbor down the road that puts out round bales all winter in his yard. It's lovely to see a yard full of deer when you drive by. It's not so great when you hit one with your car on icy roads and do $3500 of damage to the front end. There were four hit in that exact spot that winter. Feeding them can draw them close to or onto the roads, and actually increase the number of deer/vehicle collisions. Just a little thought.
 

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I used to a few years ago. While I don't like to tell people "NOT" to do it, because it is a "fun" winter pastime. And I really did enjoy watching and filming them. I don't feed them anymore.

I haven't done it for maybe 4 years I think.

I was feeding cracked corn, and beef finisher.
One winter about 10 years ago, I had 32 deer coming all at once! It was really hard to count them. Then one year I had 21. I had three stations, and fed about a 3 gallon pail a day. This would only amount to a hand full of feed per deer, depending on the numbers. I was basically buying at least four to six bags a month. which was running me $60 to $100 a month.

I stopped for the following reasons.

(1.)It was costing me way to much $$

(2.)The deer were getting too dependant on my feed, and I worried that if they stayed too close to the stations. They might get stranded (in deep snow)from their natural cedar areas (which were getting smaller each year). And the deer were having to travel a lot farther to find sufficient cedar browse.

(3.)I found that the addition of grain (especially the finisher with molasses in it) tens to go through the deers digestive system too fast. A deers system is naturally suppose to "slow down" in winter. Just like their metabolism. This is so that they require less energy, and the browse food stays in their digestive tract longer in order to get the good out of it. I noticed that in my long term grain feeding the deer would get diarrhea symptoms somewhat.

(4.(Another thing that bothered me was the availability of sufficient water to help digest dry grain. I don't know if deer will eat sufficient amounts of snow or no. But some years with sever deep snow. I know that Finding an open brook was difficult for them. Cedar browse at least has "some" moisture in it.
Another point to consider is that if you have shrubs around your house, and you are feeding deer. make sure you fence them off or cover them. because the deer will pretty much use them as the salad before and after their "corn" meal.

As far as "helping" them through the winter? It probably did somewhat. Because the extra energy had to have helped them keep warm. And maybe even put on a little fat to last till spring. That is if it actually stayed in their system long enough for them to get the good out of it.
 

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I do. Some things to consider. Is this a natural area where deer yard? Will they have to cross a busy road system to feed? Is it affordable? Once you start you can't stop for that winter.
 

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there are a lot of pros and cons to feeding...I think far more cons than pro's, I personally have no experience with feeding deer in the winter because I really believe that it does more harm than good for all the good reasons stated above. On the plus side it is fun and really nice to see the deer, but you really have to put that aside because its not about you, or at least is shouldn't be...It can help them get through the winter a little easier but only if you are confident you can negate all the cons, like dependancy issues, traffic issues, potential disease issues from having too many noses in the same feed pile, and are absolutely confident you are capable of continuing your program right through until spring.
If you can't meet all those conditions then I think the best thing you could do for the deer is to just let them be
 

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I'm contemplating the idea of feeding the deer behind my parents property this winter.

My question is: Do you feed deer in the winter months and do you feel it makes a difference in their winter survival rate?

I have read both good and bad about the subject and was wondering about personal experiences, not government articles about feeding.

Tim
hey i would like to try feeding deer in my area and i would like to know what is the best feed to give them
 

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My question is: Do you feed deer in the winter months and do you feel it makes a difference in their winter survival rate?
I feed deer to my girlfriend
I am not so sure it helps the survival rate


We have a lot of deer in our area during winter, there is 50 acres of mixed forest beside our land, and there is a significant amount of cedar there. When I go walking, I have found deer dead from coyotes, and snow, even with an abundant source of food around.
 

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I will definitely supplementally feed the yarding deer behind my house this year, just like I did last year. The key factor IMHO is not to get overboard with a feeding program that will soon become the primary food source for the area deer.

Unless you have access to acreage and can provide tons of foods via winter food plots and selective cutovers, you simply can't saturate a group of 20 deer insatiable appetite.

We had 9 deer in the backyard tonite, feeding in the bird feeders. Like clockwork, they are back in their yarding and post-rut pattern, including 3 magnum bucks so far.

I'm deploying the trailcams on the weekend, hopefully will get some pics to view. I put one out last evening overlooking 40lbs of apple and a leftover tink's 69 evaporator I hung just for fun and look what strolled by at 4 in the morning:



Do I feel that my small contribution helps the local deer herd in my area? You bet! The only deer left in my parts are suburban deer that benefit from supplemental feeding in the winter time from landowners who love to observe them.

DNR does not ban feeding, rather they don't recommend it, 'cause in some cases, when not done properly, it does lead to vehicle collision and a LOT of stress amongst the deer herd, if the feed is concentrated and not dispersed, overwhelming quantities, etc.

Remember, you want to SUPPLEMENT and help the deer replenish their body fat and survive the winter period, the most crucial month of winter for deer being most often March or even April.

I believe that what I will do now sporadically thru the next few months will benefit those deer and get energy balance in check for late winter.

Opinions are 6 against half a dozen on this.
 

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My wife and I feed the deer in our neck of the woods...usually whole oats,apples and dairy ration and have done so for the past fifteen winters...and swear by it for helping the local deer herd...The animals come thru the winter healthy with does birthing anywhere from one to three healthy fawns and bucks leaving to go back to their summer ranges sporting rugged new growth antler sprouts in late March and early April. The negative arguments made by some biologists and others do not apply in our area...no increased road kill, no BSE or CWD or other noticeable diseases encountered nor any evidence of false dependency on our winter food sources...or no domestication of the animals observed. The benefits of a winter feeding program, although a bit costly, are numerous. aside from having a healthy population to hunt come the next fall.This may not be appropriate for some areas in the province for various reasons but for us...it's a great way to give back to the resource!
 
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