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Spring into action for a better deer herd

Discussion in 'Ohio Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by atrkyhntr, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. Bucks growing racks and does nursing fawns mean the feed bag is on in the spring. Nutrition is critical in the spring, maybe more so if you want a healthy herd on your property. Year round nutrition is the key to a healthy deer herd with high quality food sources all year long. Food plots and fertilized local browse go along way to ensuring success in the fall with mature full bodied healthy deer. Spring and summer whitetail require different nutrition then in the fall and winter. We can provide this nutrition with warm weather food plots.

    Protein is the major preferred food source at this time of year. Does need protein to nourish unborn fawns and also to produce milk that is very high quality. Bucks also need protein to grow large racks and help maintain strong bones and mass weight.
    The best way to help bucks is with high quality protein food sources and mineral plots that give them access to phosphorus and calcium, what racks are made of, and need to take full advantage of the growing season.
    Most natural browse and forage fall far short of providing what whitetail need at any time of the year, spring is no different. Thus our need to give nature a little push in the right direction.
    Contact your local National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or Agricultural Extension Service. The NRCS also publishes soil surveys for every county in the United States, these books are free and have quality information for your area on rain fall, plants type that do very good, soil and tables to help you decide what to do.
    Warm season forage that will work the best for the spring season thru summer include:
    Wheat, rye, oats, alfalfa, peas, soybean and all varieties of clover. Before planting any food source always have your soil tested and fertilize at the suggested rate for each forage type selected.
    Having your soil tested will save you money and time and ensure high quality food sources, the cost is around $10-15. Money well spent.

    More hunters are learning that besides careful selection of deer each fall for harvest we can also stack the deck a little better in our favor.
    I use mineral sites and select browse and mass crop fertilization along with ensuring that there is ample water and cover to keep perticular deer herds healthy.

    I do not like food plots only because most of Ohio is so clay infested the money invested to right this wrong could prove plenty costly...

    I do not like feeders as they tend to do more harm then good if not done properly meaning there being used for a food source and not supplemental feeding...


    Many hunters dream of having one place that attracts deer during the season where they can be assured of action and the chance at taking a trophy buck. This can be done with some planning towards that end. Making a "sweet" spot in your area is easier said then done. Here is a way to get started and make yours happen.

    Scout your area or simply choose an area that you know deer browse in. When you find such a spot look skyward and see what kind of light you will receive in this area. If you need to, cut some trees down as many mature trees will block out much needed light that smaller plants thrive on for growth. I try to find an area that is away from human activity and near known bedding areas.
    Pruning native plants back to 3-4 ft high and taking out unwanted plants will benefit the deer sooner then planting a crop food source. After you have pruned the area take soil samples to send to your local county Agricultural Agent. This will determine what your soil needs when your begin to fertilize. Use a high quality fertilizer like a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 which is the slow release brand, releasing needed fertilizer during the whole year.

    I take old milk cartons and cut them in half to create small weed-proof barriers to help my planting succeed. Dig holes large enough to place the cartons in the hole then fill with soil. Take a small stick and poke holes in the soil and then place seeds in the holes and cover with soil again. This ensures the seeds will grow and without being choked out by native plants or weeds.

    If there are mass producing trees in the area such as oaks, dig small holes at the drip line and place fertilizer in each hole and cover with dirt. This will sweeten the mass these trees produce and bring deer to the area.

    Remember deer like to browse and creating a browse area in your woods will bring the deer to you and not the other way around. Over a couple years you can produce many little sweet spots that will attract deer and hold them in areas that you have created.

    Establishing a mineral lick is quick and easy. First, clear an area approximately 3 feet in diameter then pour the mineral mix onto the exposed soil and finally, mix the mineral mix directly into the soil to about 4 inches in depth.Typically, granular mixes are more attractive to whitetails than blocks.

    When establishing a lick, mix the salt/mineral mix directly into the soil. This is the most natural presentation and generally maximizes the use by deer. In most areas it will be necessary to recharge the lick with additional salt/mineral once per year.

    Once you have selected a mineral mix, you should determine the number and locations of licks you wish to establish. In most areas, one lick per 60 - 100 acres is considered sufficient. Since the peak use of licks is during spring and early summer, licks should be established during late winter or early spring. When possible, select sites that are relatively level, well drained, and have a high concentration of clay in the soil. Clay is important because it decreases leaching and increases the evaporative concentration of the minerals. Also, avoid placing licks near roads or areas of high human activity to reduce poaching and encourage deer use during daylight hours. Deer love thick cover which makes an excellent site for a mineral lick

    Now is the time to plan so get started

    :D
     
  2. Very informative, thanks for the info!
     

  3. atrkyhntr, yes great post!! Maybe they can add a forum for food plots and habitat improvement, I think there would be alot of interest in this topic. But I would advise against mineral blocks or mineral sites due to the threat of CWD and other Disease that is spread by numerous deer frequenting the same very small area. I would also like to add this to atrkyhntr's very imformative post by just adding to what he has already mentioned, and that is that it takes as much out of a mature buck to produce a trophy set of antlers as it does for a doe to produce 2 fawns. Pike
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2003
  4. Great post, I enjoyed the read!
     
  5. EHD = Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease

    Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in Ohio is a HUGE concern simply because it can decimate a population killing as many as 90% of deer in a given area. Only a hard frost can stop EHD and frost many times cannot be expected till the middle of Oct each year in S.Ohio.
    EHD is also called blue tongue. Infected deer quickly lose their appetite, become weak, tongues swell, they salivate excessively and die in just a matter of days. Some deer survive EHD and develop an immunity to the disease. All deer and elk that contract CWD slowly waste away and die, but the incubation period can be as lengthy as three to five years for elk
    First identified in New Jersey in 1955, EHD was the major suspect of small Ohio deer kills in Greene County in 1997 and Muskingum County in 1980. Ohio counties that have had confirmed outbreaks include Gallia, Vinton, Ross and Meigs.
    How EHD infiltrated Ohio is a puzzle. It could have been brought in by livestock, which can carry the disease but don't die from it, or by wild deer or an infected midge could have been carried here by high winds.
    Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is common to white-tailed deer, but rarely affects other species. It occurs in the driest part of the year when conditions are just right for biting gnats, the carriers of the disease.
    The disease is not contagious from one animal to another, and it is not transferable to humans. It comes from a virus carried by biting gnats that live in or near water and wet, muddy areas. It is transmitted to deer that congregate at such watering holes during warm, dry weather.
    The spread of the disease is usually cut short with colder, wetter weather that spreads deer out and away from gnat-infested areas, or the first hard frost, which will kill the disease-carrying gnats. Since the incubation period for the disease is five to 10 days, afflicted deer may be observed up to a couple of weeks after frost.
    Deer in the early stages of EHD may appear lethargic, disoriented, lame, or unresponsive to humans. As the disease progresses the deer may have bloody discharge from the nose, lesions or sores on the mouth, and swollen, blue tongues. They become emaciated because they stop eating. Sometimes they even stop drinking, although many die close to or in water.
    Other wildlife, like mule deer, elk, and bighorn sheep could be exposed to the disease but are usually not stricken like white-tailed deer. No evidence of an outbreak in these species has been found at this time nor in past outbreaks in recent years.
    Domestic livestock could also be exposed, although cattle and sheep are usually only carriers, not victims, of the "Bluetongue" virus, which is very similar to EHD.
    Since deer hunting season usually doesn't open until well after the first killing frost, deer hunters usually don't see live, infected animals. However, WDFW recommends hunters avoid shooting and consuming deer that show any EHD symptoms, even though the disease cannot be transmitted to humans.
    EHD typically strikes in late summer and early fall during an unusually warm, dry year when wildlife concentrates at whatever water is available. Major outbreaks among white-tailed deer have occurred mid-August to mid-October.

    In short there should be no worries that infected deer can spread the disease so we all should be safe using the above info to facilitate the health of our deer herds...
     
  6. That EHD really scares me.....Great articles!!
     
  7. As of As of 11/20/02 CWD has not been detected in The State of Ohio. If anyone knows this not to be true PLEASE let us all know your source of information so we can study its effects on our states deer population.
    ***I belive our state goverment needs to be more careful on what animals are being brought into our state and I also think these same animals should be tested and documented for diseases before crossing state lines***

    The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife has been monitoring the general health and condition of deer at a number of the mandatory deer check stations for many years. Deer brought to check stations have been routinely tested by the Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Health for diseases and parasites, primarily tuberculosis and the ticks that spread Lyme Disease. No problems have been detected from the hundreds of animals examined over the years.
    After reports of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surfaced in Wisconsin, Ohio began targeted monitoring of its deer herd. No sign of CWD has been found here. Officials believe that it’s very unlikely that CWD will be found here for a number of reasons: 1) The excellent condition of the animals routinely tested for other diseases. 2) Ohio’s large human population would make it very unlikely that sick or dying deer would go unnoticed. In addition, the Division of Wildlife intentionally manages deer herd levels well below the carrying capacity of the habitat throughout the state. This management approach keeps the herd in excellent overall health and, because deer population densities are kept relatively low, the opportunity to spread disease between animals is minimized.
    Chronic Wasting Disease is a progressive, fatal, degenerative disease of the brain affecting elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. CWD belongs to a group of related diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), which include diseases such as Scrapie in sheep and goats, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans. There is no evidence that CWD affects humans. CWD is not the same as CJD or BSE. TSEs are thought to be caused by abnormal proteins, called prions in the brain. There is currently no treatment or vaccine available.
    It is not certain how CWD is transmitted, but deer observation in Colorado and Wyoming has shown that both lateral (animal to animal) and maternal (mother to offspring) transmission may be possible. The most likely means of transmission is between animals that are in close contact with each other. The epidemiology supports lateral transmission as the major mode of transmission as most affected animals in the Colorado and Wyoming facilities were unrelated. In addition, the elk and mule deer placed in pens that had housed infected cervids (members of the deer family) for many years became infected, even though there were no other cervids on the premises, leading to the assumption that the environment of a facility could be a source of the disease.
    In 1967, Chronic Wasting Disease was first detected in deer in northeast Colorado. CWD has not been found in Ohio. As of November 2002, it has been diagnosed in wild or captive deer and/or elk in Colorado, Wyoming, Wisconsin, South Dakota, New Mexico, Nebraska, Saskatchewan, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Montana, and Alberta.
     
  8. atrkyhntr, No one claimed that CWD. was currently in OH. or that EHD. could be spread from mineral sites!!
    Now, Do you know how the experts think CWD spread over 700 miles from the nearest infected area in Co. to the infectead area in WI.? No The answer is not Deer or Elk farms. They believe CWD. was spread to the infected area by Mineral blocks or mixes!! You see a group of land owners got together and decided they wanted to to grow super bucks, I bellieve the controlled something like 20,000 continious acres, So they started putting out mineral blocks and powders, Well a you kow a couple years later guess what showed up? CWD !! Right in the middle of the area that these land owners controlled!! Biologist's and Vet's studied everything, to try to fiqure out how CWD. showed up in this area, They then ested the commercial mineral blocks and mix's. Guess were the calcium came from in these mineral supplements? These commercial Mineral supplement co's were buying Cow bones from slaughter house's and grinding the bones into powder adding this powder into the mineral supplements they were and are continueing to sell across the the country. This is why most states have since banned the use of baiting and mineral sites since the outbreak in WI, was discovered. Also ther is not one shred of proof that mineral supplements actually help the herd!! most consider it to be a gimic, and of course with the promise of big antlers many will try anything. Pike
     
  9. Oh no... I know that...
    I just didn't want anyone to think it (CWD) was here in Ohio yet unless of course it was and there was proof of same... But if the state does not watch what comes in here by way of cattle or western game animals we could be in a world of doo doo real fast!!!
    Colorado & Wisconsin really had to get down and dirty and they tried to take it out with extermination and or eradicating of whole Elk & Deer herds !!!
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Article
    Lets pray that CWD never shows its ugly head here in Ohio :eek:

    I beg to differ with onemore post that infact bodes well for both our post/replies: Mine about minerals affecting overall deer health and antler growth and yours about CWD most likely coming from the mineral blocks that the Wisc farmers were using at that time... No longer are minerals being made from bones of animals that have not been tested for CWD. Which I find hard ot belive some do not "slip thru the cracks" and are not tested....

    One chilly evening in the winter of 1990 a
    group of local deer hunters - farmers, neighbors and kin - gathered for a chili supper at a farmhouse here to brainstorm about how to build a better buck.
    Out of the conversation came a pact. They agreed to a long-term plan to refine the white-tailed herd in their area, including 12 square miles in the northwestern part of the town of Vermont, in western Dane County.
    Beginning that year, they would shoot many does but spare young bucks.
    They would give the males three to five years to develop the big bodies and splendid antlers that could qualify them as trophy candidates for the Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett record books.

    So Part 1 of the pact was selection. Part 2 was nutrition.

    "We'd come from dairy farming families, so we took our cues for improving
    the herd from that background," recalled a woman who took notes after the
    chili supper.
    "We asked: 'What do the animals need that they might not be getting from the
    environment?' " Their ground was flinty, she noted, and forest soils were
    not high in calcium or phosphorus, the stuff that nursing does and
    fast-growing bucks "in velvet" need.
    Deer were ruminants, like sheep or cattle, they reasoned. Why not supplement
    their diets, as farmers did for livestock, with pasture lots and licks?
    "Couldn't hurt, might help," one farmer said at the meeting.
    So the group agreed to start - or, since some had already started, continue
    - a long-term program of supplemental mineral feeding of wild deer aimed at
    doe-fawn and buck health and the making of big antlers.
    Within a few years, the results began to appear in the trophy books.

    Of 152 Dane County bucks earning enough total points for registration
    between 1980 and 2000 in the Pope and Young Club's "Bowhunting: Big Game
    Records of North America," 136 were registered between 1990 and 2000.
    Of the 136, 84 were killed between 1996 and 1999. Bucks with the highest
    scores for antlers dominated the years 1996, 1997 and 1998.
    Clearly, something was working. Then, this year, something horrible
    appeared.

    Now we know the rest of the story


    ****I wanted to add*****

    In my limited experience I cannot say I have seen better antler growth but have seen bigger bodied deer in the areas we use fertilization and mineral sites.... I'm all for giving the deer the best chance to be all they can be LOL :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2003
  10. Very interesting info on that post. It does make you think about planning in a different light.;)
     
  11. atrkyhntr, thanks for posting the rest of the article, I searched for it and could not locate it again to post it. I hope and prey it that CWD. does not come any farther east and that the states already affected get it under control. Here is a couple of links that state that to date there is no scientific proof that mineral supplements actually have any beneifit. Pike
    http://www.bowsite.org/bowsite/kb/ASK.cfm?section_id=3&StartRow=21

    Here is an article from QDMA. http://www.qdma.com/articles/detail.asp?ID=97
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2003
  12. Not a prob I thought you may have seen some of the articles I have been refering to...
    I like the info located on that wonderful site from my home state about White-tail Deer Nutrition "HuntingPa" ;)

    Whitetail have been studied inside and out and we still really do not know what makes them tick :rolleyes:

    Onething is certain and that is a well balanced diet that includes proper nutrition will produce quality deer anywhere they are located ;)
     
  13. Great info

    There is sure a great amount of info here, and I've learned a lot, but i've read articles supporting both sides of the argument on mineral licks.... I'm confused!:confused: I was thinking about putting one on my property of 40 acres to see if I could get the deer more active in my area, but I don't know. Maybe...


    David
     
  14. atrkyhntr, How can I get more info on your guide service?
     
  15. Hey gamegetter1
    If your meaning of "mineral licks" refers to the mineral blocks then if I were you I'd create a mineral site using granular minerals not blocks... Also these sites will not make the deer active or more huntable simply will make them healthier.
    You can fertilize local browse and mass crops and make little honey holes in your area that put the odds a little higher in your favor. I like to use a gas powered weed wacker and take down a small area then use a hand held spreader to spread fertilizer and watch the stuff grow and sweeten-up which attract and hold deer better then un-fertilized areas.
    Onething that you should understand anything you do will help the deer thats a fact. Putting more deer on the table is another factor all together ;)

    Hey bks I'll send you a PM with my website addy but I can't post same here it would not be fair to the paid advertisers of this site...
     
  16. thanks,

    Thanks atrkyhntr for all the information. I'm definitely going to work hard to help the deer herd in my area, and now I can do it right. Thanks for posting.

    David
     
  17. Glad I could help in some small way... :)

    Another thing that will help anyone starting out is THINK SMALL!
    If you undertake something along these lines that will become another job or become time consuming you may not do it right or simply not finish what you started.

    Make a list of what you would like to do and who you can count on if anyone to help. Having someone help keeps the cost down and doubles even triples the fun to boot.

    I'd start by figuring our how many acres your area is and then make plans to create 1 mineral site for each 60 - 100 acres. If you will be making only 3-4 you by yourself will only take a 2-3 hrs tops... With another much quicker but before you start figure out where you will place them 1st even if you have to walk around a few times. Remember its far better to place them near bedding areas and thickets where deer already are and feel comfortable & safe. Don't try to make them go where you want them to. :eek:

    If you have some apple trees that no longer bear fruit just trim away and use some fertilzer to boost things along. Even those tree spikes are better then nothing ;) Apples grow on the new growth thus older unkept tree no longer have the new growth needed to bear fruit TAH DAH now they will...

    Print my 1st post out and use it for a reference should help. Just start small maybe one or two thngs this year and another one or two next and before you know it your on your was to improving the health of deer in your area... :D
     
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