Question about deer management and range


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sleepyone
November 20, 2012, 11:51 AM
I hunt on 200 acres. There are four feeders total on it spread pretty far apart. My feeder is about 25 yards from the north fence line in the middle of the property. One is due southeast of mine about 300-400 yards. Another is about 25 yards from the east fence line in the middle and the last one is towards the west fence line. These last two are very far from mine. I have kept my feeder going year round to see if it would make a difference. My wife's relatives who also hunt this property do not keep theirs going year round and have not been seeing the big deer I do. Along with the eight point I just posted here today, I have been watching a big 11 point shown in the attached pic for the past few seasons. None of the other hunters on this property have seen these deer on the hoof or on their trail cameras.

Here is my theory. I think the bucks at my feeder bed down on the land north of me and only come across the fence line for my feeder but spend the rest of their time on other property. The land north of me used to have hunters on it about 10 years ago, but I have neither seen nor heard any signs of hunting in a long time. There are the remains of an old tower stand right next to my north fence line about 100 yards down from my feeder.

Do deer stick that close to home where they will frequent my feeder but not one that is only 300-400 yards further in on our property? After I shot the eight point the other day right before dark, I heard a deer snorting in the woods behind me while I was tagging and loading him. I know it was the 11 point because I also heard him snorting opening morning after my feeder went off and spooked him while it as still to dark to shoot. He stood off in the woods and snorted for a few minutes to express his displeasure and then moved on.

I guess I am practicing deer management on a micro level, but I would love to work with the other hunters to practice overall deer management. The problem is these are my wife's relatives, and the communication is poor at best.

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Art Eatman
November 20, 2012, 12:04 PM
Deer are creatures of habit. They'll bed down in the least-disturbed area near food and water.

Year-round feeding habituates them to a pattern. The brief feeding during deer season which is most common can be an attractant, but not if it's a totally new location which is outside the regular feeding pattern of full-time-fed deer.

Full-time augmentation of food helps deer make it through the post-season winter problems, so those deer tend to live longer and get bigger. Less winter kill.

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