First a bit of intro. I am a 23 year old that lives in east TN and would LOVE to get more involved in hunting and fishing of all types as well as wildlife management, sustainable agriculture and homesteading. Ideally I'd like to have a few hundred acres in my home-range that would give me all the room I need to hunt, fish, and raise critters. I'm broke right now though so it will have to wait...
I just recently started bow hunting on a neighbor's 2 acre wooded plot. There's no real forage around except for an open bottom below me that I don't have permission to hunt. It's basically just grass- no real winter forage to speak of. My archery season ends Jan. 14 and I want a chance to fill my tag but without paying ridiculous prices for commercial feeds and such.
I've seen 35 deer in the few days I've been hunting (wanted to get an early start in September but had no where to go...) but they've mostly been small does and 4-point bucks. Getting a nice buck would be great but I'd rather get big, meaty does. I have bought some Deer Cane (original and black magic), a couple apple flavored blocks, and Buck Bran- they sucked up the Buck Bran but haven't been interested in the other stuff. Is there something specific that will bring does in? I know many of them have been bred now and are eating for 2 (or more)- do they need more protein or other nutrients because of this? I would assume that they do... would salt used for pregnant heifers also work for deer?
I really want to try my hand at making the Buck Bran but the 2 main ingredients (soybean flour and extruded rice bran) are no where to be found at any feed store near me. I found a horse feed that is mainly rice bran- would that work as the base? I'm the type that likes to make things myself even if it is harder because I want to control what goes in as much as possible.
Also, if I were setting up a perennial food plot what would be best to plant? I know that buckwheat, clover, soybeans and alfalfa are excellent as are turnips. Has anyone planted mangels or feeder carrots in their winter food plots? Will the deer and other animals dig those up and eat them? And what of permanent plots? Do anyone of you plant berry bushes, trees, perennial greens (such as kale) or annual, re-seeding plants or herbs? I've got a lot of experience with growing plants as I have a yearly garden populated by primarily heirloom and open pollinated veggies and herbs.
I apologize for all the questions... I have a tendency to overload my brain with trying to find too much info at once. I can't help it though- I want to know about everything.