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Tips for homemade deer feed/forage?

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. lol

 

Abby

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Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1550
Food Plot info

Welcome to BGH Abby.

Here is a site that I have found useful and I even have a link to it on my Hunting Club website. it will answer alot of your questions.

http://fw.ky.gov/howto.asp

 

Its kinda late for food plot for this years use but sounds like you are on the right track with your suggestions/questions. I have found that Royal Radishes really get mowed down 1st in my late fall/early winter food plots. They are kinda expensive to plant and I usually only plant a couple of rows of them but they really do show as the deers first preference.

Clover is always a good plot staple but it will not grow during the hot months but will make a green comeback as soon as the weather starts to cool down Crimson Clover is what I use. I personally only plant Clay Peas, Rape, Wheat and Oats for my summer plots but only because they grow well in our sandy soil and not for some magic deer holding or attracting power. Oats, turnips, Crimson Clover, Rye(not rye grass), and Chickory make up my late fall/winter plots. I can use Turnips cause it really does not get too cold for them but in Tenn it will probably not be a great winter choice.

 

As for Mineral licks and such, here is a video of stuff that I have used and is really easy to make and works better than any of the commercially made stuff. Try it, it wont cost you but $25 0r $30 to make some and you can add some of your own "special" ingredients to customize to your own needs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bO7febTmcN4

 

Good luck and have a Happy New year !!

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Joined: 12/27/2011
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thanks

Thanks for the links. In my searches online for info the KY website never came up... it's very informative. The only place I have for food plots is my granddad's farm in KY so the site will be extra helpful. He just had the place logged so it looks like a trash heap but there's lots of room for plots.

I'm always up for do-it-yourself mixes and will definitely try yours out. Yes

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Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
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County Extension Agent.

You may also want to contact your local County Extension Agent. They can give you some great advice on what to plant along with when and where. Ours here has seed mixes of plot seeds that will do well here and have been proven sucessful by other hunters. They may also have some mineral lick recipies and/or ingredients to make some, also based on what works for your area. You can also get soil sample kits from them to use for testing your soil to determine many things but most importantly the ph level and suggestions on how much lime to use to bring it to the level needed by the plants you will be planting. The County Extension Office can be a wealth of useful information.

 

You don't need alot of room for a sucessful food plot. One of my most productive and used plot is situated in a planted pine row and only about 80 ft long. That makes it about 12ft X 80ft and I just used a garden rake, hoe and some sweat to make it. Just find a good trail or near a bedding area and start one up. They'll find it and use it.

cowboy38231's picture
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Location: West TN
Joined: 11/27/2011
Posts: 104
Turnips

Turnips will be fine in TN. Just talk to some local folks that grow them in their gardens. My dad always has them in his garden. They stay green until way after the frost. I will go over and check dads turnips out in a day or so and let you know what they look like. You can plant them as early as late June or early july so the roots can get established before cold weather. But you can plant them later if you want, but the earlier you plant them the better they stand cold weather. Like the others said, oats, peas, wheat and clover all make good food plots. You could also plant some soybeans, deer love these when they are young and will eat the beans off the plants late in the year after the frost has killed the stalks.

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Hummmm

My Turnips that were planted in early sept have already started to brown out after only a few nights of freezing weather(27-30 deg F). Mabe if I had planted earlier they would have fared better however I didn't want to disturb the clay peas and Oats so I waited until sept to plant them.

 

As for roots or tops, I know that Deer will eat the Radishes and Carrots but I have never seen them eat the turnip root but that don't mean they don't as I have never really planted them and had them survive long enough for them to root out.

 

As Cowboy mentioned, Soybeans are an excellent choice. When I was young Dad knocked down a small swamp, dried it out, root raked it for 2 years running and procedded to plant 40 acres of soybeans. Now we had seen a few deer in our pastures and even had them follow the hay truck when we would hay the Horses in winter but that never even hinted at the number of Deer that showed up after the soybeans sprouted. They mowed them down so badly that we didn't get a single soybean from that field the first year. You won't go wrong planting Soybeans and if the deer don't eat them...well pick em and roast them as you would a peanut, they are delicious. Dancing

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roots or tops?

So do they eat the root vegetables themselves or just the leafy tops?

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Location: West TN
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I finally remembered

I finally thought to look at the turnips in my dad's garden today. They are still green and we have had some low teen temps a few nights and several days of never getting out of the 20's. I would guess he planted them in August but will ask next time I think about it.

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list

I'll add turnips to my list of forage plots then. I'd like to plant some bushes and trees too... probably can't plant apples or anything like that huh? They'd take too much care I guess.

Thanks for the tips everyone!

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