Ask The Biologist

Feed or Seed?

Feed or Seed?

By Bob Humphrey

It’s tough to decide between a feed program and food plots.

QUESTION: I have 480 Acres leased in Butler County, Alabama close to Fort Deposit. I have 10 small food plots mostly in the half acre range. I also have two feeders situated in different locations near the center of my property. Would the deer herd in my area benefit more from summer food plots or from me keeping my two feeders full of protein pellets and corn?

I try to do an even corn/protein pellet mix in my feeders. Both options are costly, but which option do you think will best benefit the deer herd?

I have had this lease for five hunting seasons, and it has continually gotten better. We saw more deer this past season than we ever have. To feed or seed … that is the question.

ANSWER: It sounds like you’re already on the right track. To some extent, the answer depends on your objectives, but in most cases your overall goal should be to attract and hold more, healthier deer on your property throughout the year.

That is best accomplished by providing sufficient cover and giving them optimal year round nutrition. You can accomplish that with food plots or feeders, but you have to keep in mind that a deer’s nutritional needs vary throughout the year.

In spring and summer, both bucks and a does need higher levels of proteins, which you can provide with legumes like clover and alfala, or pellets.

In fall and winter, they seek foods higher in fats and carbohydrates, which you can provide with brassicas, winter wheat, corn and other grains.

Feeders can be a good source of supplemental feed, but consider them to be just that: supplemental to the primary food you provide on the landscape in the way of food plots, mast and natural food.

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Copyright 2018 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd