With spring green up nearly complete, the food plots planted and summer only weeks away it would seem as though it would be a slow time for us in the deer woods. However, now is one of the most important time periods for the serious hunter. Soon does will be giving birth to their fawns and bucks are rapidly (centimeters per day) growing their antlers, thus our supplemental feeding program is now in full swing.
The past couple of years we have relied heavily on the Whitetail Institute’s 30-06 Plus Protein mineral supplementation. This year we’ve not only added a third mineral station but have begin using Antler King. Antler King Protein pellets and mineral supplements provide variety for the deer herd while supplying the necessary minerals they need in order to nourish their fawns or develop their antlers. For does in particular, supplements create for increased lactation which leads to increased survival rates amongst fawns. Does without proper nourishment lose fetuses and fawns at a rate of anywhere from 70-90%. Combining this with the possibility of predation following birth creates a situation in which fawn survival is very difficult. Eliminating fawn death through malnutrition creates an increased number of healthy fawns who are ready to not merely struggle to survive, but thrive upon entering the world.
Like with the freshly planted apple trees, eliminating human presence in the areas of mineral supplementation is key as it allows for a calm environment where the deer do not feel pressured. We try to get in, provide the minerals and leave without making too much noise. Right now this may not seem as though it is that big of a deal, however, during hunting season it will really begin to pay off. In hunting heavily pressured areas one of the most important things is to apply as little extra pressure as possible. Being smart in the woods now only leads to an increased chance of success come hunting season.
On a side not, while our last post was centered around our recent singing with Mossy Oak, Cody and I were both honored and privileged to meet the face of Realtree himself Michael Waddell a couple of weeks ago. On the way to a wedding in Martinsville (congrats Sallie!) we stopped at the grand opening of Gander Mountain in Roanoke. We had planned on stopping and just checking the place out and while we know Mr. Waddell would be there, we figured the chance of getting to see him was slim to none. Well, we were very lucky to pull in right beside a tent where he was just finishing up a talk. We were both able to get our picture taken and talk to Mr. Waddell for a couple minutes. A hilarious and classy guy, it was definitely very exciting for both of us. And, though we’re both Mossy Oak guys now, if you’ve somehow managed to miss Realtree Roadtrips on the Outdoor Channel thus far, I highly recommend checking it out.