January 21, 2012 at 10:41am
Well, if you think about it anything that is not a deer COULD in some way effect your deer herd. Every acorn that a squirrel eats is one that a deer can not, and so on and so on. A bit dramatic I know, but thats what I am getting at.
Don't waste your time trying to hunt one bobcat just because it may have some effect on the deer. Sure he may have taken one or two fawns in his lifetime but nothing thats going to damage the entire herd. If you start seeing A LOT of bobcats then you may want to do something about it.
What you need to do is:
Step 1. Eliminate the hogs. Unlike my above squirrel dramatization, a large hog population actually can consume a majority of the natural forage and will cause YOUR deer to travel elsewhere in order to find food. Large boars will also sometimes kill young fawns.
Step 2. Eliminate all coyotes. I know you said you have not seen one and do not have any pictures of coyotes, but chances are you have plenty of them and chances are they are killing your deer. Try searching any sandy or muddy areas for dog tracks and set out a camera infront of a pile of dead meat. Coyotes don't pose for pictures over corn piles like deer & hogs do. If you find any coyotes at all, get a predator call and put in as much effort as it takes to eliminate every one of them.
Step 3. Talk to your neighbors. Find out if they are seeing deer and if they practice any type of deer herd management (or just play if its brown its down). If no one within miles of you is seeing deer, you may just want to find somewhere else to hunt. But if they are seeing deer and shooting everything they see then you need to make your land seem like a 'safe place' to the deer in your area by minimizing pressure.
Step 4. Feed all year. Plant summer plots and keep feeding the deer all year long. This of course only applies after Step 1 is complete.
Good luck. And remember, use your time wisely and concentrate on what is going to have the most impact.