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Deer feeding

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Ok guys, I don't know if any of you would agree with this or not, because I'm a little skeptical of it myself. Our club just recently had a professional from one of the colleges, (not gonna name which) come to our lease, he'd been working it for the past maybe year or so, he tells us how many deer in the heard are to be taken down, numbers wise that is, how many doe to kill ect ect. Trying to educate us on how to manage our lease so to say. Which for the past 10 years has been 6 point or better. Everyone in the club pitched in money to get this guy out here. Well anyways on to my point.This guy notices the bags of corn and rice bran on the 4 wheelers and begins to tell us that "Yall are screwing up, feeding those deer like that. Pouring feed on the ground or setting up feeders is not the way to go. I dont know who told the hunters this would bring deer in but they are wrong." Those were his exact words. Then he continues on and says "those deer are smarter than you think they are, and they know when something dont belong. They know that corn didnt magically appear. Sure you will have a couple that will eat it during daylight hours, thats just like humans theres always a couple dumb ones in the bunch. But what we are doing will force the deer to go nocturnal long before any hunting pressure would." Just a reminder, his words not mine. He continued with " If you insist on feeding the deer to bring them in especially here in Southern La you have to do it as naturally as possible, with a spring and summer food plot that will keep food in for them into the hunting season. Something you can have prepared long before the hunting season that you can keep out of during the hunting season and leave little or no human presence at all. You cant accomplish that by filling a feeder or dumping bags of corn, its impossible. Why do you think the majority of pictures over a pile of corn or at a feeder are at nite?" He concluded by telling us for next season in the spring to make small individual food plots with soy beans or clay peas, which once its down in the spring it will last theu summer, fall and well into hunting season, and you will not have to go into it and you wont have any human presense what so ever, the deer will feel its naturally there and they will feel safe. Set up a stand minimum of 100 yards away and hunt" And that was it. Wondering what you guys thoughts are? I kinda think it makes since, but still kinda need to be convinced because I've shot deer over my corn piles already. lol
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   JB
Before I start my rant, let me say that I do feed, I hate it, but I do it.
Now, feeding is the WORST thing you can do. Let me put it this way, if you have a cabinet full of food would you get in a car and drive around looking for something to eat? NO! Deer know where feeders and piles of food are at. All they have to do is stay bedded down until dark and hit the feeders all night long. When we put food out, we train deer to eat at night. They no longer have to walk around looking for which oak tree is dropping acorns.
We have been trying to get all of our members to stop feeding to no avail. The opinion is our deer will just leave and go to our neighbor's lease because they put out corn. THAT IS WRONG!!!!
The worst thing is, the only way to get people to stop feeding is to make it illegal. That will never happen because it has grown into too big of a business.
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   BangFlop
What he failed to mention is that just because they stay hidden during the day doesn't mean they aren't staying closer to you than they normally would. Which means that your success during the rut may be considerably higher where you keep feed and other treats than not simply because it keeps the does hanging around.
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I believe every word of it. If you hunt in piney Louisiana or east Texas woods. The hottest stand we have on our place right now has no feeder on it and the grass looks like it is mowed every day. In the plots with feeders close by the grass is hardly touched and the feeders have deer under them every NIGHT. That is what the cameras show. We will be changing things next year.
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   dubya-1
You got to be at the right place at the right time. A deer is gonna eat when it wants and were it wants to. I can tell you there are four does eating in my corn every day, when the rut hits, they will bring the big boys with them.
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   10_foe
Corn piles and feeders don't make the deer smarter. If they were smart they would realize they don't (except in certain parishes starting with the letters Liv...)get shot at night and they would just lay in thick cover all day. I do not believe deer have the ability to reason. If so, they would just latch onto that greenbriar and pull it down out of the tree rather than only eating the leaves 6 ft off the ground and moving on to the next one. What the feeding does is concentrate hunters in areas where deer are not comfortable in the daytime. Your biologist is dead on when he says deer know those feeders and piles do not attract deer because they are not natural. This being said, I feed the mess out of deer. The way I have learned to do it is take a sack of corn, or beans, and spread it around like it was coming out of a seeder. I might spread 50lbs over half an acre. I watch deer, mature deer, walk through and pick it up all day just like they do on hottest white oak on the place. I also see every now and then where I accidentally spilled a little pile while broadcasting. I watch deer walk up to piles as small as a baseball cap and eat everywhere but in that pile. I've put cameras out and watched the progression of deer activity in these areas. The stuff in the pile is always the absolute last thing they eat. In my opinion, the abundance of feeders and corn piles do not make deer smarter, they make hunters hunt in unnatural areas for normal deer activity. The food plots help a great deal. Another thing I have noticed in clubs that are changing approaches from feeders to plots is the reduction in the number of hogs. A hog would much rather be chomping down on a pile of corn. Many of the places I manage end up seeing more deer not only because the deer are eating more natural forage, but the hogs have a tendency to migrate towards areas with the easiest food source. Of course everyone knows those 2 stupid young does will come to your feeder every evening and for 2 weeks during the rut you have a good chance of seeing a buck checking on them. Ultimately it boils down to whether or not you want a better chance of killing more mature deer all season long, want to shoot a couple does during the early part of the season and hope a buck comes checking your feeder for does later in the season, or want to improve the overall health of your herd.
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We use feed, but I still find that the deer rather the natural vegetation in the woods. They really only hit the feed hard in the winter, when the vegetation is dead.
But it seems that if you just got a feeder that only feeds in day time then they would not be nocturnal. And it would have to be a trough feeder that opens and closes (wildgame innovations makes one). A standard feeder would still leave feed on the ground, so they could still remain nocturnal..Just my thoughts on the matter
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   JB
I don't agree with the "deer are gonna eat when they get hungry" analogy. Deer know that if they stand under a feeder during daylight, they will get shot at. When they stand under a feeder at night, they DON'T get shot at. We are conditioning the deer to lay up in a thicket all day and then move around at night to feed. While they are in that thicket, there is plenty of browse for them to munch on.
I also think deer do have some reasoning skills. When I was a kid 20 years ago, deer never looked up into the trees. Now, they look in trees more than they look straight ahead.

All that being said, it boils down to pressure. If I hunt a big piece of land and have a feeder up, I'm sure deer will come to it during the day. The problem lies in some leases, like mine, that are pressured. There are some places on my lease that from 4:00 - 4:30, you can hear 7 feeders go off! You can literally walk in any direction and come to a feeder or pile of food every 300-400 yards. When food is that abundant, ALL THE TIME, what would make a deer move during times of danger (daylight) outside of the rut?
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   bigjim
Here is my experience from being around feeding and non feeding for many many years. Take from my experience what you want but I have nearly perfected this to a T. This is from 4 different leases over nearly 20 years and observation of many people feeding with many methods. When a timed feeder is used and is not hunted directly but rather used to give the deer a little supplement on their natural travel corridor it works wonderful and zero nocturnal deer because if they don't get there right at feed time they don't have a shot at getting any feed. Now were talking a feeder with no stand within 300 yards of it but monitored by cameras a few times a year. These feeders were set on only 4 or 5 seconds as not to make lazy deer rather just keep them on the property but let them earn most of their living browsing. These feeders are also visited by humans only about three times the whole season just to make sure they are still operating so very low human pressure in the area, (must have a really dependable setup). The worst scenario I've seen is throwing large quantities of feed whether piled or on the ground in an area close to the bedding area. Every time this occurred the deer simply congregated in the thicket and showed up at close to dark then after one or two human contacts became almost 100% nocturnal. The bigger problem here is a large portion of the herd congregated at this site in this manner therefore significantly reducing normal travel patterns therefore hampering sightings for everyone else on the rest of the lease because the majority of the deer were bedded next to the hundred pounds thrown out very friday afternoon. There is an exception to this last rule, in places with high deer densities where deer are struggling to find enough food or a lot of competition because of so many deer the deer seem to respond much better to feed. Best scenario if you want to feed, if a property has an absolute defined bedding area and feed can be placed far away and I'm talking at least 800 yards or further if possible across open woods or sage grass fields then you create a great travel pattern because the deer will start browsing and mingling to get to the feed after dark and you can hunt them on trails without ever disturbing feeding or bedding site and you can hunt them on trails close to the bedding area in the morning heading back to bed. You can use this same scenario with phenomenal results to hunt natural food sources on many of the WMA's, refuges and forest lands throughout the state and country. The further the feed is from a deers bed the greater chance you have of them coming out early to get to feed just after dark and you significantly increase the chance of him running late to get to the bed leaving you in the drivers seat if you've done your homework and know what trail he uses to return home. This is not a simple drive up on the 4 wheeler and throw a sack of corn on the groung then come back the next day and shoot a deer eating the corn but rather a complex homework required plan of understanding a deers total pattern from bed to feed and back to bed which usually resembles an elipse and is usually at least a half mile to a mile and a half in each direction unless artificially reduced by feed or barriers.
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Fellas,

Most of you know I feed ALOT of deer in my backyard. From my experience, NOTHING drives a deers behavior more than the desire to stay alive...IE not get blown away.

I was seeing 20+ deer a day in my yard prior to OCT 1., now Im lucky to see 1 deer a week...
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   shootinem
All I know is, that what the guy said does make sense to me, and because of what he said I got a phone call last nite from the club president who called a meeting for right after the season to get everyones opinion and for us to vote on if we want to stop feeding and go strictly to food plots, no feeders at all and no piled corn soybean or rice bran. I honestly have to say that I'm going to vote to do away with feeders and go to food plots. To say that deer can't reason doesn't make sense to me I'm sorry any animal with a brain and the ability to think can and does understand reason. Look at it this way, If you walk down the hallway of your home everyday for a year, wait lets go with just one month. Not even a year. Walk down everyday for a month, dont you think you'll notice if your wife hangs a picture up in that hallway? I believe deer have the same method of reason, if they walk a trail, field, or road everyday for a month because its there routine method of travel, they are going to notice that feeder suddenly on side of that trail. C'MON MAN!!! I believe they are also going to realize that it doesnt belong there and they are going to be very careful approaching it. Therfore coming during the safety of nite. Now like I mentioned in my post, I have shot deer eating on my pile of corn already yes. But after thinking about it I've also shot more deer hunting a stand that didn't have piles of corn, because the club I was in at the time didn't allow it. Those deer were shot traveling to the oak trees. So hmmmm. The more I think about it, the more sense this guy made!!
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Several years ago, I hunted in a lease off Highway 10 in St. Helena Parish that was almost exclusively pine plantations (there were a few thin hardwood bottoms). Everyone fed like mad. My buddy and I would take a bag of corn each and scatter 40 pounds under out stands every Friday.

The club began to discuss ending feeding, and I asked Dave Moreland (remember him?? former state deer study leader???? LouisianaSportsman.com blogger????) to come do a browse survey of the lease. He came up, conducted the survey and then we talked a bit.

When I asked if we should stop feeding, he chuckled and said, "Only if you don't want to see deer."

He said in certain situations (i.e., predominantly pine plantations), deer can simply get everything they need (food, sex) in the plantations without coming out when hunting pressure mounts.

The lease I'm in right now is a 500-acre piece of property with only a couple of hardwood bottoms. The rest is pine plantations. We feed, but this year we've modified the feeders to come on only in the morning and only for a few seconds. We've got probably 20 feeders on the property, but each one scatters only a couple of handsful of corn.

This way, the deer can't wait until the evening to come out because if they do the birds and chipmunks will eat all of the corn. We've already had four deer killed and several missed, and last year there were only five deer killed the entire season. So this modified feeding plan seems to have worked.

And the interesting thing is every deer has been killed at a corn feeder: Not one deer has been seen in the hardwood bottom, which does have some acorns down. Weird.

Now, when acorns are thick on the ground, my experience has been that the corn feeders go dead. The deer are absolutely going to choose acorns over corn, so I don't think you can completely change their feeding patterns. At least in my experience.

Again, that's just my experience.
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I don't think feeding deer is the problem its the constant riding of ATVs back and forth to check and refill feeders.

Nothing scares deer more than bad scent management or ATV traffic. We have a strict policy of no atvs except for recovery and it works like a champ. Also If the wind isn't right to move into a area to hunt then don't go you are doing more damage than good by educating deer to your movements Does will tollerate it but fews older Bucks will not they will go nocturnal or move out if pressured.

Remember one thing if you do not see deer while hunting dont think they are not there they probably have detected you and side steped you.

Feeding deer will keep them in your area You and the sounds and scents you leave behind scare the deer!

Thats my 2 cents worth
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   BangFlop
"...if we want to stop feeding and go strictly to food plots,.." Thats funny.

Andy, I do the opposite. I set my feeders to spin for 2 seconds in the morning, and 8 seconds in the evening. Reason being is that where I hunt deer(and pigs) do not come to a feeder in the daylight. I got tired of fattening up cardinals and squirrels.

I think it might be different on larger clubs with an active management plan that allows does, yearlings and the majority of bucks to become somewhat tame by not associating the smell of a hunter with the crack of a rifle. But thats another issue altogether.
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I agree 100% with your professional. And as for the pines with Oak bottoms, the deer aren't being killed in there because of the feeders. If there were no feeders, it seems like all of the feeding would be there and you would see a lot of deer. They have to get up and feed about every 4 hours and if they cant find much in the pines they will be in the oaks.
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Change of subject, but someone commented on ATV traffic. I think that really depends on where you hunt. I hunt in an area surrounded by farmland. The deer are used to ATV traffic, and barely give a second thought to ATV's. One guy in our club killed an 8-point sniffing his ATV. They are so used to seeing, hearing, and smelling ATV's, trucks, and tractors that they don't associate them with danger.
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   sako11
At one time we had 7 large feeders on 350 acres and deer movement on our food plots were slow.We removed the feeders and activity increased quite a bit,especially in the afternoon.However we still put out rice bran and corn on the cob at certain times and places on the property.When acorns are falling you can forget about any other food source,they are gonna be after acorns.After acorns are gone deer eat a variety of foods.Deer are browsers,taste here and a taste there.Taking away feeders is a good thing,but if your neighbors are feeding, they could draw the deer from you.I find good quality food plots in early summer and fall makes a difference, and don't shoot your does on the food plots.One more thing is they say deer will eat at nite if you feed them, what about food plots,they can eat that at nite also.Its all about pressure,scent and how much you leave it in the woods.Its a on going battle.We also use golf carts and walk to our stands.
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   REBBEER
Do any of you believe deer can get accustomed to gun fire? The land I hunt is right next to the Lincoln Parish Sheriff's Shooting range. The deer hear gunshots all the time. We're also near the interstate and from my stand I hear cars, sirens, 18 wheeler horns, and jake braking all day long. I really think this helps make the deer immune(for lack of a better word) to strange noises. I've taken long shots at deer and missed only to have them come right back out 5 minutes later. I also seen my uncle shoot 5 times at deer 400 yards away and they never run off. I believe the shooting range next door was the reason.
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   Guy L
I am a little embarrassed to say it, but I hunt the marsh, where we shoot at ducks all morning long during the season. Once or twice a year, I'll set up on the levee if I see good deer tracks. A couple years back, I set up on a nice trail. A doe came out and followed the trail like a train on a track. I took a shot at about 25 yds with a slug and sailed it over her shoulder. She stopped, looked around, then calmly continued down the trail. I took a second shot when she was at 15 yds and dropped her. I really believe that having the duck hunters shooting all the time and putting noise/scent all over the marsh got this deer real complacent, and that's why I killed her.
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   ambusher
Ok this guy knows what he is talking about. I have heard other people talk about nocturnal and again this week the subject was brought up. On a buddys least that I hunt, we have large antlered deer on cameras at night but rarely or not at all do we see them in the day time hours. I do believe this nocturnal affect on deer heards -- just my opinion.
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I have never seen a mature buck at a feeder during daylight hours or heard of anyone I know killing a mature buck at a feeder during daylight. I have seen them come to corn spread out on the ground. But I found after a few weeks in the same spot once the deer know its coming, even the does go nocternal. I don't like to feed, but I guess it keeps the deer in the area until rut. I'm thinking about sticking my feeder in in the middle of my area & never hunting it (keep it quite) & back off 200 yards with the wind right & catch them coming to & from.
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   cullin

It isn't about shooting the "Big Buck" under a feeder or eating corn. When you feed or when I feed I am trying to attract tons of does to the area. I want them coming in regularly and feeling comfortable at the feeder so they hang around for the rut. You can NEVER have too many hot does around you!!!
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   REBBEER
Don't you think if you keep the feeder going year round, the deer will get used to it. After it's been there several years, it will have been there longer than most of the deer have been alive and they will think it is natural. Just a thought.
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That's what I said in my comment. "I don't like to feed, but I guess it keeps the deer in the area until rut."

But at the end of the day I'm tryin to kill a wall hanger & I won't do it at a feeder even during rut, maybe he'll step out 100yfrom the feeder if i have a lane near by, but he ain't coming near that feeder. I agree it keeps the does there & the bucks won't be far that's the ONLY benifit of a feeder, but I still have to catch him a certain distance away from the feeder.
I'm really startin to beileve LA would be better off outlawing feeders, like Miss. It sure don't hurt there deer huntin!
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Here is an approximate time line from my old club on how the deer herd responded to our management practices:
1969 - 1980 - very few deer
1980 - 1985 - did some timber thinning to create more natural browse, deer herd increased
1985 - 1990 - continued thinning practices where necessary, shot 8 points or better, deer hunting by 1990 was very good
1990 - 1995 - began the first use of a few spin feeders, saw does near them and some small bucks, deer hunting still good
1996 - 2000 - made a decision to use spin feeders and begin using trough feeders, I would guess 1995 - 1997 were the best years the club had ever seen, the extreme amounts of feed we put out began around 1996
2001 - began seeing fewer deer, but still had the population
2003 - saw very few deer, and still had near the same population estimates as in the 90s

Just for clarity as everyone's definition of good hunt varies, I went from seeing 10 - 15 deer a weekend when we were first beginning to feed to seeing 10 deer a hunting season from 2001 - 2006. And again, the population estimates from browse and camera surveys were similar for both time frames.

My intent was not to give any opinion as I, like everyone else, has pondered this question for years, all I know is feeding was the only variable in our club that I am aware of which changed significantly.
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I would have to say that I have not known anyone that killed a wallhanger while it was eating at a feeder in LA but I killed one chasing a doe that was running within 20 yards of one. That being said, I don't have a feeder hanging at this time. Of course the 80 acres I hunt has about 50 - 100 mature white oak trees on it and we actually had acorns this year. I have seen corn sprouting on the ground under feeders when the white oaks are putting out. As far as keeping the does around, the feeders probably do help some, but it doesn't take too much education to have them coming at night. I used to hunt some private property where the owner didn't allow us to shoot does. It was not unheard of to see 4-5 or as many as 8-10 does around a feeder when it went off in the afternoon. I even recall one time when a deer was actually standing under the feeder waiting for it to go off and it stuck its tongue out to catch corn in the air when it did. That's training there. After seeing so many does the guy finally decided to let us shoot 1 doe per family, about 4 or 5. After a couple of caps were busted at them, the meeting at the feeder broke up and you would only see 1 or 2 at the most from then on and then not everyday. During all the times we were seeing crowds of deer for several years, no large antlered deer were ever killed at one of these feeders. So maybe there is something to this. I was told by someone that a LA WLF biologist told them that deer can starve to death with a full belly of corn because there is not enough nutrition in it to make it worth feeding. I think good food plots make the most sense, but I'm just like everyone and don't have, or should I say more accurately, take the time to do it right. So I guess the feeders or just pouring it on the ground is the simplest way.
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Aren't food plots available 24 hours a day? Aren't Acorns available 24 hours a day? Wouldn't the deer be just as prone to use them at night once the knew they were being hunted just like with a feeder? So the reasoning that feeders make deer nocturnal doesn't add up. I think the key is pressure. Someone is more likely to sit there and hunt every hunt over a feeder, instead of moving around searching for where the deer are, thus turning that "spot" into something the deer relate to humans and danger.... not the feeder, but the fact that human scent is on it 24-7. Look at all the pics you get of bucks during daylight before the season starts, then about 2 weeks into the season its all Nighttime. They know when they are being hunted......until they need to get them Some! Then you can get you SOME!! Good Luck guys!!
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   REBBEER
This is a very interesting debate. It's kinda like the robo ducks with duck hunting. You almost have to use them because everyone else is. If they banned feeder, it would even the playing field, but until then I'll leave one out.
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   TP
Sako11, I see you post not to shoot does on foodplots. I've heard that before but no one has been able to give me a plausible explanation why. Not knocking your post. I am just curious as to the reason behind the advice.
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when the doe feel comfort around the food plots and aren't shot they will usually give birth very close to them...ive been hunting and I will only take a doe early in the season not late because once the rut starts one doe equals two to tree deer that aren't going to be there next season
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   jacomo
I disagree completely with the theory of shooting a doe early in the season. Whether you shoot it early or late it will not have a fawn in the spring. Plus having more does around during the rut increases your chances of seeing a buck during breeding. In other words use the does in the area as a natural attractant. If you take that same doe after the rut it increases food supply for bucks in that area therefore keeping them around.
I hunted the marsh this weekend south of New Iberia and watched a buck run off 5 does from an area he was grazing in. Seemed like he wanted nothing to do with them, in fact it seemed as though he wanted them out of his territory. All 5 does walked into this particular spot and all 5 ran out as if getting shot at. The rut has been over for quite some time in that area. Wouldn't now be a perfect time to shoot a doe?
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   Guy L
Hey Jacomo--I hunt the marsh south of Erath and haven't seen much deer sign at all. Send some of those frightened does my way please!!!
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   jacomo
Oh and to add on the feeding debate...
The guys who hunt out there regularly do not feed at what they consider to be deer stands. They have feeders at what they consider hot hog areas. Not they they don't see deer at these stands but they are few and far between. Feeding where there are hogs will definitely attract hogs and run off deer.
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The more does you have the LESS chance you have of seeing a buck during the rut. If there are 10-15 does for every buck do you really think the bucks are going to pick does out in the open?? All those places that charge money to kill huge deer have bucks running around like crazy because they shoot every doe they see- Im not talking about fenced property either. If you want to see a real rut and some bucks you didnt know were there shoot as many does as you can. When you kill off a noticeable number of does the food gets better. Better nutrition=less energy put to gaining body weight and more to antler growth. I know most anti doe shooters think they need does to have babies but if your not on fenced land and you make a low density of does by shooting them, your land will have more food and pull deer from other places- so next year you have just as many deer as you would not shooting does.
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   jacomo
I see your point shootinem but I am not saying don't shoot does, I am saying it is better to wait. During the rut the bucks aren't too worried about food anyway. They have dropped velvet so their antlers are at their max for that year. Nutrition is not all that important at the time. If you had to pick a better time between pre rut and post rut I would argue that it is better post rut when the bucks are more actively seeking food.
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   kade9699
i agree, shoot does early. if you wait until post rut you have a pretty good chance of shooting a pregnant doe. (it just don't seem right) the best time to shoot does is right after they wean there yearlings. the less does you have the more bucks you see. the best scenario is a 1 to 1 ratio. its a proven fact
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Deer dont go nocturnal down here, they ARE nocturnal.

I say Bait, bait and bait. Just enough bait, they know it means death is near. Bait ALOT, Bait OFTEN, and use the RIGHT bait will help.

Bait YEAR round. Bait in the middle, hunt the outers..

Then when you baited, bait again.
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   hunt r
Madetogo is right, deer are crepuscular animals. Nothing but the rut will bring mature bucks out in the daytime. In 15yrs. of hunting on this place in Tensas parish, 90% of our big bucks were seen within 10min. of last light.
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   CYPRESS1
Prior to this season we have baited all season long with limited results. This season as of Oct 31 we stopped all supplemenatl feeding/bait/attractants, results are we have seen more deer this season than the past 2? We are having allot mor winter like temps during the season that the past 2 also. We plant summer food plots and supplemental feed during the spring and summer. Another factor is that there's much less human presence in the hunting areas even though our feeders are not on food plots. All I can contribute is what I mentioned above, we've taken 3 quality bucks on food plots PRIOR to total darkness with 6 total hunters.
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   BangFlop
The shooting does early argument doesn't hold much water. Whether she's killed in October or January most does would have produced a fawn or two next summer. If you're worried about killing breeders just wait till the spots go away and shoot some yearlings. All they're going to do is eat and take up space for another year.
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   sako11
We find that if we don't shoot our does on food plots, they feel safe to come out to feed.Food plots is one of the the easiest place to shoot a doe.This increases the chance of bucks cruising the food plots looking for does in heat.Then you can hunt inside the woods around the food plots for cruising bucks.Plus once you shoot some does on a food plot,they get nervous to show themselves again.Again this is just how we do it where we hunt, just my opinion.Also we see more of our deer in the mornings then the evening, I haven't figured out that one yet.
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   TP
Makes sense
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You are absolutely right. We shoot our does up until Thanksgiving weekend, then they are off limits on food plots from then on out. We lost a piece of property last year. I just heard that the new guys are riding 4wheelers all over the place. Shooting Does every time they step out on the plots, and then they had the nerve to call us last week and ask us why they aren't seeing deer like they "heard" we used too!! haha I hope they are getting their money's worth for out bidding us.
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   cullin

I haven't seen Mature bucks eating out of a feeder at my club here in LA.... nor has someone killed one at a feeder. I killed a "Mature" buck at a feeder at a friends place in Scooba, MS then 45 minutes later after I shot, my friend got on the stand and he shot one out of the same stand. It is private land about 6000 acres with zero pressure.

You can kill big bucks at feeders.......a buck can be "Big" without being "Mature."
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   Copehagen
Talked to some people that have a club in area six two years ago, said they split the lease into two zones north & south. Similar habitat in both zones, one zone they allowed feeding one zone nothing. Zone that didn't allow feeding had more sightings and more kills. Guess what they stopped feeding.

Here is everything I've seen done at some of the really good places I've hunted.

One (No Feeders during the season), however supplemental feeding is done year around outside of hunting season.

All work on the club is done before September 1 and then teh woods are to remain silent until season opens in Oct.

Stay on the does, they don't shoot everyone they see but they shoot a bunch of them. Does are not taken on food plots, are taken only on certain stands, or taken after the rut.

Some type of antler restriction most go with 8 and 15 inch wide. I think 4 on one side would work.

Max hunter density is 1 man for every 100 acres, better to have it 1 man for every 200 acres. So 1,000 acre lease should have no more than 10 hunters on it max at any one time with the more ideal situation being around 5, but 10 will get you there if everyone is legitimately on the same page.

Work on the lease is done year around except Sept through end of deer season, this helps deer get somewhat used to having people around and helps deer to understand that human presence doesn't automatically mean danger, but for most of the year means food.

The only Good places I've been on that were run differently were in Texas but Texas is the promised land and what works there is different than what works here mainly because of pressure.

You have to remember most of the clubs in Area Six are probably running 1 man for every 50 acres or less, so the pressure is just too much. Top it off the woods stay quiet for most of the year and then all of sudden after labor day there is a huge spike and then boom here come the long guns. So the deer have tied activity in the woods to the arrival of the death squads. So they go straight up nocturnal and hang close to easy food like big piles of corn, beans, or whatever where they can lay up all day while theres a member of the orange army within 50 acres or less of them and wait till dark and then hit the bait pile circuit. The same thing will happen on a club with too much pressure with food plots as club members will simply not see any daylight activity or very little activity if theres too much pressure in the area and if its brown its down mentality is reining supreme. Yet the food plot will like its been hit with a giant weedeater.

Bottom line and someone said it before its pressure and with the amount of hunters we have in an around Area Six and the amount of available land the current scenario of too much pressure is likely not going to change.
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   Leslie G
I think the food plot is the way to go. I hunt in Mississippi and the food plots work for us. I guy thinks corn is better but he has not killed one yet this year over his corn .
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   Don T
I didn't start feeding until 2004. Before then we would see 60 to 80 deer per season on 45 acres. Through a process of trial and error that is constantly adjusted we are now seeing 300 to 500 sightings per season. This year we are at 182 without hunting since November 12th. There have been 12 2.5 to 3.5 year old bucks seen so far this year with three of them been taken by bow.

Feeding does not turn them nocturnal. Over feeding turns them nocturnal in combination with hunting pressure. What works for me may not work for you (meaning different areas of the state) I also supplement with sring and fall plots, and mineral licks.

One thing I have learned is that with deer, you cannot say this always works or happens or it never does. They will teach you where you go wrong all you have to do is pay attention.

As far as shooting does early, I do not. We have late fawning and the fawns are usually losing their spots around the beginning of rifle season. The year we hammered them early was followed by a year with very many short spikes. The fawns stayed but were now totally nurished by their mother. I prefer the let the natural recruitment by dispersal fill in the bucks.
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I have been feeding for years but I do beleive it causes more nocturnal activity. Deer do not get up and browse as much when feeders are scattered all over the woods. I would prefer eliminating corn, rice bran, beans, pettets and such but it would need to be by parish or statewide. I do use feed because everyone around me does it. If we could get everyone to stop then I feel we would see more daytime activity (dawn and dusk) as the deer would need to move more to feed. Until then, I have to do as the others..........

Also, I agree with the others. Pressure is the other culprit. Reduce the number of hunters, increases price though, and the deer be less pressured. Keep the daytime activy down by not putting corn out daily and not checking cameras daily. Reduce 4 wheeler activity to deer retreival and to fill a feeder only after is is out. Unfortunately, my club doesn't follow these rules so I do as they do.

The only deer that I have killed at a feeder or at corn are does. My son has taken a spike but no rack deer at a feeder.
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