Nutrient requirements and needs change throughout the year. It can be different from year to year due to a variety of reasons. Weather conditions, for example, is one driving factor. Feeding requirements will increase if you are in a drought period with little to no moisture and high temperatures. Another factor is the reproductive time of the year, or the rut. Nutrient requirements will definitely increase during this time of year as well as energy requirements. Food plots are very important, but sometimes they just aren’t enough depending on conditions. A good supplemental feeding program can help mitigate these stress periods and allow your herd to thrive. We do not consider corn a supplemental feed. A good supplemental feeding program is much more detailed than that. It is feeding specific products at specific times for specific purposes. Below we have outlined what we believe is a good all-around guide for your feeding program. Bottom line, your natural habitat cannot support optimum levels of deer numbers and quality. A supplemental feeding program is a must if your desire is to create a habitat that supports and sustains a healthy herd and more mature bucks.
JANUARY THROUGH MARCH
We strongly recommend feeding your herd throughout the Fall and Winter months if you plan to feed during this time period. Introducing a high-grain diet during cold, stressful periods can be detrimental to a deer’s digestive system. Nutrients and energy are crucial during this period, but not if it causes health issues to your herd. Implementing a year-round feeding program does away with this issue and creates a much healthier and higher quality herd.
APRIL THROUGH AUGUST
The Spring and Summer months are crucial to bucks, does, and fawns. This time of year is when bucks are actively growing their antlers, and the does are raising their fawns. We highly recommend feeding a high protein feed like our ProteinPlus, BuckTrio, or FlameKissed products during this time period. These feeds are also fortified with vitamins and minerals, which is also crucial, however, we also recommend that you supplement the vitamins and minerals with our LickNGro mineral products. The right amount of protein is totally dependent on the weather conditions at that time. That is why we suggest ProteinPlus, BuckTrio, or FlameKissed. These products have a good average protein level that should be appropriate throughout this time of the year, regardless of weather conditions. We use BuckTrio to wean the deer off of attractants and to get them transitioned over to protein. After they have been transitioned, we then swap over to ProteinPlus or FlameKissed products for the remainder of this feeding period. Flamekissed products can also be a good transitional feed as well.
SEPTEMBER THROUGH DECEMBER
First of all, always check your local and state laws before implementing a feeding program, especially during your hunting season. The goal of feeding during this period is to build fat and energy to get them through the rut and harsh cold conditions. Food plots are very important during this time period as well. Natural mast and browse help with this as well, but it doesn’t put the deer where you want them to be! We typically feed BuckRobber, Sweet Stuff, and GameChanger during this time period to put some fat on them and to pattern the bucks to better our harvest success. It is crucial, especially during and after the rut, to keep a steady supply of fat, protein, and carbs available for the bucks and does to sustain and recover.
We hope this helps you better understand and plan out your feeding program for your herd. For more information, please feel free to reach out to us and tune into The Testing Grounds to see how we are managing our feeding program on our place!