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Helping deer over winter.....

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Got some choices....
1) do something in reaction to lot of snow & ice. That’s what I’m doing here
2) prepare for bad winters with ample food & lots of natural browse - probably best approach
3) do nothing - “deer are built to survive”. & some merit to that. Though- they will see high stress levels that in some cases can & do kill them.
4) make a “mistake”.... go throw out piles of corn to deer that haven’t recently eaten corn if none is nearby & can’t properly digest it. Can sicken or even kill them. If local corn they have picked through- be just fine.

My pick is #1 & #2. Natural browse has been enhanced greatly on the farm. Left lots of varieties of food I am bringing out a few alfalfa bales & spreading. Last- im aggressively finishing TSI - RIGHT NOW.... knocking those junk trees down is perfect browse for all those buds. I actually got them cut & knocked down with the chainsaw in this cold weather. Day later they are all on the buds. That’s a solid solution!!!
Here’s a special delivery - alfalfa bales. Not horribly costly. thoughts on what to do or not to do???

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Farm boy

Member
Winter can be brutal on deer especially when you get deep snow and the cold just hangs right in there, but they are
Extremely tough animals and are survivalist.
I really like the idea 2 of creating natural brows for them.
Agree with your number 4 that's a absolute no no to start doing, you would be harming them more.


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ReinertsonTaxidermy

Well-Known Member
I made it a point to grow and leave natural browse on my land instead of corn piles in the dead of winter. It’s been even better during these tough conditions I’ve noticed. I do live in a highly managed neighborhood so they might be eating grain other times of the day, but they browse like crazy here. Seeing 30plus deer from 1pm to dark out my window every day.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Tsi to start dam ph.

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If u can make it out.... u will be cold for 30 seconds .... getting out of vehicle and starting saws. Within 5 mins, im sweating. I drank a gallon of water yesterday. I did dress super warm cause so cold BUT - the cold lasted matter of minutes and I was roasting hot. Super cold & chainsaw work are maybe the only 2 things that go well together.
With this weather- it’s wild to see them eat the buds u tip over in matter of hours. I’ll snap some pics... tip tree over.... come back next day and looks like herd of deer stripped clean. Thankfully I been taking down tons of junk trees so lots of food.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Been putting out 3rd cutting alphalfa with a little corn tossed over top. For around a month now .


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So- u break up the alfalfa from bales and then mix some corn in? Those deer have to be doing WAY BETTER than some other areas.
 

Wi transplant

PMA Member
Yes we separate a bale into about 10 flakes/slabs and put out about 5 or 6 " feeding spots" then spread about 2 gallon of corn over whole area. Daily. It reduces stress buy separating deer . Get best fine stem alphalfa /no grass bales you can . Deer don't eat grass!! They clean up every day!

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Hardwood11

It is going to be a good fall!
I don’t know how it compares to past Iowa winters, but I doubt it will impact many deer as far as survival ? Anyone think otherwise?
 

Hawk32

Active Member
Saw a dead one laying out in the field where they have been feeding lately this morning that wasn't there yesterday evening. Could have been hit by car I guess but never seen one hit there before.
 

crietveld

Active Member
I think it will be hard on them in my neighborhood. The snow is hard and crusted underneath, 1-2 foot deep in most places. All the corn fields around me were tilled under this fall so the deer have been hammering the few alfalfa fields or browsing in the timbers. I could see some does not carrying fawns to term due to lack of nutrition.

I have been feeding corn since late december and have deer coming from close to a mile away to eat. I also have a huge flock of cardinals hanging around my corn pile.
 

Daver

PMA Member
I think it will be hard on them in my neighborhood. The snow is hard and crusted underneath, 1-2 foot deep in most places. All the corn fields around me were tilled under this fall so the deer have been hammering the few alfalfa fields or browsing in the timbers. I could see some does not carrying fawns to term due to lack of nutrition.

I have been feeding corn since late december and have deer coming from close to a mile away to eat. I also have a huge flock of cardinals hanging around my corn pile.
I too see enough ice to be concerned with some, probably limited, winter kill.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
TODAY!!!! :)
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old growth from previous tsi. Forest is full of browse. Can tell it was eaten hard. Can go from 100-200 lbs of natural browse per acre (sad) to 2,000-3,000 lbs when managed right.
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Farm boy

Member
We probably have way more snow than most anybody else being about 16 mi from lake Michigan.
We get a lot of lake effect snow accumulation

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Hardwood11

It is going to be a good fall!
Just FYI, Minnesota does a winter severity index to determine how deer are doing in Minnesota. It has to be combo of cold temps and deep snow to make it severe (the number usually hits like 130+ for it to be considered severe (don't quote my exact number). There is not one area that is even at 50 right now.

How Iowa determines the severity I do not know, but my guess is that most deer will make it no problem. But if you can help, with hay, beans or corn, cutting down a few trees, etc... Good idea

*Iowa deer might be more susceptible to a tough winter, I am not sure?
 

203ntyp

PMA Member
Deer are still getting around here unlike 1994 when they herded up in deep snow for a couple months. Found several dead that spring near the yarding areas in which the ground was covered with droppings like barnyard and no browse left in a 70 square yard area.

I put out some alfalfa and corn and they hit that daily but my target buck rarely passes through or eats there.

I have a small orchard (8 trees) that I'm going to do some serious trimming on, apples and pears, in the next week or so. The last time I trimmed them in February two years ago and spread out the limbs and branches they were on it immediately. Better for them this time of year so Skip has the right idea to give them natural browse if you can.
 

Daver

PMA Member
I just love Iowa whitetail and I really love this post that you started here skip.
It really makes a person think outside of the box.
my deer have been digging for the food I just exposed it.... smorgasbord tonight


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Your pictures reminded me...last weekend I took the tractor out in one of my fields and just drove around in circles to break the ice crust up below and make it easier for wildlife to get through the snow/ice to get to the clover/rye. You did an even better job of clearing the deck, good going.
 
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