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I want to help the deer to rebuild there body fat reserves after the rut and help the does and fawns through the winter. I have a clover plot that the deer have browsed to the ground. With the snow on it they haven't touched it. I also have a small turnip plot that they are tearing up, but I haven't seen any turnip bulbs as I might have planted it to thick. I have also put out corn and a bale of alfelfa. The guys at the feed mill said the deer will walk right by the corn to eat the alfelfa, but they have eaten all the corn and haven't touched the alfelfa at all. The corn was right beside the alfelfa so they know its there. The alfelfa was from this year and I broke the bail open and fluffed it up but still the haven't touched it. Whats going on? What else would be good to put out for them?

Thanks!
 

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Maybe try mixing in some soybeans into your corn or just strait beans. Only thing with beans is that they are another time in price but have more protein and fat then corn.
 

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I never seen a PA deer eat dry alfalfa. Our neighbor in the mountains used to take a big round bale and pour salt water all over it and then the deer would eat it. To me regular old corn is the best to feed. Dont put alot out at a time, just enough to give them something extra during the winter.
 

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Browse. Deer don't need to be fed to make it through the winter if the population is kept within the carrying capacity of the habitat. And so far this winter is not stressing wildlife at all. During the cold weather this week wildlife had no trouble moving to food sources, Cold for us isn't cold for them. I saw grouse, rabbits and deer on my walks this week. Tracks were everywhere. I spent a couple hours this afternoon performing TSI work. The deer will take advantage of the fresh browse tonight but it won't be the difference between starvation and a healthy deer.
 

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Corn will kill them if they haven't been eating it for several months prior.

Alfalfa bales they will only eat the tips and I mean 1/4" to 3/8" max. The rest of it will go untouched. Browse is the best if you can knock some trees over. It's kinda late in the season to be back peddaling on hood even tho you had some plots in. They are tough and as noted the season has been pretty mild thus far.
 

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Featherduster said:
Corn will kill them if they haven't been eating it for several months prior.

Alfalfa bales they will only eat the tips and I mean 1/4" to 3/8" max. The rest of it will go untouched. Browse is the best if you can knock some trees over. It's kinda late in the season to be back peddaling on hood even tho you had some plots in. They are tough and as noted the season has been pretty mild thus far.
Someone forgot to tell my deer that they are only supposed to eat the tips of the alfalfa. They do prefer the leaves and tips, but they'll eat the whole. We've been feeding alfalfa bales for 20 years and they have always ate everything we put out.
 

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Put a bail of hay out the last day of FL, hopefully going back up to camp soon so I'll see if the deer are eating it unless the elk find it.
 

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I understand that hunters think they are helping wildlife through artificial feeding. It's mostly feel good for us hunters. The wildlife doesn't need it. That doesn't mean they won't eat it, but they don't need it.
The concentration of wildlife can have 3 negative outcomes:
1) typically destroys the natural habitat in the area of the feeding
2) is a great set up for predators
3) the risk of spreading disease, which is a risk that seems to be increasing every year.
And for what? So we can feel better helping wildlife that doesn't even need our help. As habitat managers we are much better off ensuring our land is as productive as possible 12 months of the year. During the available seasons we should be working to bring the population down to the number the improving habitat can support.
If the wildlife truly needs the artificial feeding then there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed. At this time of year good forestry knowledge and a sharp chainsaw are the best tools available to habitat managers. Not only will this years activity produe browse, the stump sprouts next year will do the same. And the year after ...
 

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I think the best benefit you can do is add something with protein. If your going to spend money on feeding deer it minds well help them especially bucks. Wasting money on licks and "minerals" that contain mostly salt is completely pointless. I have never been a big fan of corn and many studies have been completed on the use so I wont go there. However, there are block out there that have the protein they need and help them get that little extra calories they need. This is all that supplemental feeding is all about
 

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At this time of year deer aren't looking for protein. That's for spring and early summer. Deer have survived for eons on their natural food supply and very little of it at this time of year contains high levels of protein. If there is a good acorn crop in your area the deer would be pawing through the snow feasting on the leftovers. Not much protein in acorns, but there are alot of calories.
 

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Knowing some people who feed deer, it is an emotional issue more than anything. They want to "help the deer". Do deer need help?
 

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Big Bear that is very interesting and is the first time I have ever heard of that. Not doubting you one bit. I had some folks who fed alfalfa bales for years in several PA co's and never had anyting other than the results I described. Do they eat all the stem or just a large portion of it? I know you said whole-- is that whole stem or whole bale?
 

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Featherduster said:
Big Bear that is very interesting and is the first time I have ever heard of that. Not doubting you one bit. I had some folks who fed alfalfa bales for years in several PA co's and never had anyting other than the results I described. Do they eat all the stem or just a large portion of it? I know you said whole-- is that whole stem or whole bale?
We buy the small bales for $3. We have to tear the bale apart or they won't touch it. They eat the whole stem, but opt for the leaves first. If there was a way to grind the whole bale up I'm sure they would devour it.
 

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10-4. We tore the bales apart and spread them out too but not ending up with your results.

Great advice Timber Pro. I just spent a week of crop tree release and every morning it looked like a party of deer were there overnight just hammering what I felled the day before. Tis the season...
 

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Spent a couple hours and a couple tanks of chainsaw gas cutting soft maple, striped maple and black birch growing among the red oak. Because it was in the understory most of it was in the 4-6 inch range. There were a few 8 inchers that will punch a hole in the sky. It's a continuation of a project I started 2 years ago. I found one red oak stem that had 3 good logs to the first branch. Just a beautiful tree.
I bet the deer were on those buds within an hour of my departure.
 
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