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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone make their own deer feeders? I know there is a growing concern now about CWD, but does anyone put anything out after the season? Buckola, corn anything? We have food plots but wanted to put more out there

We used to put corn out all winter long but I heard over the weekend that corn is not good for a deers digestive system during the winter months because they become apt to eating sticks, bark and fallen tree tops. Any truth to that?
 

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Its a little more expensive but any cattle (dairy) pellet in a 50lbs bag with high carbs would be excellent for the winter. There is not much of a need for high protein until around March. I bet you could get some for about $6-8/BAG.
 

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Skip the corn and the salt licks and add something that is actually helping your deer. I agree the deer do not really need protein right now but thats all we put out. Obviously your the deer dr but we usually just put the deer blocks out from tractor supply or any name brand with high protein. Buy them early and often as they usually sell out come spring.
 

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Yep, I feed the deer all winter long. Right after the season is over I start my chain saw up and cut low wildlife value trees. This winter they will appreciate the browse and for the next several years they'll take advantage of the stump sprouts.
I primarily cut soft maple. I also do some aspen regeneration cuts. In some areas I'm releasing soft mast trees and shrubs. In other areas I'm clearing low quality, understocked areas of forest.
In some places I'm aggressively working to create small game habitat. I'll cut and tree that isn't a nut or fruit bearer.
I don't "buy" any food, but I do try to provide it.
 

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Before you decide to feed your deer corn or anything else out of a bag, take a look at these PGC links...

http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/lib/pgc/deer/pdf/feeding_deer.pdf

http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/lib/pgc/deer/pdf/winter_feeding.pdf


I used to go the corn route, it was real expensive feeding over 400 pounds of corn per week! Once you start you can't stop, you gotta feed til spring green up or you will really do more harm than good... If you don't feed enough, only the bigger deer get the food and the little ones, the ones most likely to starve never get the food.

Now I do what HomeintheWoods does... Break out the chainsaw, find the crap on your property and cut it down. I do a lot of hinge cuts. Mostly red and sugar maple, but do cut up some deformed oaks, sassafras and others. The deer relish the tops and their stomach microbe communities that digest their food don't get all screwed up!
 

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A good field guide to Trees can also be helpful... That or major in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State like I did, they require you to take dendrology, makes it easy to identify trees then!
 

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Most properties would have 80%+ made up of less than 10 tree species. For mine it's Red oak, soft maple, ash, chestnut oak, white pine, hard maple, white oak, aspen, hophornbeam and hickory. Clearly many other species are present like apple, pear, juneberry, basswood, hemlock, cherry, spruce, black and white birch, beech, walnut, striped maple, scotch pine, etc.
Anyway, a landowner should certainly know his top 5 species by volume and their wildlife value. For me, unless a soft maple has great growth characteristics and is well located it's life expectancy is driven by when I'll be near it with a gassed up sharp chain saw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
HomeintheWoods said:
unless a soft maple has great growth characteristics and is well located it's life expectancy is driven by when I'll be near it with a gassed up sharp chain saw.

One could then say those characteristics are directly proportional to the moment the chainsaw will be applied.

I have spent quite a bit of time in the woods since I could walk and can identify easily recognizable species but over the last year or so I have become pretty interested in being able to identify more and more accurately. I have been reading more and more and hope to eventually become more efficient with that. Civil Engineering degrees dont learn ya that.
 

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Do you guys chop the whole tree down or just cut some branches at a time?Sounds like a very good idea and I may give it a try this winter.
 

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Generally cut the whole tree down, but providing browse is only part of the equasion. Many of the guys that are doing browse cuts have another goal of improving thier woodlot at the same time. It just makes sence to do it in the winter when deer need the browse and the cut trees will sprout more vigerously the following summer.

Make sure you are prepared before you start cutting. If you are new to forest management I would recommend getting someone qualified in there to help you out. You can do a lot of damage to the future of the woodlot if you don't know what you are doing. Things like species, spacing, aspect, soils.. need to be factored in.
 

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I can't wait for chainsaw season...
, hope the snow pack let's me get back to where I want to go. Ready to trade in the orange coat for my orange saw chaps.

After a bit of a frustrating year of hunting, I need to get back to what makes me happiest up there and that is helping the survivors survive.
 

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I wonder how many pounds of browse a certain tree size provides? The average deer eats about 4-5 pounds of feed per day in the winter months... When you think about it, you really gotta cut a ton of trees to feed the deer! I found about 20 18-22" DBH red maple trees to cut this winter... I think mid February for them. That should be when the deer are really starting to need it. I noticed both of the does I killed in rifle season were still finding a fair amount of acorns to eat. This late is the season that is a good thing!
 

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Why does nobody mention cutting pines down for browse? Is it little nutrition value? I have seen fallen pine trees & broken off branches at camp have tracks all around them with the needles chewed off 1/2-3/4 of the way.
 

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To me the pines are far more valuable as winter cover to cut down... A lot of the pines on our land are scrube species which the deer do not like to browse. The few white pines we do have are pampered along with the hemlocks. Plus I think pines as you said have less nutritional value than say maple or oaks...
 

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We don't have too many pine stands down this way, but I was always told that if Deer are eating the pines, they are in a pretty hungry state of mind.

I will start my cutting after muzzy season. Problem though, my Stihl 028 Super (18" bar) is conking out, and needs some work. It's my bread and butter saw. My Stihl 361 is heavy and a bear to swing around all day. Hope I can get the 028 running smooth.
 

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No doubt deer will eat white pine and Norway spruce when hungry... It's a sign you got too many deer or you have having a really bad winter if that's happening though. White pine is far from a preferred food for whitetails...
 
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