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Mar 25th, 2012
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I need opinions on protein feeding #5548793 01/18/15 12:37 AM
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I am thinking it's about time to start protein feeding on my lease however I have several questions that I would like your opinions on. First let me start off by describing my lease. The lease is in West Texas and the acreage that myself, my son and my father hunt on is about 1,500 acres. There is one hunter to the South of me and another to the East of me with about the same acreage each. There is no one that hunts to the north of me for about 1 mile. The browse is typical West Texas mesquite trees, Greasewood bushes, etc. The only water on the my lease is from two troughs fed by Windmills. All stock tanks are bone dry and have remained so for 10+ years therefore food plots are completely out of the question. Plus I don't have equipment to put a plot in anyways. We have both mule deer and WT on the lease. There are no hogs.....yet, but we do have a ton of javelina. The rancher has a good an avg number of cattle on the property as well. Unfortunately the lease is not under MLD so we are overwhelmed with deer numbers, especially Mule deer does which can't be taken because the rancher doesn't put in for permits. I currently have 4 corn feeders that I run year round. None of my neighbors feed protein nor does anyone surrounding them. Now for my concerns/questions:

1) I really only want to put out only one protein feeder more or less in the center of my lease next to one of my corn feeders. I know 4-5 would probably be ideal but that's more money than I want to spend. The reason for only one is mainly cost since everything on the lease comes out of my pocket. Will one 1,000lb gravity fill protein feeder do any good at all with the large number of deer I have on the lease whom will all likely be partaking in the protein? I am afraid they may blow through a 1,000lb feeder in no time flat.

2) I know if I addressed the above with a timed feeder it would limit the amount they can eat but it also limits who can eat and how much they get/need. So a time feeder is a bad idea....isn't it?

3) Will cows get into the gravity fed protein feeders? I have hog panels around all of my corn feeders. Just curios if cows will get into them because I would prefer to not put a panel around it due to the fact that the mule deer don't care too much for jumping fences or paneling. Then again, they may not come to the protein anyways.

4) Would you recommend something else to increase the quality/health of the deer on my lease besides the above? Or, is this just a bad idea all together because I am going to being dumping money like crazy and very few protein will be feeding a ton of mouths?

That's all that I can think of for now. Thanks for your opinions.

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5549166 01/18/15 03:57 AM
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1. The feeder will primarily benefit the deer in the immediate vicinity, not an entire 1500 acres. I hunt on 3200 acres and we have 15 (including 3 at the house). Most are 2000 lb capacity and the deer/axis empty them in about a week and a half to a week. We have a service that comes out and re-fills them for us.
2. I hunt a small place of 200 acres. We set two of the corn feeders to feed once a day for 10 seconds.Both feeders hold about 600 lbs of protein. It helps a little, but not like the 3200 acre place.
3. Yes. Pen them in if you can.
4. I feel that any amount of protein assistance you can give them will help. Will it make all of your 1.5 year old bucks have 10 points? No. It will help keep the does a bit healthier, at least those near the protein feeder. Same with the bucks.


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Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5549482 01/18/15 02:37 PM
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Bbear, what is your annual cost on feed?


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it is the illusion of knowledge.--Stephen Hawking
Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5549489 01/18/15 02:43 PM
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right now is when the bucks can use all the protein they can get


hold on Newt, we got a runaway
Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5549600 01/18/15 04:06 PM
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Bbear, thanks for the input. It will just be me refilling the feeders and I don't know that I can keep up with that frequency of a need to refill. Corn feeders during the season last about a month which isn't an issue cause I am down there every free chance I have. Once browse kicks in the spring I turn the feeders way down and can go 3-4 months before refilling. I hate to have to go once a month if not sooner to refill a 1,000lb protein feeder in addition to the corn refilling. The wife won't be happy about that at all. Hmm, decisions, decisions.

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5549610 01/18/15 04:16 PM
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Get a bigger feeder 1 ton protein at least and absolutely build a large panel pen around it

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5550717 01/19/15 02:14 AM
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2013 we spent a little over $53,000 for corn and protein plus the filling of the protein.


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Rifles are similar to boats and young women...there's no end to how much money you can pour into them without making them any more useful.
Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5551107 01/19/15 05:59 AM
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It sound like your real issue is to many deer. Any kind of feeding will make the problem worse. The risk of disease/starvation goes up. I suggest working with the landowner on this, to reduce the deer numbers. The first step is doing a deer count. Then figure out how many deer you want on the property. Also consider the buck/doe ratio. The habitat on the ranch is not going to change. However, you can still practice accepted deer management principles. I suggest reading some articles online about whitetail deer management. The only guarantee you will have by protein feeding is less money in your wallet.

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5551553 01/19/15 04:05 PM
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The Mule Deer will live at the feeder and never leave. You cost will be higher than normal due to the Mule Deer. They are larger bodied and will take over the free choice all you can eat buffet of protein. Protein can make a huge difference in the quality of the bucks(MD and WT both) over time that are raised on it. It should not be started without a management plan in place and numbers/ratios worked on first. At this point I would get a survey and purchase more ammo. Feeding excess deer lead will solve a lot of problems with food left over for the remaining deer.



Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Bbear] #5551586 01/19/15 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bbear
2013 we spent a little over $53,000 for corn and protein plus the filling of the protein.


eeks333

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5551645 01/19/15 04:34 PM
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$53,000. on 3200 acres.....surely a typo?

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Wilhunt] #5551650 01/19/15 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted By: wilhunt
$53,000. on 3200 acres.....surely a typo?

No it is not. I know of a ranch that was less acres and fed twice as much per year.



Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5551728 01/19/15 05:13 PM
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During the drought of 2011, we spent over $75,000 that year. That was for corn and protein. We still lost a large number of deer that year. It's showing in what we saw this year. The number of 4 year old deer was nearly non-existent.


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Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Bbear] #5551775 01/19/15 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bbear
2013 we spent a little over $53,000 for corn and protein plus the filling of the protein.


It'd be hard to justify those $$$ amounts for the West Texas deer I've seen the past 10 years. WOW that's some serious cash.



Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Wilhunt] #5551785 01/19/15 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted By: wilhunt
$53,000. on 3200 acres.....surely a typo?


Use to feed around 3200lbs every other week on 4k acres in Houston Co. Adds up quick

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Navasot] #5551801 01/19/15 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted By: Navasot
Originally Posted By: wilhunt
$53,000. on 3200 acres.....surely a typo?


Use to feed around 3200lbs every other week on 4k acres in Houston Co. Adds up quick

In the drought of '96 on a ranch I managed I fed over 440 tons of feed by August that year.



Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: stxranchman] #5551807 01/19/15 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted By: stxranchman
Originally Posted By: Navasot
Originally Posted By: wilhunt
$53,000. on 3200 acres.....surely a typo?


Use to feed around 3200lbs every other week on 4k acres in Houston Co. Adds up quick

In the drought of '96 on a ranch I managed I fed over 440 tons of feed by August that year.
eek2

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5551816 01/19/15 05:47 PM
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I cant remember how much corn was used exactly. Prolly evened out to about the same except I would slow the corn feeders down to 6 seconds or so during the summer

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Navasot] #5551824 01/19/15 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted By: Navasot
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
Originally Posted By: Navasot
Originally Posted By: wilhunt
$53,000. on 3200 acres.....surely a typo?


Use to feed around 3200lbs every other week on 4k acres in Houston Co. Adds up quick

In the drought of '96 on a ranch I managed I fed over 440 tons of feed by August that year.
eek2

That did not include the corn or several truck loads of split peas or trailer loads of alfalfa hay fed also...



Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5551831 01/19/15 05:51 PM
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Was there any problem with the need for green or roughage?

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Navasot] #5551848 01/19/15 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted By: Navasot
Was there any problem with the need for green or roughage?

There was a green up that spring on browse. The Shinnery Oaks and Live Oaks took a beating that year. Protein consumption on WT went from 1.5 lbs/hd/day to 2.4 lbs/hd/day that year and almost all the bucks got better on score contrary to what most would tell you. I fed alfalfa free choice around the protein feeders twice per week as much at they wanted.



Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: stxranchman] #5552277 01/19/15 09:21 PM
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we fed 75 tons of protein, 25 tons cottonseed, and piles of corn - total cost over $50,000 for just the feed - 9000 acres. And this was a fairly wet year for us. This was for 9 months of the year - we stop feeding during the season

Truthfully I am not sure one feeder will do much good. Feed is always good for the deer but it has to be accessible in various locations deer travel. Plus only so many deer can feed at one feeder - it may have some impact over coming years but I would be doubtful

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Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5552317 01/19/15 09:38 PM
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Most of these guys have a lot more experience with feeding protein than I do but I have one 2k lb free choice feeder. When food is scarce I have to refill it every 5-6 weeks when everything has greened up it's 8-10 weeks. I have been doing this for 4 seasons now and do see a difference in the quality and number of deer. In my case because I have a small place I use it to keep deer on/near my property and it works for that too since I now have deer that have been raised on the protein that I provide. It is not cheap to do though.


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Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5552364 01/19/15 10:02 PM
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Thanks for the info and opinions. First off, since it's just me, I have no desire to spend $50,000+ a year to feed deer. We avg for mature WT bucks around 130s B&C. The occasional 150 has been killed but it's definitely not the norm. For mulies 140-150s maybe, with 160-170 being the biggest killed but not the norm either. I do agree 100% that better management needs to be instituted such as an MLD. Unfortunately that's up to the LO. He is a super nice old man that loves to see kids out hunting and having fun. He isn't into it for the money nor does he have any inclination or desire to hunt or put efforts into game management. He is just a good ole nice rancher. I don't and won't blame him. He truly is a nice and fair man. Being a 5 deer county, 2 bucks, 3 antlerless I would love to take advantage of that and manage the Buck to doe ratio better. My problem is, with me and my son hunting every year we usually take 2-3 WT bucks and 1 mulie. For my family, one deer will last us about 1/2 the year. More than two and we can't eat it fast enough. If I knew of a "Hunters for the Hungry" program somewhere close that would take donated meat, I would gladly decrease the doe numbers by limiting out my tags every year. I just am not aware of one in the area. As for the mule deer does go, well they are off limits per the state unless the LO applies for permits and as mentioned above, he isn't interested in that. I am lucky to have what I have to hunt on and there are lots of deer with quality to them. Just trying to see if I could increase it a little bit under the circumstances I have. I might try it and just see how it goes. If it gets out of control, someone on here will get a heck of a deal on a slightly used protein feeder. up

Re: I need opinions on protein feeding [Re: Theringworm] #5552413 01/19/15 10:25 PM
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26 protein feeders at 2000# each, filled every week to week and a half. Don't remember what the going rate per ton of protein is but a bag is around $10-12 bucks. Adds up in a hurry.

The owner sells whitetail and axis hunts to help cover the costs.


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Rifles are similar to boats and young women...there's no end to how much money you can pour into them without making them any more useful.
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