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Deer eating cactus? #7520923 05/27/19 03:03 PM
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Saw this picture this morning from one of my cameras. Couldnít figure out what this deer had in itís mouth but it is cactus. Guessing it is eating it because of the water in the bottom part near where the roots would have been? Anyone ever seen this before?

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


This is the type of cactus it has in its mouth. [Linked Image]

Last edited by krmitchell; 05/27/19 03:09 PM.
Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7520937 05/27/19 03:35 PM
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I don't believe that is cactus. And yes they eat it. Only time I see deer eating cactus is in the winter when there is nothing else green.

Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7520941 05/27/19 03:39 PM
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If you look close in the second pic you can see the small spines on it. I trimmed some of that back inside the feed pen under the feeder on the right. If it isnít cactus idk what the heck it is then.

Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521117 05/27/19 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by krmitchell
If you look close in the second pic you can see the small spines on it. I trimmed some of that back inside the feed pen under the feeder on the right. If it isnít cactus idk what the heck it is then.

Yucca

Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521143 05/27/19 09:27 PM
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Looks like yucca to me. Deer eat cactus (prickly pear, tasajillo, etc.) year round due to the high water content and high levels of carbohydrate. But, never seen one eating yucca (although yucca blooms are highly desired by deer and pronghorn as well).


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Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521169 05/27/19 09:52 PM
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I used the word cactus loosely but yes it looks like yucca after doing some searching online. Thanks for the replies. Interesting creatures that are pretty adaptive.

Last edited by krmitchell; 05/27/19 09:55 PM.
Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521195 05/27/19 10:20 PM
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Neat pics. Never seen one eats yucca...


Originally Posted By: skinnerback
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Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521207 05/27/19 10:36 PM
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It's eating Sotol.


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Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: HWY_MAN] #7521237 05/27/19 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by HWY_MAN
It's eating Sotol.


Yep, and it is also used in making Tequila and mescal...

Last edited by Longhunter; 05/27/19 11:36 PM.

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Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: HWY_MAN] #7521238 05/27/19 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by HWY_MAN
It's eating Sotol.


Guess thatís common?

Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521267 05/28/19 12:19 AM
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We hunted Ft Stockton, Bakersfield, in 60s n 70s and used to break em up at bases to attract deer. I was young and canít remember exactly what we did but it worked.


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Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521272 05/28/19 12:22 AM
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I have only seen them eat prickly pears. One year I had a buck standing in the middle of a big cactus patch, he was eating away at the prickly pears. He was there for 30 minutes eating like a pig.


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Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: freerange] #7521300 05/28/19 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by freerange
We hunted Ft Stockton, Bakersfield, in 60s n 70s and used to break em up at bases to attract deer. I was young and canít remember exactly what we did but it worked.


We cut one down in the pen, guessing that is the one that he is eating. May cut a few more down and see what happens.

Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521362 05/28/19 02:55 AM
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During drought periods we would burn the stickers off the prickly pear and deer would eat it


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Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521414 05/28/19 11:16 AM
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I watched a spike eating cactus one day, when the feeders were fairly close by. confused2 You could see the drool coming out as he chewed and he looked uncomfortable to me, but he ate several pieces.

Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521447 05/28/19 12:36 PM
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They eat quite a bit of it in late winter, it is not uncommon to see a deer carrying around a patty or so with them. Several years ago we had a grass/brush fire and the hogs/deer etc. hit the cactus really hard, enough to kill much of it. Not sure if it was because the thorns were burned off or if it was jus the only thing left to eat till new growth came back.


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Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7521523 05/28/19 02:32 PM
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Used to see mule deer chewing on it all the time years ago when I used to hunt around Sanderson.

Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7522475 05/29/19 08:16 PM
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yep, looks like Sotol ... Dasylirion texanum of the Agavaceae family ... Sotol

all over around our place SW from Ozona, I've busted a few up driving to feeder/stand locations, and the cattle (and feral horses) seem to work them over once busted apart, I would suspect deer would too


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Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7522517 05/29/19 08:57 PM
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Back years ago when I hunted Mule Deer with some friends on a lease north of Sanderson, they would take a machete and cut down Sotol and the mule deer were on it within hours. It was a great attractant for mule deer and whitetails out there. My first mule deer buck I killed was bedded with a doe in a spot were they had cut/chopped up the sotol. The lease I am on now has very little sotol but you can see where it has been eaten on in the past by either livestock or mule deer during the drier times.
CKWRI has done studies in South Texas on just how much cactus plays a role in a deer diet. In some areas it can 45% of a post rut bucks diet or all deer in late summer. Those two periods were key no matter how wet or dry it was. I have watched buck eating cactus pads during a month long rainy spell were we had 9" of rain. Also watched them eat it during Jan/Feb in a drier time. They really like the fruit or tunas also. Even seen a buck eating Tasajillo fruits last fall.
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[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]
Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: HWY_MAN] #7522551 05/29/19 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by HWY_MAN
It's eating Sotol.


Thank you. Beat me to it. Sotol has a bulb under it that can be cooked. Native Americans used to eat it.

Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: stxranchman] #7522553 05/29/19 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Back years ago when I hunted Mule Deer with some friends on a lease north of Sanderson, they would take a machete and cut down Sotol and the mule deer were on it within hours. It was a great attractant for mule deer and whitetails out there. My first mule deer buck I killed was bedded with a doe in a spot were they had cut/chopped up the sotol. The lease I am on now has very little sotol but you can see where it has been eaten on in the past by either livestock or mule deer during the drier times.
CKWRI has done studies in South Texas on just how much cactus plays a role in a deer diet. In some areas it can 45% of a post rut bucks diet or all deer in late summer. Those two periods were key no matter how wet or dry it was. I have watched buck eating cactus pads during a month long rainy spell were we had 9" of rain. Also watched them eat it during Jan/Feb in a drier time. They really like the fruit or tunas also. Even seen a buck eating Tasajillo fruits last fall.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
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Tasajillo is a cool plant. It's also called Christmas cactus. What's cool is that the spines have a very fine sheath on them that when one gets into you the sheath comes off and frequently gets into the wound.

That is a well watered Tosajillo plant. The ones in western Val Verde county take a long time to get that tall and full.

Last edited by deerfeeder; 05/29/19 10:06 PM.
Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7522602 05/29/19 11:00 PM
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Neat pics....thanks for posting them..


Originally Posted By: skinnerback
Milf does the trick.

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"You Cannot Simultaneously Be Politically Correct And Intellectually Honest!"
Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: deerfeeder] #7522746 05/30/19 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by deerfeeder
Originally Posted by stxranchman
Back years ago when I hunted Mule Deer with some friends on a lease north of Sanderson, they would take a machete and cut down Sotol and the mule deer were on it within hours. It was a great attractant for mule deer and whitetails out there. My first mule deer buck I killed was bedded with a doe in a spot were they had cut/chopped up the sotol. The lease I am on now has very little sotol but you can see where it has been eaten on in the past by either livestock or mule deer during the drier times.
CKWRI has done studies in South Texas on just how much cactus plays a role in a deer diet. In some areas it can 45% of a post rut bucks diet or all deer in late summer. Those two periods were key no matter how wet or dry it was. I have watched buck eating cactus pads during a month long rainy spell were we had 9" of rain. Also watched them eat it during Jan/Feb in a drier time. They really like the fruit or tunas also. Even seen a buck eating Tasajillo fruits last fall.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]



Tasajillo is a cool plant. It's also called Christmas cactus. What's cool is that the spines have a very fine sheath on them that when one gets into you the sheath comes off and frequently gets into the wound.

That is a well watered Tosajillo plant. The ones in western Val Verde county take a long time to get that tall and full.

We called it Turkey Pear or Christmas Cactus also. That ranch had gotten a lot rain in the 60 days before I took those photos....14" in September alone.


[Linked Image]
Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: deerfeeder] #7522914 05/30/19 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by deerfeeder
Originally Posted by HWY_MAN
It's eating Sotol.


Thank you. Beat me to it. Sotol has a bulb under it that can be cooked. Native Americans used to eat it.


Beat me to it! I made a really nice super light weight and strong walking stick out of the stalk of one.

Re: Deer eating cactus? [Re: krmitchell] #7522926 05/30/19 01:01 PM
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The buck has sotol in its mouth, but the whole plant picture you posted isn't sotol. Sotol has the saw-tooth along the leaf.

I was on a lease for a short time that the guys would dig sotol up and throw them in the feed pens. Deer love the roots, as stated above.

Having looked at deep Indian grind holes in rocks south of Marathon, and had yucca burn pits pointed out to me on my property, I've come to the conclusion that, unless you killed something, life sucked to be a Native American in central and west Texas.


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
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