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Mar 25th, 2012
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Water? #7660644 11/13/19 03:05 PM
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Now that one of our neighbors is high-fenced, and due to the ~120 day drought in Mills County, we have one of only two water sources for nearly a mile in every direction. Several people nearby have told me they haven't been seeing any/many deer. I saw almost 70 opening weekend in four hunts (all different areas, no double-counting). One of our pastures is very open but has the stock tank. I saw nineteen different deer in that pasture in two hours. We have cover as well in other places. Have you ever seen deer relocate in numbers in order to be near a water supply? If you hunt dry areas, do you supply water intentionally for wildlife?


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Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7660665 11/13/19 03:18 PM
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I have fairly decent pond plus a creek that has held water year around in Mills County. Open weekend and last weekend was slow in our parts of the woods.


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Re: Water? [Re: TXduckCommander] #7660670 11/13/19 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TXduckCommander
I have fairly decent pond plus a creek that has held water year around in Mills County. Open weekend and last weekend was slow in our parts of the woods.


Do your neighbors have water?


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Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7660675 11/13/19 03:28 PM
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Deer will not make an area home (bed down there) just because it has the only water in the area, but they will certainly frequent that area often is my experience. I think you need the available area with the size, cover, and for them to be comfortable to bed there. 2cents



Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7660687 11/13/19 03:36 PM
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We have 11 ponds/tanks about 1 to 1.5 acres, one that's about 3 acres, and a small lake that's 12 acres on our place in northern Mills county. All have some water in them...they're a little low but ok, the lake is down to about 7 acres, its about 4 foot low. The last few weekends we've seen a lot of deer, saw 11 bucks in one sit, seen as many as 20 at one time. We're very fortunate in that our land owner does not allow his cattle to overgraze the property, there are many areas where the little blue-stem and Indian grass are 4-6' tall.
The majority of the time water is the most limiting factor for deer. If someone doesn't have it supplying it would greatly increase the ability to hold and see deer.

Re: Water? [Re: titan2232] #7660706 11/13/19 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by titan2232
Deer will not make an area home (bed down there) just because it has the only water in the area, but they will certainly frequent that area often is my experience. I think you need the available area with the size, cover, and for them to be comfortable to bed there. 2cents

You're right, just because you have water doesn't mean they will stay there. All deer need food, water, and cover. If you can provide those things in an adequate supply it is possible to reduce the size of their home range. Of course the size of the range depends on the area of the state and habitat present. The "average" home range size for bucks and does vary depending on your source so I'll refrain from stating any.

Last edited by Txhunter65; 11/13/19 03:47 PM.
Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7660729 11/13/19 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by QuitShootinYoungBucks
Originally Posted by TXduckCommander
I have fairly decent pond plus a creek that has held water year around in Mills County. Open weekend and last weekend was slow in our parts of the woods.


Do your neighbors have water?


As a crow flies we are probably two miles from the colorado river. We have owned this place for over ten years and are very picky on what we shoot. My neighbors hardly hunt and we feed year around. I think acorns played a big factor early this season and after this freeze Im ready to see what comes to the food plots.


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Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7660735 11/13/19 04:06 PM
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Back in 2013 we had a pretty dry spell. There are several ponds for surface water surrounding us but they do not hold in drought conditions. We put a trough with a float behind our camp house and a trail cam on it. You could see on google earth aerials trails coming to that trough like spokes of a wheel for miles in every direction and we got pictures of deer that we had never seen before and have never seen since.

Last edited by redchevy; 11/13/19 04:06 PM.

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Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7660814 11/13/19 04:58 PM
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Deer are not going to stay far from water in dry times. They have to drink water at least twice per day, everyday when it is dry. In very cold weather deer drink water about the same as when it is hot and dry. They will cut their travel distance down when the water is limited. Deer can get moisture from plants when it they are green.



Re: Water? [Re: stxranchman] #7660845 11/13/19 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Deer are not going to stay far from water in dry times. They have to drink water at least twice per day, everyday when it is dry. In very cold weather deer drink water about the same as when it is hot and dry. They will cut their travel distance down when the water is limited. Deer can get moisture from plants when it they are green.


I walked our place substantially, STX, and I had not seen it that dry since 2013. There were very, very few winter weeds; almost all small plants were brown. Our creek, which has water about 70% of the falls, is completely dry as are two stock tanks and a 3rd is nearly there. I know the two tanks in our neighbor's place are completely dry as is his creek. We did pick up .6" this past week so that may help a little with the weeds but it won't put any drinking water out. Our one good stock tank is spring-fed and about 80% capacity right now. The spring stopped running in September. That heat this summer did a horrible number on us.


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Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7660865 11/13/19 05:51 PM
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I had a lease that I believe the lack of water destroyed. That and they put more cattle on it than in years past. Was on this lease for 6 years(2009 to 2015), the first three years we shot really good deer and had many more on camera. 10+ deer over the 140 mark or right at it and several young deer that could easily reach that mark with some age. During those drought years the number of deer slowly started to dwindle, it was never a very high density area but the quality was remarkable, by the last year we were lucky to see a single deer when we went out. Camera footage was low ect… There was a lake a few miles north and I am convinced they migrated that direction and stayed.

Re: Water? [Re: stxranchman] #7661060 11/13/19 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
Deer are not going to stay far from water in dry times. They have to drink water at least twice per day, everyday when it is dry. In very cold weather deer drink water about the same as when it is hot and dry. They will cut their travel distance down when the water is limited. Deer can get moisture from plants when it they are green.

Yep, I will not lease or would never consider owning land for hunting or live stock that didn't have a well or some type of reliable water collection system on it in this State. When I have new land to scout, I always start at the water and circle out from there.


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Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7661105 11/13/19 09:58 PM
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This thread reminds me how lucky I am to have 1 of our 2 ponds on 2700 acres smile


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Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7661137 11/13/19 10:30 PM
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I have a decent sized tank on my place but I have also found that the deer like the water troughs I put out around a couple of my feeders. It is a little bit of a pain to haul water but the deer really use it.
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Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7661139 11/13/19 10:32 PM
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We have a large trough at the headquarters, I think I'll put a camera on it next weekend!


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Re: Water? [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7661169 11/13/19 10:57 PM
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Best thing our LO did was have water pilas run all over the ranch around 5-6 years ago. So even if tanks go dry we always have water - has helped our quail greatly too. When everybody around our ranch has no water we do - makes a huge difference IMO


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