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Adding protein on small property #8736149 11/17/22 02:16 AM
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On a small property lease in San Saba county (250ish acres). We feed corn year round and early this year we started with cottonseed (one feeder got hammered and one was barely touched). Property technically has three neighbors (one side is a HF place). One neighbor kills everything and the other two aren’t hunt heavily. I’m debating on trying to add protein but not sure if size of property is worth it. Deer quality hasn’t been great, but not horrible (see pic of best two deer I’ve seen on property).

Is it worth feeding protein year round starting post rut? Or am I just feeding for the neighbors? If it isn’t a bad idea, I read a post in here on feeder recommendations and timed feeder makes most sense to monitor budget and deer quantity/quality changes over time. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8736194 11/17/22 03:17 AM
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I feed year round on my place. Ime it’s helped tremendously


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Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8736202 11/17/22 03:33 AM
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It’s a good attractant.’


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Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: txtrophy85] #8736225 11/17/22 04:11 AM
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What protein are you using, and are you using to attract or improve quality (I’m hoping for both…)? Of course everything costs more right now so it isn’t ideal time to just start testing different options.

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8736390 11/17/22 02:05 PM
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If you are in San Saba, I would go with Lyssy and Eckels or Double Down (if you can find a dealer)

For 250 acres, put up 2 free feed feeders (not a corn feeder) with hog panels around them (min 8, 10 would be better). It would also help if you can put near water OR add a water station inside the hog paneled area

L&E is sold in Richland Springs and Llano

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8736414 11/17/22 02:28 PM
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Thanks for the tips. I’ll stop by L&E when I pass through Llano.

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8736499 11/17/22 04:06 PM
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I think it is good for the deer, we feed it free choice on 320 acres LF out of 4 feed stations. Even in dry years the deer are healthy and raise fawns, but I do not believe you will see any notable change in the antlers because of it. It is a good attractant, our deer hammer it till it’s gone. Some deer come and only eat the protein and walk past the corn completely.


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Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8736625 11/17/22 07:23 PM
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Thanks all!

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8736744 11/17/22 09:26 PM
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480 ac and I' was the only one feeding protein for the last 8 years. Another member started this year. Our deer have improved in body mass and weathered the drought very well. Yea, it's gotten expensive.


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Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8736877 11/18/22 12:31 AM
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The cost has me a bit concerned. Curious how fast they will go through it. If it helps keep them healthy and sticking to our property, it will be a good investment.

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8737535 11/18/22 09:44 PM
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Bought my Antlermax today and was surprised it went down $1 a bag since I last bought 2 months ago. $18.25 now.


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Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8737646 11/19/22 12:20 AM
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Our feeders hold 500 lbs, if they are hitting it hard they will drain 4 of them (2000 lbs) in 2-3 weeks.


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Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8737689 11/19/22 12:45 AM
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I’m debating between gravity feeder and timed feeder. Timed costs more up front, but I can control the times and quantity. Gravity will probably be better at attracting deer that don’t follow the timer, but costs more up front. Thoughts/suggestions?

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8739650 11/21/22 10:56 PM
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I have fed small acreage places 160-320 acres over the last 10 years with a single 1K gravity feeder. The All Seasons stand and fill is a tank, especially the one on skids. Start them 2/3 protein 1/3 corn for the first fill and they will chomp it. Then straight protein. I also only feed Jan-Oct. See way more deer during the season when it's cut off and they aren't totally nocturnal to eat.

Whether you go timed or gravity, just do it. It's great for antler development but even more important nutritionally post rut for bucks and when your does are carrying fawns.

Good luck

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8739663 11/21/22 11:17 PM
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What I've noticed on our 100acres in Freestone county after feeding protein free choice for the last 4yrs is.... It gets expensive, quickly!

From late winter until the rut we have more deer on the place daily than ever before, increasing numbers each year (which means more protein bought and eaten). Mostly bucks both young and older. The word is spreading amongst the herd.

Come rut (about mid-October) our core herd of doe seem to hang around, along with a few of our young and mature bucks, but most bucks displace out somewhere else, few of those that meet antler restrictions ever return.

Deer are going to do what deer do at certain times of the year. During the rut no amount or type of feed will effect that. Right now we have protein, lush green oats, corn, minerals, and great water on our place, not to mention the acorns and other natural food they can get anywhere in the area. But their instinct to procreate transcends all of that. Our corn feeders haven't gotten any action since mid-October, protein either, they will sometimes slow down and graze the oats as they walk thru but only out of convenience.

We have seen a marked improvement in just a few years when comparing similar age class deer and antler growth. Mainly in mass, tine length and width seem to be improved but to a lesser extent. Nothing spectacular on any front, but enough to see a difference. Even our really young age class deer are sporting a couple more points and better racks on average than they did before we started the protein program, which in a few cases makes them "legal" a year before they otherwise might have been before, and opens them up to being clipped while out cruising for poontang because the bigger bucks have our doe locked down.

We're going to phase in timers on a couple of protein feeders this year, with the remaining couple next year and see how our numbers and quality shake out.

In the end, feeding protein does have tangible benefits, I've seen enough positive so far that I'm not willing to give up on it. The expense for us is increasing every year because we're drawing in more deer every year, not sure if this snowball ever stops growing?

A lot of it will depend on the properties around you as well. If your place in San Saba is anything like the 900acre lease I hunted for a decade or so in that county then the doe population is likely much better, which hopefully holds more bucks closer to home range during the rut. Lots of variables there still, surrounding properties always being a huge factor when on a smaller parcel.


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Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8739880 11/22/22 04:00 AM
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Really appreciate the insights. I’m pretty sold on starting in January (maybe sooner) for that post rut health kick for bucks and does alike. I have noticed a lot of young bucks this season compared to last (when I first got on lease) and there are now two of us feeding year round. I will be able to get an idea of the attractant capabilities and if I happen to notice these deer that we’ve been feeding and keeping close seem to look healthier in the body and antler categories, then I’ll be sold to push the others in the same direction.

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: TXB4] #8739882 11/22/22 04:03 AM
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If you have LOTS of patience

After spending my whole life chasing these animals, I am under the belief most men w a rifle will shoot small deer given the chance

Theres a good chance your neighbor won't pass on a 3.5 year old 130", 10 point...as in really good chance...

8 out of 10 are blasting away I promise

And thats why I say if you have enough patience, it will eventually pay off

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: psycho0819] #8739883 11/22/22 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by psycho0819
What I've noticed on our 100acres in Freestone county after feeding protein free choice for the last 4yrs is.... It gets expensive, quickly!

From late winter until the rut we have more deer on the place daily than ever before, increasing numbers each year (which means more protein bought and eaten). Mostly bucks both young and older. The word is spreading amongst the herd.

Come rut (about mid-October) our core herd of doe seem to hang around, along with a few of our young and mature bucks, but most bucks displace out somewhere else, few of those that meet antler restrictions ever return.

Deer are going to do what deer do at certain times of the year. During the rut no amount or type of feed will effect that. Right now we have protein, lush green oats, corn, minerals, and great water on our place, not to mention the acorns and other natural food they can get anywhere in the area. But their instinct to procreate transcends all of that. Our corn feeders haven't gotten any action since mid-October, protein either, they will sometimes slow down and graze the oats as they walk thru but only out of convenience.

We have seen a marked improvement in just a few years when comparing similar age class deer and antler growth. Mainly in mass, tine length and width seem to be improved but to a lesser extent. Nothing spectacular on any front, but enough to see a difference. Even our really young age class deer are sporting a couple more points and better racks on average than they did before we started the protein program, which in a few cases makes them "legal" a year before they otherwise might have been before, and opens them up to being clipped while out cruising for poontang because the bigger bucks have our doe locked down.

We're going to phase in timers on a couple of protein feeders this year, with the remaining couple next year and see how our numbers and quality shake out.

In the end, feeding protein does have tangible benefits, I've seen enough positive so far that I'm not willing to give up on it. The expense for us is increasing every year because we're drawing in more deer every year, not sure if this snowball ever stops growing?

A lot of it will depend on the properties around you as well. If your place in San Saba is anything like the 900acre lease I hunted for a decade or so in that county then the doe population is likely much better, which hopefully holds more bucks closer to home range during the rut. Lots of variables there still, surrounding properties always being a huge factor when on a smaller parcel.

Great take on it right here for smaller properties feeding protein.

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: 4Weight] #8739884 11/22/22 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 4Weight
I have fed small acreage places 160-320 acres over the last 10 years with a single 1K gravity feeder. The All Seasons stand and fill is a tank, especially the one on skids. Start them 2/3 protein 1/3 corn for the first fill and they will chomp it. Then straight protein. I also only feed Jan-Oct. See way more deer during the season when it's cut off and they aren't totally nocturnal to eat.

Whether you go timed or gravity, just do it. It's great for antler development but even more important nutritionally post rut for bucks and when your does are carrying fawns.

Good luck

X100

Re: Adding protein on small property [Re: GusWayne] #8739957 11/22/22 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by procraft05
If you have LOTS of patience

After spending my whole life chasing these animals, I am under the belief most men w a rifle will shoot small deer given the chance

Theres a good chance your neighbor won't pass on a 3.5 year old 130", 10 point...as in really good chance...

8 out of 10 are blasting away I promise

And thats why I say if you have enough patience, it will eventually pay off


This is honestly my biggest concern. And not just neighbors. I’d hate for one of the guys on our lease not follow same mindset. Lease manager and myself are really trying to improve the overall quality of deer, but developing guidelines for what we shoot and what we pass on will be tricky as this is our only place to hunt.

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