The antler growth cycle is nearly complete for last year’s hunting season, but with every ending there is a new beginning. Hopefully you have been able to get out and find some of last year’s bucks in the form of shed antlers.
There has been quite a bit of publicity regarding the Franz buck which was taken in Marion County Iowa in the fall of 2014. If you haven’t heard about the buck, you can read about it on the website www.franzbuck.com which even has video of the hunt.
The amount of feed you put out at one time is dependent upon several variables, the main one being your objectives for feeding. The number of deer using your feed site can also have a huge impact on how much feed you will go through in a given time period. If you want to ensure that nutrition is not a limiting factor for your deer, use a free choice gravity feeder such as the one pictured here.
Training a dog to find sheds is a great way to cover more ground in search of those prized antlers. I trained my German shorthair to find sheds when she was a puppy, but training an older dog is achievable as long as they have the drive. There are many ways to teach a dog to find something, but here is how I did it.
I recently attended a consumer trade show and I had a chance to visit with many people about what they are feeding deer in their area. I was surprised at how many people were feeding deer corn because they “tear that stuff up.” One gentleman even told me he put out gummy bears for his deer because they have a “sweet tooth.”
Last weekend, I visited my father in SE Minnesota to see what bucks were coming into his backyard to feed. I knew it was going to be a fun night of deer watching when we arrived at 2:30 PM and there were already 3 bucks in his yard. We have been feeding Supplement 365 to keep the local herd healthy during the winter, and to get an idea of what bucks made it through the hunting seasons.
The end of December, a major weather system dumped snow on most of the upper Midwest while the middle and southern parts of the US received heavy rainfall. The latest rainfall put most rivers well over flood stage in the middle part of the US. The Mississippi river basin hasn’t seen this much water since the historic floods of 1993.
Keeping a trail camera alive during late season is not easy. Batteries lose their juice quicker as temperatures fall, and snow can build up over the lens. Many bucks have been shot and the number of big bucks on the landscape has dwindled. If you have been running a camera since the beginning of summer, you may think you have captured every buck in that area by now. The reality is, however, there is always a chance a new buck arrives, and that especially holds true in the late season.
The key to finding big sheds is just like hunting big bucks, go where big bucks live. It is only mid-December so although it’s not exactly shed hunting season, a well-planned feeding strategy can put more antlers in your hands when that magical time comes. When the bucks in your area are close to losing their antlers, they are usually run down from the rigors of the rut and are looking to pack on the weight they lost. Testosterone levels have dropped and they return to a travel pattern that goes from bedding areas to feeding sites.