Deer Hunting and Feeding Protein

Reader Submitted: We’ve never fed protein pellets for white-tailed deer on our 2,600 acre ranch in Mason County. I was thinking about filling a few feeders in the early spring with protein to supplement bucks during the antler growing season. Would I be wasting my time with using just 4 spin-feeders to feed the pellets or would I need free-choice feeders and a lot more than 3 to do any good?

Texas Hunting: First off, you will not going to make a difference spin-feeding protein for whitetail. Individual deer simply will not get enough of the feed to make a difference. For any hunter or landowner that does plan on implementing a supplemental feeding program, the first thing to do is get the whitetail deer population in line with the carrying capacity of the ranch. This should be the first priority.

Then, the next is to get the buck to doe ratio somewhere around 1:1. This will help you get the most out of both the bucks and the does on your ranch. After you have addressed to total population size and buck to doe ratio, then and only then are you ready to start a free-choice protein feeding program.

If you don’t go about it in this manner then you will either not see a marked difference in the deer herd or you will go broke, probably both. A 2,600 ranch is a lot of deer, so you don’t want to feed anymore than absolutely necessary. In addition, you do not want to be feeding 3 or 4 does for every buck. It is not cost efficient. Does will have higher fawn crops due to supplemental feeding because of better health. These additional fawns create more heads on the ground, which means more deer to shoot each year.

It does not make sense to feed a bunch of does all year long just to shoot them off every year. This is why you want the buck to doe ratio closer to 1:1. This will really help and allow you to get the most for your money and from the deer found on your property.

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