Question: “We enjoy deer hunting and have a lease in south central Texas. We have no problems around here this year, habitat conditions are awesome compared to last year. We typically fill protein feeders around the first week in January each year and it usually takes the whitetail about three months to clean out six 2,000 pound protein feeders. Last year was so dry we were already filling them up for the third time in late April.
This year is a different animal. Deer are not eating protein.Nothing. The feeders we filled in January are still 80% full. I’m okay with this, but will protein feed go bad in a free choice protein feeder? Also, is there any chance that I see a fall off in horns this year due to the deer eating stuff with lower protein content than what we are offering?”
Response: This year has been a real turnaround compared to the last one. Plants are green and tall compared to dead and brown. With regards to whitetail not eating your protein, I would not be concerned. The protein content on forbs can be very high, with many hitting in the 25 to 35 percent protein range. This is why deer are not eating your protein pellets. No offense to you or to the manufacturers out there, but protein pellets suck compared to high quality forbs—and the deer know it. That is why they are eating the better stuff that is available to them right now.
There should not be any real problem with the stagnant protein. However, the feed will start to lose it’s smell, and I assume its flavor too. There will be nothing wrong with the pellet quality. Problems could occur if you start getting some light mold on top and on the sides of your pellets inside the feeders.
I would recommend opening them up and inspecting them. If the air in protein feeder feels either hot or moisture-rich then I would let them air out. Just open them up on a day when it’s really sunny and you’ve got a good breeze blowing.
As far as antler quality, the deer hunting will be better than ever! Do not expect the “horn” quality to fall off. In fact, expect bigger and better. As mentioned earlier, high quality native forbs are chock-full of protein. And with the rain we’ve received this year, there are lots of good native forbs out there for deer to forage on.
Another benefit of the rain is that the deer browse will be putting on new growth. Last year was a bust. The browse grew very little and was low quality. When it comes to high quality browse it does not get any better than fresh growth. The rains have definitely brought it on. In short, the rain has been a blessing for the habitat and for whitetail in general. The fawn crop should be out of this world this year. The deer hunting should be good around Texas as antler quality will up.
If you love Texas, you will LOVE this video!