Deer Age: Aging Whitetail Deer by Teeth

Question: “I’ve grown up deer hunting in Louisiana and we mostly shot deer to eat. After college, I moved to North Texas and ended up getting on a deer lease several years later. The guys out there try to manage the deer, but I’m no pro when it comes to aging deer on the hoof or by their teeth. This is my second year on the lease and although I’m getting better at determining a deer’s age, I want another opinion on the age of the jawbones in the attached photos. ¬†Thanks.”

Deer Aging Using Teeth

Continue reading Deer Age: Aging Whitetail Deer by Teeth

Turnips for Food Plots

Question: “I am interested in better whitetail hunting on my Texas property and always try to provide supplemental foods for deer. I typically plant food plots in the fall, but this year I tried turnips for food plots in the spring. I planted turnips in a very small area, about 1/2 acre in size. The ground was firm, but after preparing the soil, and some rain, the turnips look good. They look great, but the deer have not touched them. My question is, do whitetail usually eat the turnip bulb or stick to the leafy greens?”

Answer: When it comes to whitetail deer management, food plots are a good tool. They are not the only way to provide supplemental forage for whitetail, but they can work great over much of the whitetail’s range, including Texas. The eastern half of Texas has better soil for food plots, but good soils can be found over much of the state, even further west if they are located along creeks, rivers and other riparian areas. Continue reading Turnips for Food Plots

Feeding Deer Cottonseed as Supplemental Protein

Question: “We are trying to manager the deer on our property to provide better whitetail deer hunting. For those that are feeding cottonseed, do livestock try to eat it? I had enormous problems in a couple of pastures trying to keep the cows out of the protein feeders last year. I was thinking of trying whole cottonseed instead of protein pellets this year in those pastures, but if they are going to try and get at the cottonseed as much as they do the protein pellets, I’m going to stay the course with the pellets. Let me hear about your cottonseed for deer management experiences.”

Response: Cottonseed can be used as a supplemental protein source for whitetail, but my experience with it is it is labor intensive unless your are setup to handle it. Feeding cottonseed is very demanding during high heat and humidity. You will need a covered shed to store it under, tractor with front end loader to move it around or load onto trailer/truck to move around ranch to put in feeders. Continue reading Feeding Deer Cottonseed as Supplemental Protein

Whitetail Deer Movement: Bucks and Does

Question: “Although we rarely hunt, there is a lot of whitetail hunting around our place. We have a deer bedding area and a nursing ground on our property. Every year the doe gives birth to twin fawns and we sometimes see the yearling doe that survived from the last year following her mom in the spring before the next birth. We typically see this type of whitetail deer movement every year, with the doe fawn from the previous year in tote with the elder doe. We also witness the kicking out of the nest which is inevitable before the next fawns are born. This year we saw something unusual: a buck, maybe last year’s fawn as a tag-along. But it was a buck.

We are now talking September 4, pretty nice size antlers, and the buck is still with the doe and current year’s fawn. They are feeding happily in the morning and afternoon on our property and seem to enjoy the habitat. They all seem to get along fine. Can someone tell us what is going on here? As far as I know the bucks are supposed to be at boot camp gearing up for the big mating game, but not this one.” Continue reading Whitetail Deer Movement: Bucks and Does

Better Deer Hunting Through Management

Question: “I just got a 430 acre pasture for the upcoming whitetail hunting season in South Texas. The property is actually part of a 3,000 acre ranch that is all being leased out for deer hunting. I have been hunting for several years, but I want to know how I can manage the place properly to get some good bucks next season. I understand that it will not happen in a single year, but want to see a bit of improvement over a series of years, especially with regard to antler quality.

The lease is mostly heavily brushed with mesquite and huisache. There are cleared shooting lanes. I do have a water well and access to tanks to provide the deer with water. In addition, I plan on feeding corn year-round and supplying “all they can eat” protein until the end of September. What else can I do?”

Answer: There are a number of things you can do to improve the quality of deer and the whitetail deer hunting on your South Texas lease. First and foremost, allow the bucks found on your property to mature. This is the single easiest way to produce good quality deer. It’s also the easiest. I would cull some inferior deer, but don’t get carried away unless your place is covered up with animals. Continue reading Better Deer Hunting Through Management

Blue Tongue in Llano County, Texas?

Question: “I live in Llano County and have a whitetail deer feeder in my back yard. We watch the whitetail throughout the year and they will let us get pretty close too. Yesterday, we were watching the deer eat at the feeder when one came from over the tank dam. I thought it was a small buck with its head down, but when it came up to the feeder the other deer ran off, like it had some kind of disease. It was not a buck, but I actually thought the deer had been shot in the head.

I grabbed my binoculars and looked and the doe’s tongue was huge, hanging out at least 6 inches! She looked bad, so I got my gun and put her down. I was still thinking that it was a shot deer so I got a tag and walked outside. I got up to her and she had no marks or entry wounds on her what so ever. The doe was very skinny and the tongue was huge. Do you think this is blue tongue?” Continue reading Blue Tongue in Llano County, Texas?

Deer Survey Methods: Spotlight, Cameras, Stand Counts

Question: “We have hunted whitetail deer in the blackland prairie region of Texas for many years, but this year is looking quite bad. I’m very concerned about the range conditions and how they will effect whitetail hunting this season. Typically, deer in our area have corn to fall back on as a food source, but this year it did not produce. In fact,¬†most of the stalks in the immediate area did not even producing a single ear of corn. The majority of the farmers are just shredding it down and filing insurance claims.

We have good habitat, but it’s in poor condition. We have three protein feeders and the deer are eating about 2,400 pounds a month. We’ve also kept all of out corn feeders going to try and help the deer out. The spring food plots we planted never came up, and it does not look like they will even if we do get some rain. No food plots until fall I guess, when we shall try again. We are interested in determining how many deer are on our property. Do you think a couple spotlight surveys would work? We always have trail cameras out in the field, and we keep track of the deer we see every time we are on the property. Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you. M.J.” Continue reading Deer Survey Methods: Spotlight, Cameras, Stand Counts

Cottonseed for Whitetail Deer Feed

Comment: We have heard a lot about using cottonseed as a white-tailed deer supplement here is South Texas and had been thinking about doing it ourselves. In fact, we just put out the first load of cotton seed about 2 weeks ago, just over 6,000 pounds, for supplementation as part of our deer management program. We hope it helps our whitetail hunting and really look forward to monitoring consumption of the cottonseed, as well as seeing how the bucks stack up this coming year. I am going to try to be as unbiased as possible on how it turns out.

So far, the deer on the ranch have been receptive to the whole cottonseed. We have placed it in cottonseed feeders at 12 locations on the property. It is easy to feed compared to protein because we do not have to use feeders. Each cottonseed cage holds about 400 to 500 pounds of seed. Some of the seed is right next to feeders while some is located where we intend to place feeders in the future. Some are fenced in while others are out in the open. Continue reading Cottonseed for Whitetail Deer Feed