The supplemental feeding of whitetail deer has long been used for deer management and a way to improve local whitetail hunting. Supplemental feeding helps provide deer valuable nutrition during the stress periods of summer and winter, although deer will use additional food sources throughout the year. There are many types of supplemental foods, vitamins, and minerals and minerals that can be placed out to maintain herd health and improve your whitetail deer hunting. Food sources can be in the form of protein pellets or food plots.
Better Health and Body Condition – The objective of better individual deer body condition should be the primary reason for feeding deer. Stable food sources mean deer spend less time foraging, and that saves energy. Whitetail deer on your property will become larger bodied and be more healthy than unfed deer.
Higher Fawn Production – Doe deer that are in good body condition have a higher fawning rate. This is because doe do not have problems meeting the high energy demands that raising twin fawns requires. Milk production is important in late summer, when habitat conditions are usually fair to poor depending upon precipitation.
More Antler Growth – Improving antler growth is usually one of the primary reasons that hunters provide supplemental food. Well fed whitetail bucks will produce more antler mass than malnurished deer. This antler mass comes in the form of point length, beam length, and overall antler mass. In addition, bucks that have access to supplemental feed tend to grow more kickers on their racks. I suspect this is because their antlers are growing so fast, extra points push through while these deer are in velvet.
Improved Whitetail Hunting – Supplemental feeding usually leads to better whitetail hunting. One is partly because local deer become more productive and whitetail bucks sport bigger and better racks. This is hard for hunters to deny. After all, we all like to see deer! Another factor that may improve whitetail hunting in an area is that whitetail may be drawn onto the property because a stable food source exist.
Protein Pellets or Food Plots – Research has shown that whitetail deer require at diet of at least 16% protein for optimal body and antler growth and nutrition. As such, supplemental protein pellets or food plots planted for additional nutrition should be selected to meet these bodily requirements. Check your local game laws before placing out protein pellets during the hunting season to make sure baiting is legal in your state. Pelleted feeds and food plots can both do the trick, but the preferred method of delivering additional high quality food is up to you. Below are some additional articles on supplemental feeding that could improve your whitetail hunting: