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#3064231 - 12/05/12 07:20 AM Re: deer density [Re: catman529]
BSK
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I would be concerned by a deer population consuming a lot of privet.

Just remember, when it comes to local area carrying capacity and herd performance, it isn't so much what deer have to eat during the summer (like soybean fields), it is what they have to eat (and how much) during the lowest food volume time of year (January and February). And from a biological standpoint, discount acorns, as they are an "iffy" food source (will not be available every year).
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#3064427 - 12/05/12 09:26 AM Re: deer density [Re: BSK]
Hunter 257W
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 Originally Posted By: BSK

Just remember, when it comes to local area carrying capacity and herd performance, it isn't so much what deer have to eat during the summer (like soybean fields), it is what they have to eat (and how much) during the lowest food volume time of year (January and February).


You are exactly right of course. And January and February are the hardest months to do anything about even if you have the time and money. I've planted the "Fruit Tree Package" from The Wildlife Group along with many oaks and other species of trees/plants with the goal of having a diverse food source that produces feed over as long a time period as possible but as you said BSK, January and February are the difficult months when most all trees provide very little if anything for deer. I suppose food plots that grow well in the Winter are the only way to bridge that time span. I have a couple of small plots of No Plow out right now that have hardly been touched so hopefully I'm covered.

I'm going to try fertilizing some fencerows too this Spring. As a farmer, it seems stupid to fertilize "weeds" but, deer were eating weeds as a major part their diet long before hunters started growing stuff for them.

And the couple of times I've fertilized oaks in the late Winter, I did notice a big increase in deer activity around those particular trees. Of course that won't make them produce any later in the year.

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#3064893 - 12/05/12 02:49 PM Re: deer density [Re: Hunter 257W]
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Even in big ag areas, 50+% of a deer's diet in summer will be weeds. Although deer are classified as "woody browsers" (because of where they were first studied--big mature timber areas), they are actually "weed eaters" when weeds are available. They make up the majority of a deer's diet.

Winter food plots can really be a help, but so is natural browse. I first manage to produce as much natural browse as possible, and only after those needs are met do I begin working on winter food plots. Winter food plots can fail. Natural browse won't.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3065024 - 12/05/12 04:28 PM Re: deer density [Re: BSK]
Hunter 257W
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Have you noticed if deer show any preference for fertilized weeds vs. the same variety of plant that is unfertilized?
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#3065039 - 12/05/12 04:44 PM Re: deer density [Re: Hunter 257W]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: Hunter 257W
Have you noticed if deer show any preference for fertilized weeds vs. the same variety of plant that is unfertilized?


I'm not sure fertilization makes the plant more "tasty," but fertilization sure does make the weeds put on more and more rapid growth, and deer will almost always eat the parts of the plant that are growing most rapidly (because they have the lowest lignen content).


Although in many TN soils, liming weed areas will promote more growth than fertilization will.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3065051 - 12/05/12 04:50 PM Re: deer density [Re: BSK]
Hunter 257W
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Loc: Franklin County

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Yeah, the soil here tends to drift towards being acidic with pH's of high 5's to low 6's if you don't lime. I was under the impression though that most native plants tend to like or at least tolerate low pH conditions and that you really only need to worry about lime for food plots. Is there any website you can recommend where soil pH preference of different weeds can be found?
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#3065059 - 12/05/12 04:55 PM Re: deer density [Re: Hunter 257W]
BSK
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The reason many common weeds can tolerate acidic soils in TN is because our soils are so acidic the weeds have to build up tolerance or they could exist. But if soil pH were nuetralized, the current weeds would do better, and a much wider variety of weeds would develop. Go up to KY and look at the weed assembeldges that grow in their old pastures. It blows away what you will find in abandoned TN pastures, and the biggest difference is soil acidity and nutrient content.

I highly ,highly recommend that old overgrown fields and pastures be treated just like food plots--soil test them and lime/fertilize them.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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