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#343222 - 08/15/07 09:28 AM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: wcsd462]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 64248
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: wcsd462
BSK
I do agree that natural habitat is an important factor in managing, holding and killing big deer, but if you dont have the right natural habitat I think it should be up to the land owner not the goverment to do what he thinks will work best for his land,whether it is re planting tree's that were logged or planting native brows or even puttng out feeder's. I only have about six oak tree's on my property due to logging,{This was done pryor to me buying it}. In the past couple of years the oaks I do have have not produced so the deer dont hang around becouse the neighbors do have oak's, so in order to compete I feed, I put in food plots,minerals stations I even did some burning to try to promote the groth of natural vegetation. If their was anything else to do I would do that to. The name of the game for me is to hold as many deer on my property as I can to keep the trigger happy neighbors from killing every thing that moves. Age is the first key in killing big deer, second is genetics,{cast do anything about that} third is nutrition, that is where I can help out and at the same time I may see more deer while I am hunting hell I may even help grow the buck of my lifetime.


wcsd462,

I somewhat agree with you. Landowners and hunters should do all they can to improve the necessary resources for wildlife on their properties. However, that should be done in the safest manner possible. Now even improving the habitat has its risks, potentially producing over-population problems that carry their own unique risks. But the artificial feeding of wildlife out of trough or feeders is pushing the risk too far. The Southeast Wildlife Disease Study Group lists artificial feeding as one of the two greatest threats to wildlife in America today. Artificial feeding has been PROVEN to produce devistating disease outbreaks. Studies done in NC found that half of all bait/feeder sites tested showed levels of aflatoxin contamination high enough to cause significant poisoning of wildlife. The Southeast Wildlife Disease Study Group is finding new and unknown diseases appearing in areas where feeding/baiting is legal, but those diseases are not being seen where feeding/baiting is illegal.

The artificial feeding of deer from troughs/feeders is simply a very, very bad idea biologically. Now I'm not saying that improving the habitat doesn't have it's risks too, as it does. Increased deer densities that often result from improved habitat does increase the risk of spreading contagious diseases, as there are more deer inhabitating the same area. But the close contact that occurs at feeders and bait sites is unlike what occurs in natural feeding situations, hence GREATLY increases the risk of disease transmission.
_________________________
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"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#343625 - 08/15/07 01:11 PM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 18687
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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BSK, truer words never spoken.

 Originally Posted By: BSK
As I mentioned previously, I hate discussing this topic.

People are going to do whatever they want to do, regardless of "the facts." Even when they understand that smoking absolutely shortens your life and gives you a 50/50 chance of developing smoking related cancer, they will still smoke.

No matter how often you point out that feeding wildlife has been proven to cause devastating disease outbreaks that destroy local economies (see the cattle industry of MI due to the spread of bovine tuberculosis by artificial feeding of deer), and cause inumerable other wildlife and habitat related damage, they are still going to feed deer.

People are always going to take what they believe to be the easy route to accomplish what they want, even if the "easy route" is dangerous and when much safer yet more long-term alternatives exist. We want want we want, and we want it now, future be damned.


I have previously stayed out of this, and on one hand I wish I had time to address some of this in more detail. But on the other hand, "What's the point"? If you guys are unwilling to listen to experts in the field like BSK and BigGameGuy, then you surely could care less what I know about this subject.

But I will add a small two cents.

I have attended some Southeast Deer Study Group meetings where the facts on supplemental feeding were simply shocking to me. And they were the facts, not what people "want" to believe.

Knowing what I know, I would simply be scared to death now to do any supplemental feeding of corn in Tennessee. It is simply not worth the risks. (I'm talking from a feeder, not growing it in a field, as I see little risk in growing it and leaving it for wildlife. There is also little risk in feeding corn in Texas, but different story in Tennessee.)

Although I didn't realize what was happening at the time, I am now convinced I wiped out the turkey population in a large area of Stewart County by legally feeding some corn during the summer months. My best estimate is I killed about 80 adult turkeys, and no telling how many young poults. All it takes is one kernel of bad corn to kill a full-grown old gobbler. What I lost in turkeys far negated any additional deer pics I might have obtained by feeding corn. And I have no way of knowing how many young deer were killed by that same corn --- young deer are the most susceptible ---- and there will be absolutely no evidence to show they died ---- no bones, no nothing.

But aside from killing turkeys and young deer by "bad" corn, the next most relavant damage many hunters should fear is stunting antler growth ---- feeding corn in the summer will stunt antler growth. This doesn't mean the otherwise healthy deer will not grow nice antlers ---- it just means they would have been yet larger had you not been feeding them corn. Deer that are being supplementally fed corn during the antler-growing period will consequently eat less other stuff that's more important for growing larger antlers ---- protein --- the protein found in naturally growing native forbs (broadleaf weeds like ragweed) and clovers.

Think about it.
If you fill up on candy right before dinner, will you be inclined to eat less of the healthy food available for dinner?
That's what happens when you supplementally feed deer corn during the summer: They eat more carbs, and less protein.

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#343640 - 08/15/07 01:19 PM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: wcsd462]
Winchester
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Registered: 12/05/03
Posts: 27325
Loc: TN

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 Quote:
---- and there will be absolutely no evidence to show they died ---- no bones, no nothing.
Wes, I agree feeding is not a good idea, but would you explain your above statement. I have yet to ever see something die and then vanish in to thin air! Does the deer fairy suck these aflotoxin deer up at death and take care of the carcass??? LOL

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#343705 - 08/15/07 01:39 PM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: Wes Parrish]
wcsd462
4 Point


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 322
Loc: Wilson Co.

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BSK/Wes
Ok... Since I dont know everything, and I like to keep an open mind on things tell me, what causes these problems? Are these diseases caused by what Wes called "bad corn" or are they something that deer just get and then spread when the infected animal comes in contact with another deer. What is bad corn or bad feed? I do know It doesnt need to lay on the groung and rot.
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#343739 - 08/15/07 01:51 PM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: Winchester]
Greg .
aPoStROpHe PolIcE
16 Point


Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 11107
Loc: NC Piedmonts

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Winchester,

The point Wes is making is to head off the "if I don't find deer carcasses, they're not dying" argument. We KNOW deer die out in the woods all year long, but how many deer skeletons do we find? The answer is hardly any.

I'm still amazed at how many of those horses refuse to drink.
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Abandon all rational and unbiased thought. Just blame Boooosh.
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#345354 - 08/16/07 07:26 AM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: Winchester]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 64248
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: Winchester
 Quote:
---- and there will be absolutely no evidence to show they died ---- no bones, no nothing.
Wes, I agree feeding is not a good idea, but would you explain your above statement. I have yet to ever see something die and then vanish in to thin air! Does the deer fairy suck these aflotoxin deer up at death and take care of the carcass??? LOL


Winchester,

When it comes to young deer, especially fawns, they can die in extraordinary numbers, yet their bodies are so small and the skeletons so under-developed that they rot away and are consumed so completely be scavengers that rarely will anyone find a dead fawn carcass.

Think about this: fawn mortality studies across the Southeast will come up with a wide range of numbers, but the average between all these studies is around 50%. That means that half of all fawns born die before hunting season every year. In all your years of hunting/scouting how many dead fawns have you found? At 30 deer per square mile, 7-10 fawns die per square mile every summer every year. If you have been hunting for 20 years, that's almost 200 dead fawns per square mile over that time-frame, yet how many of those have you found dead? I work in the woods 3-4 days per week all year round and have done so for almost 10 years, but I can count on one hand the number of dead fawns I've found.

We had a project in westcentral GA where the deer were extremely over-populated and the herd was very unhealthy. Fawn survival was extremely low. Fetal counts from harvested does showed the average doe late in preganancy was carrying on average 1.3 fetuses. That means, for every 10 does, 13 fawns were being born. Yet fawn recruitment was only 10% (by hunting season there was only 1 surviving fawn per every 10 does). 12 of every 13 fawns born each year would die before October, yet you could walk around this park-like property (the browse-line was so severe you could see 200 yards through the woods in summertime) and never find a dead fawn. That is until we did some controlled burning. Once all the leaf litter had been burned away, they ground was absolutely covered in little bits and pieces of fawn bones.

In West Virgian a few years ago, a couple of locations experienced an HD die-off that killed 30% of the entire deer herd (and those parts of West Virginia have fairly high deer densities). Yet not a single person called to report a dead deer. Not a single person noticed this major die-off other than some field biologists.

Deer can die in amazing numbers and no one will notice. Scavengers are amazingly effecient at cleaning up Nature's excess.
_________________________
"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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#345393 - 08/16/07 07:48 AM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: wcsd462]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 64248
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: wcsd462
BSK/Wes
Ok... Since I dont know everything, and I like to keep an open mind on things tell me, what causes these problems? Are these diseases caused by what Wes called "bad corn" or are they something that deer just get and then spread when the infected animal comes in contact with another deer. What is bad corn or bad feed? I do know It doesnt need to lay on the groung and rot.


wcsd462,

Two different problems were talking about here. The first is contagious disease transmission at feeder sites. Infectious organisms (bacteria and viruses) generally will not live long outside of the host's (infected animal's) body. Another animal must place it's nose/mouth/eyes on that infectious organism fairly quickly (hours) to become infected.

When deer feed naturally, they do not place their mouths on the same food source in rapid succession. As a group of deer feed, they spread out and each deer bites off just the best part of a particular plant. Since the best part of that particular twig/plant has already been eaten, other deer in the group will not feed on that plant, reducing the opportunity for an infectious organism deposited by the first deer to be picked up by the other deer. However, with feeders, every deer in a group and all following groups place their mouths/noses right into the exact spot every preceding deer did in rapid succession so saliva and other fluids are rapidly shared between many deer, GREATLY increasing the spread of any contagious disease. The differences in the transmission rate of a contagious disease between deer feeding/behaving naturally and those feeding from feeders is astronomical.

The second problem discussed is aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is the byproduct of a specific type of mold that grows on many cereal grains, but is most often found on corn. Even very, very tiny amounts of aflatoxin can be fatal to wildlife, and even if it isn't immediately fatal, it will cause permanent liver damage that will cause that animal to be unhealthy for life.

Because of this risk, many states require any corn sold for feeding to livestock OR wildlife must be certified aflatoxin free (have been tested and shown to contain no aflatoxin). TX is one of those states. Unfortunately, TN is not one of those states. Since there is no requirment to ensure corn is aflatoxin free in TN, producers from states that do have this requirement dump all their aflatoxin-tainted corn into the TN market. In fact, it can be extremely difficult to find corn for sale in TN that is certified aflatoxin free. Much of the "deer corn" sold in our state has a tag on it saying that it may contain up to 20 parts per billion of aflatoxin, which is enough to kill every adult turkey that eats it.

The mold that produces aflatoxin grows fastest in hot, wet weather. That is why feeding corn in the summer, especially in the South, is such a bad idea. I've seen fresh corn poured out yet within three days of wet weather the corn is a pile of gray fur it has so much mold on it. Any animal that ate that corn is probably dead.
_________________________
"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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#345635 - 08/16/07 09:24 AM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: BSK]
TOW
10 Point


Registered: 06/29/05
Posts: 4196
Loc: Back 40

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Well, after that .. are you guys still going to feed "your deer and turkeys"??
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#345711 - 08/16/07 09:55 AM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: TOW]
89montero
10 Point


Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 3900
Loc: ParisTN Henry Co. TN /Roswell ...

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YES...
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#345723 - 08/16/07 10:00 AM Re: Feeding Deer [Re: 89montero]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 18687
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: TOW
Well, after that .. are you guys still going to feed "your deer and turkeys"??
NO . . . Not me.

If I were in Texas, I might feed a little corn (just not during the antler growing months), and use it as "bait" during August for getting more trail cam pics. But I'm in Tennessee, where the Texans send all their infected corn that's pulled from the market down there due to its containing "deadly aflatoxins". (And IMO, salt licks are about as effective for getting trail cam pics of bucks in August as corn feeders.)

Unlike Texas, we have two high risk factors they don't have:

1) We know we have a high chance of feeding aflatoxin-infected "deer" corn from the get-go.

2) We have a high chance of aflatoxin developing (even it we were feeding aflatoxin-free corn) because of our high humidity, whereas Texas has a more arid climate.

And like BSK points out, it's hard to know you're causing liver damage on what could grow into your prized buck, maybe shortening his life expectancy, maybe causing him to be more susceptible to a disease that causes him to die prematurely. And although the impact is unknown, it is known that any decrease in health is expected to stunt antler growth. So feed "good" corn in the spring/summer, and you're causing your deer to replace needed protein (for antler growth) with unneeded carbs from corn. Feed "bad" corn and you cause them to become sickly or die.

But this is not just an issue of my not doing it because it's both harmful and deadly to deer and turkeys. It's basically going to kill any bird that eats it --- as well as rabbits, raccoons, etc.

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