Archive for the ‘Wildlife, Deer’ Category

Feed AntlerMax Deer 20 During Antler Growth Season

Sunday, January 1st, 2023

Deer with antlers eating from a deer plotFeed AntlerMax Deer 20 with Climate Guard during antler growth season. So much of what we do in the care and feeding of deer pass relatively unnoticed in the short term. But antler growth season is when “instant gratification” seekers can practically see results occur right before their eyes.

Growing at a rate of half an inch per day, antlers are some of the fastest growing tissues in the animal kingdom. That’s why it’s essential that deer consume the most nutritious diet of the year during antler growth season. Unfortunately, this is also the time when forage quality is typically low. However, there are things you can do to compensate.

Good Health

As winter comes to an end, breeding season is officially over, testosterone levels drop and bucks begin shedding their antlers. Usually, within a month, they’ll start growing their next set.

If the required nutrients are in short supply during the antler growth period, several things can happen—none of them good:

  • Antler growth rate can slow down. There’s only a small window of opportunity for antler growth (about 120 days a year), and an antler growing at the rate of 15 grams per day is obviously going to be smaller than one growing by 25 grams per day
  • Less dense antlers are more subject to breakage in rut fights
  • Desirable characteristics that affect Boone & Crockett Score, such as antler mass (volume and weight), number of points and beam circumference are negatively impacted by poor nutrition.

Growing a new set of antlers places huge demands on a buck’s body. Since a buck cannot eat enough in a day to mineralize his antlers, his body is forced to extract minerals from his ribs, sternum, and skull and deposit them in the antlers. As a result, his bone density may actually be diminished by as much as 30 percent. So not only does a buck have to grow antlers, he has to replenish the minerals in his bones in order to be able to do the same thing again next year. (This is why mineral nutrition is so critical even after antlers are finished growing.)

Hardened antlers are high in minerals, mostly calcium (about 20 percent) and phosphorus (about 10 percent), in addition to a lot of trace minerals such as zinc, copper, and manganese. Phosphorus, which is commonly deficient in many soils and plants throughout the US, is particularly critical. And what many people do not realize is that, even after they harden, antlers are still over 35% protein.

purina antler max-https://www.jandnfeedandseed.comGood Nutrition

Because antler growth is low on the priority list of functions required to sustain life, antlers only receive “what’s left” of nutrients after life-sustaining needs have been met. In other words, deer will not even begin to grow antlers until they’ve regained body condition (This is why a year-round feeding program gives you such a distinct advantage.)

So what can you do to ensure the best possible outcome during the antler growth period? From now through August, try feeding a diet that is formulated especially for optimal growth, density, and strength. A good option is Purina Mills® AntlerMax® Deer 20 product. This pelleted ration is 20-percent protein, highly palatable and should be fed free-choice to wild deer with access to good habitat or quality hay. Formulated with patented AntlerMax® Technology, it’s one of the most critical steps you can take right now to help deer attain their full potential—and satisfy your need for “instant gratification.”

Find out more about AntlerMax products here.

Hunting Attractants, Supplies & More

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

Bow Season has begun and whitetail deer rifle season is here! J&N Feed and Seed has the Hunting Attractants, feeds and equipment to help you get your hunt on!  We’ve got attractants from Big&J, Wild Game Innovators, Quick Draw, Double Down, and more. Pick up a bag of Sugar Beet Crush or BB2 Long Range Attractant today and sit back and watch the big deer come in.

Visit us at J&N Feed and Seed today and gear up for the season with our latest wildlife cameras from Browning Trail Cameras or pick up a new rifle scope or binoculars from Vortex Optics.  We also stock plenty of deer feed supplements such as Purina AntlerMax as well as whole deer corn. And, you need a YETI cooler to carry home your kill— we’ve got everything you need to get your hunt on at J&N Feed and Seed, right here in Graham, Texas!

Will Great Nutrition Guarantee Trophy Bucks?

Friday, July 29th, 2022

Will great nutrition guarantee trophy bucks? Great nutrition will give your deer the opportunity to maximize their genetic potential for antler growth, but it is just one (albeit an important one) of many factors that affect deer antler growth. Even assuming that you are providing the best nutrition possible, other things, some within your control and some not, will affect production of trophy racks.

Factors in deer antler growth

General health greatly influences a variety of factors that affect deer antler growth, such as feed intake and hormone production. If your deer are laboring under a parasite load (internal or external), clinical or sub-clinical disease challenges, or have been injured, antler growth will be negatively affected no matter how nutritious the feed because nutrition will be siphoned off to deal with these other issues. Good management must go hand-in-hand with nutrition to get optimum results.

Deer habitat and antler growth

Environmental conditions are also a factor. Climate can affect how much time a deer spends eating, moving around, resting, etc., and how much energy it expends just staying warm or cooling down. Stressors such as traffic or roaming dogs can upset deer, raising blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol and negatively impacting feeding behavior and nutrient usage. Even something like an improper feeder design can affect how much a deer will eat.

Hydration maximizes feed intake in deer

Water availability is critical. Research has shown that in many species of ruminants, if water intake is reduced even minimally, food intake drops also. Water must be fresh, clean, available, and away from stressors that might inhibit a deer’s water intake. Maximizing water intake will help maximize feed intake.

The genetic footprint

Genetics, of course, are very important. If a buck is genetically programmed to be average, then the best feed in the world will make him only average. Keep in mind, however, that a lesser feed will allow him to be only less than average. However, a buck genetically programmed to have a superior rack will not achieve that growth without optimal nutritional support. If you want your bucks to achieve their genetic potential, then you must feed them accordingly.

Population density relative to antler growth

Finally, there are population factors that can affect deer antler growth, primarily population density (how many animals are in a given space) and dominance relationships between bucks. Even mild crowding is a stressor that affects hormone levels, impacts feeding behavior, and leads to increased energy expenditure and even injuries due to increased movement and numbers of altercations. Bucks must be managed with their social hierarchy in mind if injuries are to be minimized and desired breeding strategies achieved.

All in all, while nutrition is extremely important, and great trophy racks will not be achieved without optimal nutrition, management and genetics are also critical to achieving superior antler growth.

Source: Purina Animal Nutrition

The Impact of Heat Stress on Deer

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Heat stress on deer can have metabolic and hormonal effects on ruminants that have significant production impacts including reduced feed intake, growth, milk production, and reproduction.Heat stress on deer can have metabolic and hormonal effects on ruminants that have significant production impacts including reduced feed intake, growth, milk production, and reproduction.1 By understanding heat stress, when it occurs, and its impact on deer can help improve management decisions.

Each species has a specific thermoneutral zone (TNZ) where the animal feels comfortable. At temperatures below and above the TNZ, the metabolic rate increases to keep the body warmer or cooler. Due to the increased metabolic rate, a greater amount of energy is needed and therefore negatively impacts health and productivity parameters. The temperature range for the TNZ is also affected by moisture, wind chill, solar radiation, body condition, and hair coat. In white-tailed deer, the transitional hair coat in the fall offered more protection against temperature extremes than the summer coat and results in a larger TNZ.5Heat stress occurs when the temperature or temperature-humidity indices (a combination of ambient temperature and relative humidity) go above the upper critical temperature of the TNZ. For northern white-tailed deer, the upper critical temperature is 68°F during the summer and 77° in the winter.5 See Table 1 for the TNZ of selected cervid species.

White-tailed deer reduce movement, spend more time lying, seek cooler locations, look for shelter from solar radiation, and pant to dissipate heat during heat stress.5 As panting increases, there is an increased risk of rumen acidosis due to a decrease in rumen buffering capacity through increased exhalation of CO2 and loss of saliva by drooling.1 Elk rarely pant, but sweat to cool off.6 Deer under climatic stress, like heat, can have a negative effect on nutritional status at a time when growth, lactation, and antler production occurs. This reduction in productive activity is partly due to reduced feed intake, altered endocrine status, reduced rumination, nutrient absorption, and increased maintenance requirements.1 This results in reduced energy and nutrient availability. If heat stress occurs and results in a negative energy balance just after fawning, there could be an increased risk of metabolic disorders, health problems, decreased milk yield, and reduced reproductive performance.3 Reduced nutrient intake during lactation can also lead to inefficient nitrogen incorporation into microbial proteins in the rumen and loss of amino acids that were mobilized from skeletal muscle.1 Feed conversion efficiency is reduced in part due to increased energy expended to rid the body of excess heat and reduced digestibility of higher fiber forages.4

The goal is to reduce the potential impact of heat stress to keep animals eating and in positive energy balance. One of those management activities could be to provide additional cover in the form of improved habitat, stands of trees, or artificial shade structures.7 Because water is important to help dissipate heat, make sure deer have access to fresh water near every feeder or every 300 acres.7

Through Purina’s deer research program, a patent-pending mixture of plant extracts, Climate Guard® supplement, was identified that support deer during climatic stress events like heat. Climate Guard® supplement has been added to all Purina® AntlerMax® deer feed, except AntlerMax® Deer Mineral and Extreme Energy supplement.

Shop J&N Feed and Seed in Graham, Texas, for Purina Climate Guard Supplement. While you are here, ask us about our feeder filling services.
Source: Michael Schlegel, Ph.D., PAS, Dipl. ACAS-Nutrition
Sr. Nutritionist, Wildlife & Small Ruminant Technical Solutions
Table 1. Thermoneutral zones for selected cervid species
                                                         Thermoneutral Zone
Specie SeasonA Lower Critical
temperature, F
Upper critical
temperature, F
White-tailed deer Sp, Su, Fa
1Holter et al., 1975
1Holter et al., 1975
Black-tailed deer Su
2Bunnell, 1990
2Bunnell, 1990
Mule deer Su
5Paker & Robins, 1984
5Paker & Robins, 1984
Elk Wn -4 68 6Paker & Robins, 1984
ASp=Spring, Su=Summer, Fa=Fall, Wn=Winter

1Bernabucci, U., N. Lacetera, L.H. Baumgard, R.P. Rhoads, B. Ronchi, and A. Nardone. 2010. Metabolic and hormonal acclimation to heat stress in domesticated ruminants. Animal 4:1167-1183.

2Bunnell, F.L. 1990. Ecology of black-tailed deer. In: Deer and Elk Habitats in Coastal Forests of Southern British Columbia, J.B. Nyberg and D.W. Janz, eds. Research Branch, Ministry of Forests, Province of British Columbia, Victoria, pp 31-63.

3Drackley, J.K. 1999. Biology of dairy cows during the transition period: The final frontier? Journal of Dairy Science. 82:2259-2273.

4Fuquay, J.W. 1981. Heat stress as it affects animal production. Journal of Animal Science. 52:164-174.

5Holter, J.B., W.E. Urban, Jr., H.H. Hayes, H. Silver, and H.R. Skutt. 1975. Ambient temperature effects on physiological traits of white-tailed deer. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 53:679-685.

6Parker, K.L., and C.T. Robbins. 1984. Thermoregulation in mule deer and elk. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 62:1409-1422.

7Schreiber, C. 2015. Research suggest south Texas heat impacts deer productivity. Texas Wildlife. August:50-51.

8Silanikove, N. 2000. Effects of heat stress on the welfare of extensively managed domestic ruminants. Livestock Production Science. 67:1-18.

9Tomeček, J.M. and M. Russell, 2016. Managing heat for wildlife on Texas rangelands. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. EWF=034.  Available at:

2022 – 2023 Texas Hunting Season

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

Texas Parks & Wildlife released the 2022 – 2023 Texas Hunting Season dates. Check them out below. You can find more information on their website. Before you head to the lease, stop by J&N Feed and Seed for all your hunting supplies, feeds, and attractants. Ask us about our feeder setup and filling services!

    Javelina season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General North Oct. 1 – Feb. 262022 – 2023 Texas Hunting Season dates are published, take a look here. Shop J&N Feed in Graham, Texas, for feeders, attractants, and more.
    South Sep. 1 – Aug. 31


    Mule deer season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General Panhandle Nov. 19 – Dec. 4
    Trans-Pecos Nov. 25 – Dec. 11
    Archery 59 of 254 counties Oct. 1 – Nov. 4


    Pronghorn season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General 41 of 254 counties Oct. 1-16


    Squirrel season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General East Texas Oct. 1 – Feb. 26 & May 1-31
    Other open counties Sep. 1 – Aug. 31
    Youth-only East Texas Sep. 24 – 25


    White-tailed deer season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General North Nov. 5 – Jan. 1
    South Nov. 5 – Jan. 15
    Special Late North Jan. 2-15
    South Jan. 16-29
    Youth-Only North Oct. 29-30 & Jan. 2-15
    South Oct. 29-30 & Jan. 2-15
    Archery 252 of 254 counties Oct. 1 – Nov. 4
    Muzzleloader 90 of 254 counties Jan. 2-15



    Chachalaca season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr & Willacy Counties Oct. 29 – Feb. 26


    Pheasant season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Panhandle Dec. 3 – Jan. 1


    Quail season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Statewide Oct. 29 – Feb. 26


    Rio Grande Turkey
    Rio Grande Turkey season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Fall North Nov. 5 – Jan. 1
    South Nov. 5 – Jan. 15
    Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg & Willacy counties Nov. 5 – Feb. 26
    Archery-only Oct. 1 – Nov. 4
    Fall Youth-only North Oct. 29-30 & Jan. 2-15
    South Oct. 29-30 & Jan. 16-29
    Spring North April 1 – May 14
    South Mar. 18 – Apr. 30
    One-turkey counties Apr. 1-30
    Spring Youth-Only North Mar. 25-26 & May 20-21
    South Mar. 11-12 & May 6-7
    Eastern Turkey
    Eastern Turkey season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Spring East Texas Apr. 22 – May 14


  • DOVE
    Dove season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular North Sep. 1 – Nov. 13 & Dec. 17 – Jan. 1
    Central Sep. 1 – Oct. 30 & Dec. 17 – Jan. 15
    South Sep. 14 – Oct. 30 & Dec. 17 – Jan. 22
    Special White-winged Dove Days South Sep. 2-4 & Sept. 9-11


  • DUCK
    Duck season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular High Plains Mallard Management Unit Oct. 29-30 & Nov. 4 – Jan. 29
    North Nov. 12-27 & Dec. 3 – Jan. 29
    South Nov. 5-27 & Dec. 10 – Jan. 29
    Youth/Veterans High Plains Mallard Management Unit Oct. 22-23
    North Nov. 5-6
    South Oct. 29-30


    Goose season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Early Canada Goose East Sep. 10- 25
    Light & Dark Geese West Nov. 5 – Feb. 5
    East Nov. 5- Jan. 29
    Light Goose Conservation Order West Feb. 6 – Mar. 12
    East Jan. 30 – Mar. 12


    Rails, Gallinules & Moorhens hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Statewide Sep. 10-25 & Nov. 5 – Dec. 28


    Sandhill Cranes hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular A Oct. 29 – Jan. 29
    B Nov. 25 – Jan. 29
    C Dec. 17 – Jan. 22


    Common season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Statewide Nov. 5 – Feb. 19


  • TEAL
    Teal hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    September Teal Only Statewide Sep. 10-25


    Woodcock hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Statewide Dec. 18 – Jan. 31



    Alligator hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General 22 Counties & Special Properties Sep. 10-30
    All Other Counties Apr. 1-June 30


    Rabbits and Hares hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Statewide No closed season

Double Down Deer Feed & Mineral

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Double Down Deer Feed at J&N Feed and Seed in Graham, Texas.Double Down Deer Feed and Double Down Custom Mineral are now available at J&N Feed and Seed.

Double Down Deer Feed is a custom blend originally created for the Holden Pasture Deer Lease.

  • Formulated with the highest quality ingredients.
  • Contains ZERO least-cost rations and ZERO grain by-products.
  • Includes a quality yeast culture to aid in digestion and support a healthy rumen.
  • Contains one of the highest pelletized TDN  (Total Digestible Nutrient) levels on the deer feed market.
  • Developed with proven attractants to draw in and attract overall consumption.

Double Down Custom Minerals  – Contains a vitamin package with increased concentrations of Vitamin A, Double Down Deer Feed Custom Mineral available at J&N Feed and Seed.Vitamin D, and Vitamin E.

  • Mineral package contains key proteinates such as Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, and Cobalt Proteinate.
  • A quality yeast culture included aiding in the digestion and distribution of Double Down® Custom Minerals.
  • Contains proprietary attractants to aid in consumption.
  • Mix custom minerals with deer corn at a rate of 8lbs DDCM to 300lbs corn.

Shop J&N Feed and Seed in Graham, Texas, for wildlife feeds, feeders, attractants, and of course firearms. We offer feed and feeder delivery and set up as well as filling services and feeder repair services.


Fall Seed & Fertilizer

Monday, August 30th, 2021

fall seedNow is the time to get your fall seed. We have over 40 types of seed including wheat, oats, barley,  assorted ryegrass seed including Elbon and Marshall Rye, and additives such as chicory and buck plot mixes.  Whether your seeding for livestock grazing, wildlife feed plots or something else, we’ve got the fall seed for you! Not sure what you need? Stop by and talk with our experts, we’re here to help!

We also carry a variety of bagged and bulk fertilizer. Need help getting your bulk fertilizer home? No problem! Use one of our fertilizer buggies free of charge! Stop by J & N Feed and Seed or call us for delivery at (940) 549-4631.

It’s Time To Plant Food Plot Mixes

Saturday, August 29th, 2020

Food Plot MixesA food plot is a planted area set aside to act as a food source for wildlife. The term was coined by the U.S. hunting and outdoor industries. Food plots generally consist of, but are not limited to, legumes (clovers, alfalfa, beans, etc.) or forage grasses.

We are at the start date to plant winter food plots for deer. Product selection in this area is vast.  At J&N Feed and Seed, we carry a large number of food plot mixes including wheat, oats, winter peas, chicory, clover, turnips and alfalfa.  Stop by today and choose your plot mix. If you have any questions please give us a call or stop by the store.

2020 – 2021 Texas Hunting Season Dates

Monday, July 20th, 2020

Texas Parks & Wildlife released the 2020 – 2021 Texas Hunting Season dates. Check them out below. You can find more information on their website. Stop by J&N Feed and Seed for all your hunting supplies, feeds, and attractants. Also, be sure to ask us about our feeder filling services.

Texas Parks & Wildlife logoAlligator
22 Counties & special properties: Sep 10 — 30, 2020
All Other Counties: Apr 1 — June 30, 2021

Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr & Willacy Counties: Oct 31 — Feb 28, 2021

North Zone
Sep 1 — Nov 12, 2020 & Dec 18, 2020 — Jan 3, 2021

Central Zone
Sep 1 — Nov 1, 2020 & Dec 18, 2020 — Jan 14, 2021

South Zone
Regular season: Sep 14 — Nov 1, 2020 & Dec 18, 2020 — Jan 23, 2021
Additional days for Special White-winged Dove season: Sep. 5, 6, 12, 13 (special regulations apply)

North Zone
Regular season: Nov 14 — 29, 2020 & Dec 5, 2020 — Jan 31, 2021
Youth-only: Nov 7 — 8, 2020

South Zone
Regular season: Nov 7 — 29, 2020 & Dec 12, 2020 — Jan 31, 2021
Youth-only: Oct 31 — Nov 1, 2020

High Plains Mallard Management Unit (HPMMU)
Regular season: Oct 31 — Nov 1, 2020 & Nov 6, 2020 — Jan 31, 2021
Youth-only: Oct 24 — 25, 2020

Gallinule, Rail, Moorhen
Sep 12 — 27 & Nov 7 – Dec 30, 2020

East Zone
Early Canada goose: Sep 12 — 27, 2020
Light & dark geese: Nov 7, 2020 — Jan 31, 2021
Light goose conservation order: Feb 1 — Mar 14, 2021

West Zone
Light & dark geese: Nov 14, 2020 — Feb 14, 2021
Light goose conservation order: Feb 15 — Mar 14, 2021

North Zone: Oct 1, 2020 — Feb 28, 2021
South Zone: Sep 1, 2020 — Aug 31, 2021

Mule Deer
General Season
Panhandle: Nov 21 — Dec 6, 2020
SW Panhandle: Nov 21 — 29, 2020
Trans-Pecos: Nov 27 — Dec 13, 2020

Archery Season
Oct 3 — Nov 6, 2020

Panhandle: Dec 5, 2020 — Jan 3, 2021

Oct 3 — 11, 2020

Statewide: Oct 31, 2020 — Feb 28, 2021

Rabbits & Hares
No closed season.

Sandhill Crane
Zone A: Oct 31, 2020 — Jan 31, 2021
Zone B: Nov 27, 2020 — Jan 31, 2021
Zone C: Dec 19, 2020 — Jan 24, 2021

East Texas: Oct 1, 2020 — Feb 28, 2021 & May 1 — 31, 2021
Other Open Counties: Sep 1, 2020 — Aug 31, 2021
Youth-Only Season: Sep 26 — 27, 2020

Nov 7, 2020 — Feb 21, 2021

Sep 12 — 27, 2020

Rio Grande Turkey
Fall Season
North Zone: Nov 7, 2020 — Jan 3, 2021
South Zone: Nov 7, 2020 — Jan 17, 2021
Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg & Willacy counties: Nov 7, 2020 — Feb 28, 2021
Archery-Only: Oct 3 — Nov 6, 2020

Fall Youth-Only
North Zone: Oct 31 — Nov 1, 2020 & Jan 4 — 17, 2021
South Zone: Oct 31 — Nov 1, 2020 & Jan 18 — 31, 2021

Spring Season
North Zone: Apr 3 — May 16, 2021
South Zone: Mar 20 — May 2, 2021
One-turkey counties: April 1 — 30, 2021

Spring Youth-Only
North Zone: Mar 27 — 28 & May 22 — 23, 2021
South Zone: Mar 13 — 14 & May 8 — 9, 2021

Eastern Turkey
Spring Season
East Texas: Apr 22 — May 14, 2021

White-tailed Deer

General Season
North Zone: Nov 7, 2020 — Jan 3, 2021
South Zone: Nov 7, 2020 — Jan 17, 2021

Special Late Season
North Zone: Jan 4 — 17, 2021
South Zone: Jan 18 — 31, 2021

Youth-Only Seasons
Early Season: Oct 31 — Nov 1, 2020
Late Season: Jan 4 — 17, 2021

Archery Season
Oct 3 — Nov 6, 2020
Muzzleloader-Only Season
Jan 4 — 17, 2021

Dec 18, 2020 — Jan 31, 2021

Texas Parks & Wildlife logo

Fall is Prime Time to Begin a Supplemental Feeding Program for Deer

Friday, September 6th, 2019

A buck can have the best genetics in the world, but without the proper nutrition, he’ll never achieve his potential. One way to stack the deck in his favor is to supplement his nutrition. Fall is an excellent time to begin this.
But before we talk about how to initiate a supplemental feeding program, let’s evaluate the big picture.
The goal: Produce larger bucks with massive antlers. Some big obstacles to that goal:

  • Lack of high quality forage in fall and winter.
  • Stresses due to inclement weather.
  • In fall, deer are heading into a natural period of low metabolism and poor appetite. During the rut, a buck may spend only 20 to 30 minutes per day eating.
  • Burned calories during the rut will greatly deplete any existing stockpiles of nutrients.
  • Antler growth is low on the priority list of functions required to sustain life, so next spring, antlers will receive “what’s left” of nutrients after life-sustaining needs have been met. Deer will not begin growing antlers until they’ve regained body condition.
  • Nutritional deficiencies early in life can stunt a buck’s growth and antler size for the rest of his life, even if he is well fed as an adult.

The opportunity: Fall is one of the best times to initiate a supplemental feeding program because…

  • Fall forage is less available and of poorer quality, so deer are already instinctively searching for new food sources and may be more accepting of an unfamiliar feed form.
  • Getting deer to fully accept a feed form such as pellets can take weeks or months. By beginning the transition in the fall, deer can be fully acclimated by the time severe weather arrives.
  • Antlers are high in protein content (which is why feeding corn won’t produce bigger antlers). Now is the prime time for the body to start stockpiling protein before spring antler-growing season.
  • When a deer goes into winter in optimal body condition, it is less likely to deplete all of its nutrition stores by spring.

The plan: Now that we’ve established the need for a supplemental nutrition program, how do we do it? Here are a few basic steps:

  • Provide the essentials. Deer need three basic things to survive and thrive—food, water and cover. If any one of these three critical factors is insufficient, deer will go elsewhere.
  • Place your feeders along frequently used runways or trails.
  • Be sure to place enough feeders so that deer do not have to travel more than one-half to three-quarters of a mile to a feeder. A good rule of thumb is one feeder per 300-400 acres.
  • Make sure your feeding area has good visibility, access to fresh, clean water and an easy escape route to nearby cover.
  • Place your feeders near the center of your land to keep deer on your property. Do not place feeders along fence lines, roads, power lines or in a large opening.
  • Choose the right diet. With 16 percent protein, AntlerMax® Rut & Conditioning Deer
  • Chow® 16 product is the ideal fall and winter body conditioning diet to set the stage for big antler growth next spring. It has a highly palatable, strong flavor to attract deer and AntlerMax® Deer & Elk Mineral supplement for strong, dense antler growth.
  • One free-choice feeder can comfortably feed 25 free-ranging deer, each consuming 1 to 2 pounds of AntlerMax® Rut & Conditioning Deer Chow® 16 product per day.
  • Deer do not recognize protein pellets as food, but they are accustomed to seeing corn as a food source in the wild. Entice them to the protein pellets by initially mixing corn with the pellets (start with 75 percent corn, 25 percent pellets).
  • Deer do not like abrupt changes in feed, so make them gradually. Once deer are accustomed to eating protein pellets from a feeder, gradually phase out the corn. (NOTE: Although corn provides digestible energy, corn inherently lacks the nutrients needed for strong antler growth. Corn may help deer survive, but it won’t help them thrive. In fact, gorging on too much corn too fast can actually cause a deer to founder and die.)
  • Remember, pellets should be a supplement to, not a replacement for forage.
  • Make sure deer have access to a constant supply of fresh, clean water near your feeder. A deer requires about 3 pounds of water for every pound of dry matter consumed.
  • Plan on feeding year ‘round so that bucks never slip into below-average body condition.
  • Otherwise, next spring, nutrients will be allocated to “playing catch up” instead of to antler growth.
  • Be sure to wear gloves when handling the feeder and feed. Human scent can repel deer.
  • Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Once you’ve spent all this effort to attract deer to a feeding area, NEVER hunt near the feeding area.

Don’t get discouraged. It won’t happen overnight. In fact, the better the forage conditions, the tougher it is to get deer to start eating pellets. But fall is a prime opportunity.
There are many, many more tips and strategies for establishing a successful supplemental nutrition program than we can include here.

Stop by J&N Feed and Seed in Graham, Texas and talk to us about your supplemental feeding needs. We’re here to help.


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