Growing Bucks by the Bushel

Annuals for Wildlife
BY Dana R. Rogers

They just couldn’t help themselves. The temperature was in the single digits with a steady gale from the northwest. As I sat in my ground blind this cold December afternoon I watched a steady parade of whitetails march from thick bedding cover out into my five acres of corn and soybeans. It was the only grain left standing for miles after all the neighbors’ combines had finished running. The thick blanket of snow covered those barren fields. The herd really had no choice but to congregate on the last available food source I’d left for them. That evening I arrowed a fat, four-year old that would score in that 140- inch range. I’d seen him on trail camera pictures from previous
winters, but he didn’t live on this farm. Like most of the other deer, he wound up here because this property held the best food.

For us gamekeepers though, it’s not just about hunting season. It’s about improving habitat and available nutritiofor the overall health of the wildlife. Poor nutrition can derail separate aspects of an otherwise well-planned management program. So obviously, we managers seek to provide higher quality food.

Understanding and managing deer nutrition is complex because the quality of food can be defined in many ways and deer nutrient requirements vary seasonally and regionally. From a nutritional standpoint, energy is the potential to do work. Energy is made available when organic compounds are metabolized. The composition of food determines its gross energy content. For example, carbohydrates have 4.5 kcal/g and fats have 9 kcal/g of gross energy. Proteins and minerals are also an important piece of the puzzle, but they are relied on more heavily during the spring and summer, when fawns are in their final weeks of development and antler growth is taking place. Energy is needed more during the fall and winter stress periods.

Carbohydrates and fats are the two primary sources of energy for deer. Fats are high in gross energy and are highly digestible. Carbohydrates can be highly digestible (corn, beans and other grains) or poorly digestible (mature grasses). A steady diet of high quality protein that is easily digested is essential in maximizing antler and fawn development. There are many different crops that will help provide a great diet of nutrition to your wildlife, but by far my favorite plantings involve spring annuals such as corn and soybeans.

With a protein level of 7 to 10 percent, corn is high in fat and carbohydrates. In addition to providing a tasty meal and energy source for deer, corn makes outstanding bedding and thermal cover for deer if left un-harvested. Here in the northern plains, a few acres of standing corn serves as a winter bedding area in addition to a high-energy food source.

Corn prefers well-drained, loamy soils with a pH between 6.0 & 7.0. Herbicides or the use of some form of cultivation will be necessary in order to establish a good stand. By planting Roundup Ready corn you can remove the  seed to till and completely take care of any weed competition.

That’s the option I prefer but it comes with more expense.

Click Here to read the rest of this article in Gamekeepers Magazine!

Entertainment

Southern Belles Vie for Union Soldier’s Affections in Sofia Coppola’s Sublime Tale of Seduction

  The Beguiled Film Review by Kam Williams Southern Belles Vie for Union Soldier's Affections in Sofia Coppola's Sublime Tale of Seduction  The Beguiled is a Civil War saga based on the best seller of the same name by the late novelist/playwright Thomas Cullinan (1919-1995). The sublime tale of seduction was first adapted to the screen in … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Gil’s Goodwill!

  Gil Robertson The “Book of Black Heroes” Interview with Kam Williams Gil's Goodwill! For nearly three decades, writer/author Gil L. Robertson, IV has used the written word to enlighten, empower and uplift. The one-time political organizer initially made his mark in entertainment journalism, penning over 50 national magazine covers and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

How to Hire a Winner in Real Estate

  How to Hire a Winner in Real Estate by Amy Lignor   You want to buy that new house because the twins are on their way. Little Betty and Little John are already there, but who knew you would have even more so soon? What’s that? Oh…well, of course, in order to buy that new home with four bedrooms instead of two, you will also need to sell … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Ejogo’s Largo!

    Carmen Ejogo The “It Comes at Night” Interview with Kam Williams Ejogo's Largo! Carmen Ejogo has established a distinguished career in both feature films and television. She is best known thus far for her leading role of civil rights activist ‘Coretta Scott King’ opposite David Oyelowo in Ava DuVernay's universally acclaimed … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Tidewater 230 LXF Combines Luxury, Family Friendly Features

  Tidewater 230 LXF Combines Luxury, Family Friendly Features By Craig Lamb Are you looking for a family friendly, center console fishing rig in the 23-foot class? Your search is over with the 230 LXF from Tidewater Boats. The all-new 230 LXF has a centerline of 23’ with a wide beam spanning 8’ 10.” The boat weighs 3,200 pounds and has a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

You Don’t Have to be Greek to be a “Zorba” Fanatic

  You Don’t Have to be Greek to be a “Zorba” Fanatic by Amy Lignor   No, the sport is not called ‘Zorba’, but it most definitely fits for this article’s title. This most unusual sport is actually called ‘Zorbing’, and has caught on like wildfire across the globe. And now, seeing as that the NBA has wrapped, with Golden State proving that … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects

  Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects by Amy Lignor   There are a whole list of summer activities for you and the kids planned. Most of them, of course, you want to be nothing but fun, such as grilling outside on the patio or swimming in the pool. However, having the backyard pool and patio are two things you really need in … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All

    Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All by Amy Lignor   It is a fact that the largest travel locations are also beyond popular. Among the downsides of this fact is that when you’re looking for peace, quiet, and basically a chance to do nothing more than spend time with yourself and, perhaps, one other best friend, … [Read More its Good for You...]