The Place Where Animal Lovers Come Together - Summer 2009

 Featured Story | Nurturing the herd strengthens family bonds

Curtis Green’s protein feeding experiment in Jack County, Texas has not only created a healthier herd of whitetail deer, it has also provided countless hours of precious father-son time.

50 Years Spanning Three Generations
Curtis Green’s story actually begins 50 years ago when his father knocked on rancher Marvin Jackson’s door to ask permission to hunt quail on his property. The two became fast friends, as did their sons. About three years ago, Curtis and Paul started hunting the ranch again, this time for deer, with their own sons, now ages 11 and 9.

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Keeping Deer Healthy in the Heat of Summer
Although deer adapt pretty well to changes in temperature, there are things you can do to give them a better chance of surviving the summer heat. Here are a few tips:

Good Nutrition

  • If you raise deer, provide access to shelter and shade to prevent heat stress. Wild deer can usually find shade under trees and shrubs.

  • A stable water supply is crucial. Deer need three pounds of water for every pound of dry matter they consume. If they can’t drink, they won’t eat. If they don’t eat enough, it will affect antler growth, reproduction and the health of their fawns.

  • What is a stable water source? In west Texas, for instance, it means a dependable water source every 1 to 1.5 miles. Deer prefer to drink from ponds or streams but will readily use livestock water troughs.

  • In summer, forage quality declines just when does are lactating and bucks are in a period of maximum antler growth. Supplementing with AntlerMax® Deer 20 can help overcome the “nutritional gap.”

  • If required nutrients are in short supply during antler growth period:

    • antler growth will slow. Since antlers grow for only a set number of weeks, antlers growing at a rate of 3 grams a day instead of 5 will yield disappointing results.

    • antlers will lack mass and density, making them susceptible to breakage.

    • desirable characteristics, such as antler mass, number of points and beam circumference will be negatively affected.

Protein and minerals play a huge role in determining the size of a set of antlers. A product like Purina Mills® AntlerMax® with patented Protein and Mineral Technology can give bucks a big advantage.

  • Feeding deer in summer and autumn helps ensure their wellbeing in future months. Heading into a harsh winter in good body condition gives bucks, does and fawns a better chance of survival.

  • It’s not too early to think about next year. Fall-winter food plots usually consist of small grains and/or winter peas, and will start to be planted within 60 days. These will help maintain body condition over the winter and get the bucks ready for antler growth next year.

Have a great summer!

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  Get to Know Purina Mills® AntlerMax® Deer & Elk Mineral Supplement

AntlerMax® Deer & Elk Mineral Supplement is a highly researched, loose mineral with proprietary AntlerMax® Mineral Technology. It’s a power-packed nutritional package with ideal amounts and ratios of vitamins and minerals for superior antler density and strength, optimum reproductive performance and healthy calves and fawns.

• For optimal antler growth, density and strength

• 2:1 Calcium balanced for year-round use

• Phosphorus ratio helps meet the ideal nutritional needs of animals when forage sources are of poor quality

• High levels of Vitamins A, D and E promote robust health and immune function

• Zinc, Copper, Selenium help produce strong, healthy calves and fawns and promotes optimal antler development

• Easy to feed because animals like to lick minerals with salt off the ground

• Strong apple flavor for high palatability and to attract deer and elk

• Superior ingredients to promote high feed intake for optimum performance

• Backed by research that determined what is required for superior antler and body growth, so you can feed it with confidence

Now, you may be asking yourself, if supplemental deer feeds contain a good mineral package along with the protein and vitamins that deer need, why feed a straight mineral product such as AntlerMax® Deer and Elk Mineral Supplement?

Well, in a perfect world you wouldn’t need to. But in reality, deer are going to pick and choose what they eat, and some deer may not eat enough of the pellets to provide the full complement of minerals they require. Deer that eat from food plots rather than a pellet program are at the mercy of the soil mineral condition and may need a mineral supplement to ensure optimal nutrition. Using a mineral supplement gives you one more tool to use in your feeding program to make sure your deer are getting the best nutrition you can give them. And awesome nutrition delivers awesome antlers.

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[Feature Story Continued - Family Bonds]

“The area where we hunt is roughly 200 acres of rocky, brushy terrain with native grasses, Post Oaks and a few Mesquite,” says Green. Two ponds provide year-round water and a 10-acre food plot located in the center gets planted each fall. “The first season (2006) the boys each harvested very nice 10 point bucks.”

Protein Feeding on a Low Fence Ranch

Their success prompted Green to do research into protein feeding, food plots and habitat. They purchased three gravity protein feeders and placed them in the center of the property close to dense trees and brush so as to provide cover for the deer. “People told us it would be a waste to feed protein on a “low fence” ranch because the deer would wander onto the neighbor’s property and be taken by others,” recalls Green.

The protein pellets purchased from a local mill dissolved in the rain, clogging the feeders. Then a feed store owner in Jacksboro recommended Purina Mills® AntlerMax® pellets. The pellets withstood moisture and didn’t crumble, so there was very little waste. Green fed AntlerMax from January to September 2007, averaging about 1,500 pounds per month, depending on vegetation. He also purchased two game cameras to monitor the deer and better understand the herd.

Reaping the Rewards of AntlerMax

Youth hunting season started in late October, and “in all my years of hunting in Jack County, I have never witnessed the amount of animals, size and general health to be so good. The whitetail herd was greater in antler size and density. The yearling survival was better than I have ever witnessed and the animals showed no stress from the hot summer and early fall we were experiencing.”

Green and his son were keeping their eyes peeled for a mature 12-point that had been captured periodically by the game cameras. One December morning, the magnificent whitetail deer appeared about 170 yards away. Green’s son Carson, then just eight years old, took his time and harvested the deer.

New Family Traditions

Since that first year of protein feeding in 2006, the Greens and Jacksons have been hooked. “We regularly collect the game camera memory cards and view the animals with our sons. My son’s enthusiasm has extended to reading and watching shows about whitetail deer management. My nine-year-old son can ‘age’ a deer better than most grown men.”

Green says, “People continue to chide me when I tell them we protein feed a 200-acre low fence pasture. What so many people do not seem to understand is providing a quality food supplement and good habitat will keep the animals on this small place. We have not witnessed the loss of any of the trophy or future trophy bucks. We occasionally notice new bucks that appear and stay.”

With drought conditions expected for the remainder of 2009, Green believes it will be more important than ever to protein feed with AntlerMax. “It has not only helped us improve the whitetail deer, but has also helped to create experiences our families will have forever.”

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