Georgia Hunting Land For Sale South Carolina Hunting Land For Sale North Carolina Hunting Land For Sale Hunting Land and Recreational Property For Sale

Supplemental Feeding for Wildlife


Nursing does and fawns benefit from a feeding program

Hunters all across the nation are preparing now to assist their deer herds for the upcoming season. As the calendar is ticking, many are anticipating all of the work to be done before season opens.

          Hunters in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and beyond are looking more and more at not just their deer herd, but all wildlife. How can we best manage our land to benefit all wildlife? Whitetail deer, turkey, rabbits, waterfowl, etc. all are important species that we as hunters want to assist. While there are many ways to do this, from habitat manipulation to feeding, this article will focus on feeding.

One of the key elements is the use of supplemental feeding to enhance the quality of the wildlife on the property. More and more are turning to food plots to participate in supplemental feeding for their wildlife. There are, (and will be more) stories written about what to plant and when to plant. But for today we will focus on minerals, and direct placement of food for wildlife.

The uses of minerals whether in blocks, granules or liquids all are an attempt to put minerals into the wildlife they would not necessarily get in their natural habitat. While all states have different regulations on the use of minerals, most will allow it on some level priorto hunting season. Soil samples have shown that on my property we are very deficient in salt and magnesium. Minerals placed in strategic locations that will provide these nutrients. Different applications are used. From pouring pure salt directly into the ground with magnesium blocks nearby, to using blocks with many different minerals in many locations to provide the deer what they need.

Turkeys can also benefit from good supplemental feeding

We decided to place mineral sites every fifty acres. To compliment these mineral stations, we also provide supplemental feed for the wildlife. While shelled corn is the cheapest, it doesn’t provide the quality of protein the wildlife need. So, even though we do use corn, (because of the cost) we also use protein pellets in our timed feeders to enhance the protein the wildlife are receiving.

There are many different methods of doing this, we choose to use timed feeders in some locations, (one per 100 acres) and covered feed troughs in other areas – one per 200 acres. We do this because many protein pellets dissolve when wet, and the cost is so that we prefer to keep the pellets dry. (We NEVER feed or hunt over these covered feed troughs) the supplemental feeding program is done at certain times of the year to get the best benefit for the wildlife.

We have found that the best times to supplemental feed in South Carolina, are during the months of January-March when food is scarce and then again from Mid-May through the middle of August when does are nursing. Studies have shown that this gives our herd the most benefit.

Each hunter and land owner must decide for themselves what works best for them. As absentee landowners, food plots prove to be difficult to manage properly. There is just no way for us to plow, plant, spray, plow, spray etc the plots. Therefore we choose to use this method.

If you choose to use a supplemental feeding program, like all things, its best to go full bore and try and get it done to the best benefit. Our extensive research has shown that while some will say that minerals and food will force deer to move in an unnatural manner across your land. We have some mineral sites that are torn up by wildlife and others that are totally ignored by all wildlife. One site gets game camera photos in the thousands, and others will have two to ten pictures a month. This has helped us to relocate supplemental feeding sites to more traveled areas. This helps us to define the best locations to place minerals thereby giving the best benefit to the wildlife on our property.

It all starts with a plan. Decide what you want to accomplish with your supplemental feeding program and then implement the plan. A good plan will alleviate waste of your time and money and provide the best benefit for the wildlife and the best benefit for you as a hunter.