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Antler Question

Old 02-06-2005, 02:11 PM
  #1  
Typical Buck
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Default Antler Question

Im from midwest and never have found out what crop makes antlers grow best. although most of it is genetics, protiens also play a major roll, what kind of crop such as corn alfalfa beans clover wheat or whatever crop is in your area. is it really neccisary to have food plots in prime location such as this?
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Old 02-06-2005, 03:25 PM
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Default RE: Antler Question

Deer will generally grow better racks where they have good nutrition and are in good physical condition. It also helps to have a good source of calcium in their diet. It doesn't matter what the food source is. Within the limits of genetics, as long as they are in good shape, they grow the best rack they can.
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Old 02-09-2005, 04:59 PM
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Default RE: Antler Question

I have a degree in wildlife management and I think the most overrated factor in antler growth is genetics. Sure genetics count, but who knows the true (i.e. scientific) genetic makeup of their local herd, even the biologists usually don't really know how the genetics in their local herd compares to neighboring herds. Consequently, genetics becomes basically a b.s. dump, whenever we run out of other explanations, we can tout genetics and sound smart.

By far the most important factor in antler growth is buck survival. They've got to make it through 3-5 hunting seasons to get big. To me the second most important factor is food. I don't know the exact relative merits of individual crops, but I have some ideas based on what I've seen in MT. The worst food type, producing the smallest antlers is big woods habitat and mixed woods interspersed with pasture land. Step up a level, to alfalfa and wheat and bucks add 5-10 B&C inches by 3 1/2 years old. The next level would be represented by corn and soybeans. We don't have this kind of farmland in MT, but I'll bet that's worth another 5-10 inches. Yet another level may be reached by planting deer-specific food plots.

Here in MT, in a big woods enivironment, a 3 1/2 y.o. buck will net score 100-125 BC. In the midwest, I believe that range would be more like 120-150. The difference can be explained almost entirely by the jump in feed quality from big woods browse to corn and beans. I would bet that if you took a western MT 3 1/2 y.o. buck scoring 120 and put him in IL, he'd score 150+ at 4 1/2. Now take a 3 1/2 y.o. IL buck scoring 140 and stick him in western MT, and I'll bet his 4 1/2 y.o. rack shrinks below 140.

Anyhow, to put my two cents directly on the question you asked, I think probably corn and beans beat wheat, maybe also alfalafa. Also, think minerals. We have a general selemium deficiency here in western MT and that may play a role, too. (Forgive my wordiness I ain't trying to argue, just my opinion!)
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:13 PM
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Dirt--Thanks finally found someone that agrees with me.
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:43 PM
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Default RE: Antler Question

Will deer eat soy beans from a spin feeder? I was thinking about adding some to the corn to up the protein a bit during the antler growing season. I dont have any row crops in my area, although they do use my alfalfa. I was considering a mix of half corn and half soybeans, but was afraid they would eat the corn and leave the beans. Anybody have any experience with this?
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Old 02-20-2005, 02:05 AM
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They will eat the beans too!
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