Keeping Deer Herd Healthy

Lucas Stephenson, Staff Writer

If you are an avid hunter then you know that keeping your deer herd healthy is important if you want a place to keep reproducing mature deer. One way to keep them healthy is by being observant, if you notice that one is hurt or looks sick then you need to cull it. Culling them means to separate them from the rest of the herd. The only way to cull a wild herd is to kill off the sick or hurt animal. The second way to keep them healthy is to give them a food source year round. Deer are smart and know where they have replenishing food sources, if you give them food then you have to be consistent and make sure it is good food. Deer will especially need more food when it is colder, feed them a higher protein in these times.

The best way to observe which deer need culled is to have a trail camera. Trail cameras are nice because they will show you what is in the woods while you are not out there, giving you a better idea of the healthiness of your herd. It is necessary to cull especially if you want to keep a large herd around. Culling will only help the herd if done correctly, you need to be certain that the deer you are going to cull is actually ill or if the injury is one they won’t be able to recover from. Culling leaves you with the best deer.

If you feed your deer correctly that will also improve their health. During the rut you want to feed a higher energy diet. The rut (Mating Season) is hard on both the does and the bucks. The bucks will lose 20 to 25 percent of their body weight during the rut. If you feed a high energy diet then they will have the energy to rut and have a consistent food source. After the rut you want to feed a high protein diet to fatten up the deer. This is because after the rut it is beginning to get cold and the deer are starting to group up again and not be as active. 

It’s simple, if you take the time to care for your herd and make sure they are healthy then you will always have a good herd. Not only will you have a good herd but you will have a herd that will produce big bucks each year, which is always more fun. If you have a buck that you are after every year then you can credit that to the time and effort you put in to making sure that your herd stays healthy.