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Old 09-01-2014, 03:38 PM
 
2,108 posts, read 1,986,577 times
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I've experimented heavily with every type of clover, grass, fruit, attractant and feed out there and this is my experiences with the deer around here:


Mineral block gets hit very heavily in the spring. Barely at all in the winter and summer, and moderately in the fall.


Alfalfa and corn are king. That's all my deer want. I'll even have fun with it setting out piles of corn, acorns, apples, pears, oats, radishes, kibble, wheat, etc…and it is always WAM straight to the kernel corn.


Now I have done the same with plots. One I'll plant with clover, another with wheat, and still another alfalfa. Alfalfa gets hit really hard every night.


I have a bunch of fruit trees for which I pick and freeze. Unless it is mid-winter, they could care less about fruit.


It would be interesting to know all of your experiences.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:11 PM
Status: "Gone hunting until December!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
10,945 posts, read 14,584,566 times
Reputation: 11404
They used to hit our acorns from our oak trees hard in a mast year, but pretty much it is illegal in WV and in Montana (where I live now) to bait wildlife.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,676,401 times
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Feeding wildlife is perfectly legal on private land for the most part. However, shooting directly over bait is illegal in most (all?) states.

[ETA: I just found where Threerun is correct... intentionally feeding deer in any way in Montana is illegal. It is illegal on public land in WV, but I couldn't find anything about feeding deer on private land.]

In most states, on private land:
- Shooting over food scattered as a result of normal, legitimate agricultural practices is legal. So generally it's legal to hunt in a field that has been planted for harvest. This would NOT apply to scattering grain around and leaving it uncovered. So hunting migratory doves over a freshly harvested milo field is legal; coming back and scattering more grain to keep the birds coming would be illegal.
- Some states allow hunting over "food plots". This is where you intentionally plant grass to feed the wildlife, usually in a small clearing with a hunting stand/blind nearby. Winter wheat or rye, mostly... something that will stay green well into the fall.
- Some states allow shooting in a location where food has been spread, but only after food has been completely removed for a certain number of days. It's 10 days for my hunting areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia.
- Some states allow hunting near active baiting, but you must be a minimum distance away and not in line-of-sight of the baited area. So setting up on a trail that leads to your feeder on the other side of the hill is legal.


That said, I don't bait in the form of spread feed. A friend occasionally brings me as a guest on his club hunting lease, and they have grassy meadows where winter wheat and rye are planted. I know hunters in Mississippi with active programs of automatic feeders (corn), grass/clover plots, and mineral blocks. They probably experimented, but they settled on corn kernels long ago. It's what the deer eat, and it's what they can buy in huge bags in every store that wants to make a profit; anywhere from Walmart to the corner gas station sells bags of corn this time of year.

Last edited by jwkilgore; 09-02-2014 at 08:29 AM..
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Old 09-02-2014, 09:14 AM
 
1,176 posts, read 1,896,365 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwkilgore View Post
Feeding wildlife is perfectly legal on private land for the most part. However, shooting directly over bait is illegal in most (all?) states.

[ETA: I just found where Threerun is correct... intentionally feeding deer in any way in Montana is illegal. It is illegal on public land in WV, but I couldn't find anything about feeding deer on private land.]

In most states, on private land:
- Shooting over food scattered as a result of normal, legitimate agricultural practices is legal. So generally it's legal to hunt in a field that has been planted for harvest. This would NOT apply to scattering grain around and leaving it uncovered. So hunting migratory doves over a freshly harvested milo field is legal; coming back and scattering more grain to keep the birds coming would be illegal.
- Some states allow hunting over "food plots". This is where you intentionally plant grass to feed the wildlife, usually in a small clearing with a hunting stand/blind nearby. Winter wheat or rye, mostly... something that will stay green well into the fall.
- Some states allow shooting in a location where food has been spread, but only after food has been completely removed for a certain number of days. It's 10 days for my hunting areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia.
- Some states allow hunting near active baiting, but you must be a minimum distance away and not in line-of-sight of the baited area. So setting up on a trail that leads to your feeder on the other side of the hill is legal.


That said, I don't bait in the form of spread feed. A friend occasionally brings me as a guest on his club hunting lease, and they have grassy meadows where winter wheat and rye are planted. I know hunters in Mississippi with active programs of automatic feeders (corn), grass/clover plots, and mineral blocks. They probably experimented, but they settled on corn kernels long ago. It's what the deer eat, and it's what they can buy in huge bags in every store that wants to make a profit; anywhere from Walmart to the corner gas station sells bags of corn this time of year.
Texas is similar to Mississippi. Corn is cheap and deer definitely show a distinct preference for it over just about any type of feed.

About feeders and baiting, people from states with legislation prohibiting baiting will often present with very negative views of the practice of baiting and/or the people that would do such a thing even where perfectly legal... But it isn't really that different from hunting over water or in a heavily trafficked corridor where the hunter KNOWS the deer will be. Also, if you've hunted in Texas (or Mississippi) out of a box blind overlooking a feeder then you probably know that an excellent way to tell if a buck is too young to kill is to see him at a feeder during shooting hours; they get wise to the game quickly. The advantage is in attracting does and, during peak rut, having an idea where the bucks will be. If you want to see a big buck in South Texas otherwise, get camo'd head-to-toe, get your bow, find a trail that you have to walk through 100 yards of huisache to access (and get cut to ribbons in the process), then pour about a gallon of corn on the ground in a pile, sit behind cover about thirty yards away and don't move or breathe from dawn until dusk. You'll probably see him and maybe even get a shot.

As far as natural food or food plots are concerned, whitetails seem to cover a lot of ground to eat wild persimmon. Have natural pecans? You'll see them there when the mast is on the ground.
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Old 09-02-2014, 12:41 PM
Status: "Gone hunting until December!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
10,945 posts, read 14,584,566 times
Reputation: 11404
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwkilgore View Post
Feeding wildlife is perfectly legal on private land for the most part. However, shooting directly over bait is illegal in most (all?) states.

[ETA: I just found where Threerun is correct... intentionally feeding deer in any way in Montana is illegal. It is illegal on public land in WV, but I couldn't find anything about feeding deer on private land.]

In most states, on private land:
- Shooting over food scattered as a result of normal, legitimate agricultural practices is legal. So generally it's legal to hunt in a field that has been planted for harvest. This would NOT apply to scattering grain around and leaving it uncovered. So hunting migratory doves over a freshly harvested milo field is legal; coming back and scattering more grain to keep the birds coming would be illegal.
- Some states allow hunting over "food plots". This is where you intentionally plant grass to feed the wildlife, usually in a small clearing with a hunting stand/blind nearby. Winter wheat or rye, mostly... something that will stay green well into the fall.
- Some states allow shooting in a location where food has been spread, but only after food has been completely removed for a certain number of days. It's 10 days for my hunting areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia.
- Some states allow hunting near active baiting, but you must be a minimum distance away and not in line-of-sight of the baited area. So setting up on a trail that leads to your feeder on the other side of the hill is legal.


That said, I don't bait in the form of spread feed. A friend occasionally brings me as a guest on his club hunting lease, and they have grassy meadows where winter wheat and rye are planted. I know hunters in Mississippi with active programs of automatic feeders (corn), grass/clover plots, and mineral blocks. They probably experimented, but they settled on corn kernels long ago. It's what the deer eat, and it's what they can buy in huge bags in every store that wants to make a profit; anywhere from Walmart to the corner gas station sells bags of corn this time of year.
I am surprised that WV did not pursue baiting on private land. CWD is there in WV and the counties I used to hunt in had CWD- first couple days after opening you had to check in 100% of deer for inspection.

Bait concentrates deer, and when CWD is active that is a good vector for spreading the disease.

http://www.wvdnr.gov/Regulations/hunting_CWDQA.shtm

Quote:
WEST VIRGINIA Chronic Wasting Disease Containment Area:
Includes all of Hampshire County, that portion of Hardy County north of Corridor H (US Rt. 48) and/or east of State Rt. 259 to the Virginia state line and that portion of Morgan County which lies west of US Rt. 522. It is illegal to bait or feed deer or other wildlife in the "Containment Area" (see baiting and feeding regulations on page 12). Hunters are prohibited from transporting dead cervids (deer, elk, etc.) or their parts beyond the boundary of the containment area except for the following: meat that has been boned out, quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, cleaned hide with no head attached, clean skull plate (no meat or tissue attached) with antlers attached, antlers with no meat or tissue attached, and finished taxidermy mounts.
Hunters may transport cervid carcasses that were not killed inside the containment area through the containment area.

Last edited by Threerun; 09-02-2014 at 12:52 PM..
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Old 09-02-2014, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 35,410,165 times
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The only animal you can legally bait in Wyoming is bear. It is illegal to feed wildlife. No mineral blocks, no salt blocks, no corn, etc. We "Hunt" up here. We actually get out and walk, trail, find the critters. We don't sit at a bench, 30 yards from a feeder, and call it hunting.
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:40 AM
 
1,176 posts, read 1,896,365 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
The only animal you can legally bait in Wyoming is bear. It is illegal to feed wildlife. No mineral blocks, no salt blocks, no corn, etc. We "Hunt" up here. We actually get out and walk, trail, find the critters. We don't sit at a bench, 30 yards from a feeder, and call it hunting.
That's kinda the attitude that I was talking about and, I must confess, I share it when I see a fat slob smoking a cigarette who couldn't catch a hobbled cow huffing and puffing on his way down the ladder of a box blind with a .300 WinMag on his way to throw an 80 lb. doe onto the tailgate of his pickup and take it to the processor where it will be made into sausage so that he won't have to sully his hands before pouring a jack & jack and thinks that this is the only way.

However, I must also state that if Texas had a walk-in hunting program and unfathomably large amounts of public land to hunt then I think hunting here would look very different. As it is, you more or less have to lease in order to hunt. There's a lot of competition between landowners, high-fences are becoming pervasive and if you are managing what is essentially a captive population then hunting out of blinds and keeping logbooks has its purpose. A lot of people are willing to hunt that way and don't even realize that there are other ways (I daresay better ways) to do it.

My father in law grew up in New Hampshire. He brought his rifle to school during deer season. If he came across tracks on his way home, he followed them. Sometimes he would see the deer, sometimes not. If he shot one, he boned it out and carried it home in a meat bag in his backpack and his family had venison for dinner. That's hunting to me. It's also hunting if I drive out to a spot after work where I have access to the banks of the Brazos, climb a tree with my bow and wait to see if I can put an arrow in a shoat between 50 and 80 lbs. when the sounder comes to drink.

If my father in law grew up on the coastal plains of Texas, he wouldn't have encountered any tracks in the snow to follow. He wouldn't have any ridges to glass from and he wouldn't have permission or access to the areas where deer were likely to be found unless by prior agreement with the landowner. It would have been a very different childhood. Different habitats, different strategies. I'd be a fish out of water trying to hunt mulies in Wyoming, but I'll bet if you came duck hunting with me down here you'd get your arse wet and I'd stay dry.

If you have to enter into an agreement with a landowner and have paid money for the right to hunt his property for a period of time and baiting is legal, then you're probably going to do something to maximize your chances of success during the term of your lease. I submit that Wyomans would do this also.

Also, why bait for black bear? Is it because it would be REALLY hard to get onto a bear without baiting for it? Whitetails are kinda similar in that regard. You can rattle during the rut, but if you're trying to fill your freezer you can certainly use some help influencing their movement.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:53 AM
Status: "Gone hunting until December!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
10,945 posts, read 14,584,566 times
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I'm sitting here looking out my kitchen window at two BIG pronghorn bucks chasing each other. The rut is still going for them..
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,676,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleonidas View Post
That's kinda the attitude that I was talking about and, I must confess, I share it when I see a fat slob smoking a cigarette who couldn't catch a hobbled cow huffing and puffing on his way down the ladder of a box blind with a .300 WinMag on his way to throw an 80 lb. doe onto the tailgate of his pickup and take it to the processor where it will be made into sausage so that he won't have to sully his hands before pouring a jack & jack and thinks that this is the only way.
I think I know that hunter... I never understood the concept of manhandling a mini cannon capable of dropping a 1000-lb elk at 1000-yds when you're hunting 150-lb whitetails at a max range of 150-yds.

These days, my usual idea of hunting is to borrow some orange from my brother, grab my trusty Marlin 30-30, and hike out behind my parents' house. I'll find a good spot on a hardwood-covered hill or ridge with a decent view (and nowhere near any of his food plots), put my cushion/pillow at the base of a tree, and sit a while. Enjoy the wind, watch the squirrels, listen to the far distant sound of traffic, and think about life. If I don't see a deer I will still enjoy the "hunt". If I do see one... before pulling the trigger I would have to decide whether it's worth the effort to drag it back home and clean it.

But that friend on the lease is trying to talk me into joining. It's $500/year, plus a minimum of 2 workdays for maintenance. Plus hunting clothes in orange and camo, ammunition, plus other random hunting gear I feel I need. That's a lot of time and money for 2-3 whitetails. To justify it I'd probably buy a basic black powder rifle to extend my hunting time and limit (I never got into archery), plus get a shotgun for turkeys. I figure about $1500-$2000 to get started. If I am paying that much to hunt you better believe I will do everything I can to improve my chances to get meat in the freezer, and that includes using any baiting/feeding method allowed by law.
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:48 PM
Status: "Gone hunting until December!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
10,945 posts, read 14,584,566 times
Reputation: 11404
Yeah but at some point I think you have to stop calling it hunting and simply call it harvesting. You're basically tending an animal. I'm not saying there is anything 'wrong' with that, but let's call it for what it is. If I harvest a deer on my property I don't consider it hunting. I was harvesting. Hunting, to me, is getting out and finding those trails, patterns, setting up a stalk or finding that spot to vantage. I burn a lot of shoe leather looking for birds with my dogs. I may go 3x without finding that covey but when I do- games on. The dog goes berserk and we hunt. I could shorten that by piling wheat along some ditch somewhere and then come in a few days and wait for the covey to come to me. But that's not fun.

I watched over the past 30 years how deer hunting went from stalk and shoot (maybe a few orchestrated game drives) to mineral blocks and stands, to food plots and stands, food plots with cameras and stands, food plots with cameras and fully stocked blinds...

I mean at some point it's just not hunting. I think the trend went that way with the advent of the hunting shows- the guys all wanted to get the biggest buck they could- just like the guys on tv.. That's my .02.
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