GameKeepers Emag

Gamekeepers Winter 2015

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The Great Bait Debate HOW TO PROPERLY IMPLEMENT A Feeding Program BY BOB HUMPHREY © Keith Bell T he quantity and quality of deer a particular area can support is directly pro- portional to the quantity and quality of habitat. The ultimate goal of most man- agers is to achieve optimum levels of both. Unfortunately, that rarely occurs. Still, there are several ways to improve your situation. One is by reducing the number of deer on the land, which is usually less desirable and often more diffi- cult than anticipated. Another is by improving the habitat and therefore the qual- ity and quantity of food through thinning, planting and establishing food plots. However, your ability to accomplish that may be limited by a number of variables including existing conditions and the amount of time, money and effort you're willing or able to spend, and even so, that may not be enough to address brief, periodic food shortages. In that case, you may want to consider supplemental feeding; but if you're going to do it, do it right. The term "supplemental feed" incorporates a range of options including food plots, mast orchards and crops. For our purposes, we'll limit it to things not grown directly on the land, i.e. grain, pellets or blocks and minerals. Each can be beneficial if provided at the right time and in the right amount. We must also distin- guish between "baiting" and "supplemental feeding." Despite the title of this edito- rial, we'll be talking mainly about supplemental feeding.

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