As most of you know, generally right after season ends December 15th I begin a limited cracked corn feeding regimen for a month or so (or until deep snow) to census the deer in the immediate area of the farm. This year I did not start until late January, because of the extremely mild winter (though it is -2 below as I write) . The deer have had no trouble moving or finding plenty of acorns and other natural food, including old apples, and as it was, entered winter with the biggest fat reserves I have seen in years. On top of no snow, we have had absolutely mild fall temps all winter until the last week or so. These deer couldn't be bothered with a little cracked corn. But once we got a little snow, and temperatures returned to normal, they began to show up. These are just a few of the hundreds of pictures I have from one camera up next to the Christmas tree plantation.
Through studying these pictures, I have determined that I have a group of six coming from a big hemlock stand to the South, a group of four (sometimes five) coming in from the East, and a group of three from the West. The bucks shown do not seem to remain with any particular group. Interesting that they still have their antlers in February. Good sign of low stress...I do have a picture of a buck taken one day in late April several years ago with his antlers still unshed!
These are fat, shiny and unstressed deer for sure!
Check the coat and condition of this doe with an attitude (get away from my corn!)
A healthy coat insulates better than any fiberglass we ever invented. That snow will be on her until she shakes it off!
Big boy always shows at night. He wishes these deer would yard up for good!
Just another example of good herd health...
And the raccoons do love their corn meal...
Nice little five pointer..
A close up.
Below is a spike that has shed his..and a four pointer behind him that hasn't.
Here is the four pointer
And the fiver...
Brother/sister? Both fat and shining with health.
The southern group
They have hammered my food plots in the Far Field to nothing, but still check it every day. Note how many tracks!
In conclusion I note that we have about fourteen regulars showing up in the fields and at the corn. They come within twenty feet of deer camp at night scraping under the apple tree for rotten apples, cruising our back yard and lawns. We have two constantly barking yappy running Shelties, and the deer hardly pick up their heads when they hear the dogs. Got a great pocket camera of them on the corn the other day from 100 yards, with both dogs barking loudly. I'll put that in the next post. In the meantime I guess it's time to host a coyote hunt! Let me know what YOU are doing!