This summer I was fortunate enough to clinch a job with Dakota Outfitters of Quaker City, OH. Through my first week I have already learned the importance of Genetics and Nutrition. Dakota Outfitters specializes in high-class whitetail deer breeding. Careful attention is given to every single deer on the farm. From feeding the fawns on a very particular time schedule with regulated consumption, to feeding the does and bucks with carefully measured high protein pellets, the system adds up to top of the line deer. By feeding the does, you give the upcoming fawns a head start on growth. Upon birth, the fawns receive all the nutrition they need by bottle-feeding three sometimes four times a day. All of this adds up to monster bucks and does that carry superior and very sought after DNA.
Another thing that I have quickly learned is the survival of tame deer is very different than the survival of wild deer, however the two reflect each other. When I came into this job, I honestly thought deer survived rather easily in the wild. Even on a deer ranch, with the tender care of humans, fawns and adult deer still face many hardships. A single miscalculation in feeding at a young age can be disastrous, not to mention the chance of disease and injury. This made me realize how amazing it is that the whitetail deer can survive like they do in the wild. All sorts of factors act upon the whitetail deer, and through my job at Dakota Outfitters, I have a newfound respect for the deer.
If there were any advice I could share through my summer job, it would be the importance of Genetics and Nutrition. Even though I have only been here one week, these two qualities are absolutely monumental. If you are trying to grow bigger deer on your property, there are a few things that you can do. For starters, supply your deer with plenty of food, whether it be food plots or in the form of pellets, make sure that you deer have access to protein and other important nutrients. Not only will this provide the necessities for antler growth, but it will also give your upcoming bucks a head start. Aside from providing high quality food, the genetics aspect can also be incorporated into your management. While your average hunter doesn’t have the luxury of buying straws of semen worth more than a new truck, there are things you can do to ensure that selected bucks are breeding over your scrub bucks. If you notice a good buck at say age three, bite the bullet and let him pass, this will allow his genes to start flowing through the heard, and trust me one year can make the difference down the road. If you have buddies that are out of land to hunt, invite them to come in a take out a few of the low grade bucks. All of this seems intimidating at first, but over time, with the correct management and ample food supplies, your deer herd will without a doubt make a change for the better.