Patriot LWM Outdoors is proud to be associated with such a fantastic organization! Farmers and Hunters Feeding the homeless (FHFH) is an outreach ministry of the people of God called upon to feed venison to the hungry among us nationwide.
How it works…
With the growing number of deer and other big game in America, crop and property damage permits are being issued to farmers, airports, military installations and agricultural facilities. Many of these deer and other big game are being discarded. In addition, liberal bag limits and extended seasons are putting hunters in the position of being able to harvest more deer and other big game than they can personally consume.
FARMERS & HUNTERS
Successful farmers and hunters follow normal check in or crop damage permit procedures defined under their states regulations.
Farmers and hunters deliver the harvested surplus deer and other big game to participating meat processors in each county. Donations from churches, clubs, businesses and individuals cover the costs of processing, packaging and freezing the meat.
The frozen meat is then available free of cost for pick-up by a nearby food bank or feeding program.
This nutritious, low fat, high protein meat is then distributed and/or cooked by hundreds of community agencies such as:church pantries, church feeding ministries, Salvation Army, community food banks, emergency assistance programs, Rescue Missions, children’s homes, etc.
Please click here to learn more about FHFH.
*This blog entry is a repost from the Patriot Land & Wildlife Blog*
When the idea of planting food plots for white-tailed deer rolls across your tongue in front of concerned community members or agricultural professionals fed up with deer damage, the response is often the same. “You want to plant what??? The last thing we need around here is more deer, and feeding them will surely do just that.”
This statement is not far from the truth but the reasoning behind why it’s a good management decision may surprise you.
The Origin of a Concept:
When Patriot LWM first began management efforts on a 250 acre tract with 132 acres of crop production agriculture and the remainder in timber and other cover types, the deer damage issue was at a breaking point. Hunter harvest practices were the first issue to get a facelift on the property including the increase in the reduction of adult female deer (does) and implementation of other techniques in line with the principles of “Quality Deer Management”. Initial population analysis identified the need for an extremely high number of female deer to be removed from the property, so much so that alternative harvest techniques needed to be considered.
Supplemental Food Plots:
A well rounded wildlife management program incorporates habitat and forage management into its population control measures. So as a wildlife manager I am somewhat partial to the idea of supplemental food plots as a way to create a year round nutritional program for the overall health of my white-tailed populations. Food plots of varying species (such as clover, chicory, cow peas, etc.) with varying maturation times can be installed to supplement existing food sources (row crops, acorns, etc.). They can also fill gaps in the deer’s diet after other food sources are exhausted, such as after crops are harvested or acorns are depleted. Depending on their intended use and location, it is very simple for supplemental food plots to double as a diversionary food plot as well.
Diversionary Food Plots:
My definition of a diversionary food plot is simply a plot installed for the purpose of diverting a deer’s feeding attention off of one source and onto another, such as off of row crops and into a clover mixture. Once again, your species selection along with its location will be the main determinate of the success of that diversion. Planting something deer have no intention of eating until late December will be of no comfort as the corn and soybeans get devoured in late summer.
Patriot LWM installed a mixture of clovers and chicory based on their perennial nature requiring minimum maintenance and also their high tolerance to deer pressure.
For the purposes of our project, Patriot LWM worked with the farmer and
located a mutually beneficialsite on the property. 15-30 feet of field edge bordering existing tree lines were donated to the “diversionary food plot fund”, another fact which raises eyebrows in an agricultural community hesitant to give up tillable acreage to the wildlife battle.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this technique.
Running the numbers:
- Low yield in these sacrificed rows already due to deer damage on edges and shading under the “drip line” of trees
- Reduced expenses on unused acreage
- Herbicide application
- Fuel for equipment
- Wear and tear on equipment striking trees
- Hunters gladly supplement the cost of food plot installation for own benefit
- Increased yield in the remaining acreage
- Increases recreational lease value of the property
- Supplemental food source for improved health of deer population
- Increased harvest opportunities
- Creates harvest location along edges when normal standing crops would hinder harvest
- Deer can be concentrated to particular areas for increased harvest
- Brings deer to the “staging areas” near fields earlier allowing for more harvest opportunities before light expires
- Keeps local deer populations on the property long after crops are harvested allowing hunters chances to increase harvest throughout the course of the regulated hunting season
- Attracts deer from neighboring properties which may not have effective management programs to allow their harvest during daylight hours instead of them entering onto the property to feed outside huntable hours.
- Provides space for hunter access to remove harvested deer while crops are up
In later blog entries we will take a closer look into the specific results of this project but initial findings are very positive. Diversionary food plots coupled with educated hunters practicing the principles of “Quality Deer Management” should be an option worth exploring for many landowners and farmers trying to win the war on deer damage. Stay tuned!
Posted in Deer, Food Plots, Habitat Management, Patriot Land & Wildlife Blog, Wildlife Management
Tagged chicory, clover, deer, doe management, fall plantings, fhfh, food plot, growing food plots, qdma, quality deer management
Just before the start of the 2010-2011 hunting season, the Montgomery County Deer Donation program along with Patriot LWM Outdoors, Bass Pro Shop and the Western Chesapeake Watershed Branch of QDMA received a welcome supporter in the Montgomery County Farm Bureau. With a $1000 donation from the Farm Bureau, the doe donation contest was taken from 2 time periods to over 10, increasing the chances for hunters to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication in the field. In an effort to raise awareness of the need for reduction in female deer populations, as well as the Montgomery County Deer Donation Program, the hunters that donate the most Montgomery County harvested female deer in a series of contest periods have a chance to win some great prizes.
The first three contest periods have come to an end and here are your winners: Paul Witt of White Marsh, Bob Turnbull of Mt. Airy and Phil Brower of Poolesville. Congratulations to the hunters as well as all that precipitated. To date the hunters have donated over 235 deer and almost 8000 pounds of meat to the Capital Area Food Bank so far this year. Keep up the great work and be sure to get in on the tons of remaining prizes and contests.
Click Here for more on the contest!