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Q:
I know not to feed deer corn in the winter but can you feed them corn now in April

Question by CarnieHunter. Uploaded on April 17, 2011

Answers (21)

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from PigHunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Scott Shalaway, who holds a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Michigan State University, says you should never feed deer.
http://www.farmanddairy.com/columns/feeding-corn-to-deer-could-be-death-...

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from Treestand wrote 3 years 3 days ago

PigHunter;We in Fl. Feed deer all year round,corn,
clover and other type's of food plots???

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Treestand, according to Dr. Shalaway feeding corn to deer can result in their death due to digestive problems.

"The problem is that deer digestion is a finely tuned physiological process. Just the right combination of microorganisms, enzymes, and pH enable deer to digest a normal winter diet of woody vegetation. When offered a sudden supply of corn, a deer’s digestive system doesn’t have time to adjust to a high carbohydrate diet. The result can be acute acidosis followed by death within 72 hours.

"At the time of death these individuals can appear normal and well fed. It’s just that they cannot digest the corn. Within six hours, corn alters the environment in the rumen. It turns the rumen acidic and destroys the microbes needed for normal digestion.

"Not all deer die immediately from acidosis. Its effects vary with the age and health of the individual. Some may simply slow down, get clumsy, and become easy prey to speeding traffic and hungry coyotes.

"It takes deer two to four weeks of feeding on a new food source to establish populations of microbes necessary to digest the new food. It can’t happen in just a few days during a snowstorm. And healthy individuals that might survive in the short term often succumb to complications weeks later.

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from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I use corn feeders. But due to the fact that corn is now $12 bushel, I load them up about a week before archery season (Archery opens Oct 1) and pull them all down for storage after gun season closes. (normally, first Sunday in Dec) Even though archery continues through Jan 15, I've normally got all I want by the end of gun season. If not, there is a bonus antlerless season the last week of Dec.
My idea is if you want to feed year 'round, plant food plots!! (I've got TWO of those!)

Bubba

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from machinegunner wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I plant corn, the deer eat the corn, I eat the deer, it is a vicous cycle but well worth it...I plant soybeans as well, and even the turkeys join in once a year.

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from PigHunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Planted crops don't seem to be the issue if I read correctly. The deer would have enough time to adjust to the diet. I used to hunt in Kentucky on a farm that had planted corn, soybean, and wheat during different times of the year. Those were the fattest deer I've ever skinned.

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from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Steps in Edjumicashun accoring to Larry the Cable guy

B.S. Boool sheet
M.S. More of the same
Phd Piled Higher & Deeper

Just sayin.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Moishe, it's called Corn Toxicity. Never heard of it before doing the web search today. Not asking you to believe it, just reporting what I read.
http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150_12220-26508--,00.ht...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from deerhunterrick wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Pighunter has done his homework and is 100% correct. Deer are found in corn fields not so much for food ,but for cover. They will eat corn but on a limited basis. it will bloat them and basically cook them from the inside.Any corn left on the ground and gets wet becomes toxic.ROTS. Deer will feed on all available grasses and fruits far before they fed on corn, they know. Flowers, Alfalfa, soybean, wheat, rye,oats, acorns,wildgrape & roses etc. I have 3 friends that have deer farms and raise white,fallow and elk for both meat and game purposes and they never include corn as a staple source of feed. Only as a bi-product of some source in their feed. great answer Pighunter,its a refreshing note to know some members are informed with facts. thank you

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from Montana wrote 3 years 3 days ago

If they suddenly gorge themselves on corn then yes, they will bloat and die. Like all herbivores they need to get the correct microorganisms, enzymes, and the like in their gut acclimated to break down what they eat whether it be grass, soybeans, apples or corn. So I find it reasonable to assume that as long as one doesn't dump 100 pounds of corn on the ground to start off, acclimation to the corn will occur and they will start eating it quite regularly. As to the deer eating corn as a last resort, just got permission to shed hunt a section of corn that was left standing all winter due to an early blizzard. The corn was absolutely decimated while the 400 odd alfalfa bales across the fence were nearly untouched. Oh, and even with the green grass sprouting up here, there were over 90 deer that we pushed out of the corn while looking for sheds. Everything that is written in an article is just one persons view of the facts, my view included, so take them with a grain of salt. As for me I'll just stick to what I see.

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from Treestand wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Well Said Montana!!

Yester day on the Hunting TV, The Deer Doctor, was on "corn" feedres is one of the bast foods for Does
with milking young Deer....and Horn groth.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

To add to what Pighunter and Montana said, from what I understand from a biologist friend of mine and a local feed store "expert", whitetails will each shelled corn but aren't built to digest it very well. If you really want to feed them corn, they can handle cracked corn better. Only problem now is that it's $17.00/hundred now and still climbing. As to cornfields, they will eat it when it's in the milk stage, seen that myself.

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from 007 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Make that "eat shelled corn". Sorry, too early.

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from 99explorer wrote 3 years 2 days ago

The absolutely last thing that hunters have on their minds when they put out corn for deer is extending the life expectancy of the deer.

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from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 2 days ago

My corn feeders only put out maybe 2 cups of corn per cycle. (morn/evening) The corn isn't for "feeding" deer, it's an attractant. They always know they can get a few nibbles of corn and will come in. Were I hunting huge acreages, I would not use feeders. Since I hunt smaller places, I have to pull the deer TO me.

Bubba

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from deerhunterrick wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Montana you are right ,you should stick with what you see. However, I did not say baled Alfalfa. Being you had an early blizzard and the corn was left standing it more then likely buried all other food sources. Don't you find it odd that it was still standing after the fall? I have a 1 mile deep x 2 mile long corn field directly across the road from my property. I see 300 to 400 deer each and everyday of the week. Yet when my beans,wheat,alfalfa,oats,clover are growing they are in my fields all day and night unless pushed out, usually when I shoot 1 or 2 and then they head to the field across the road. yes they do feed on corn, not stating they don't. But they prefer other sources of food first. Just what I see, every day, not just when hunting or out for sheds.
Bubba, thats a correct outlook, but a small pack of Gladiola's will draw deer faster then the corn does.

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from RES1956 wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Fill your feeder with Purina Deer Chow and don't worry about it,,,

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from Montana wrote 3 years 1 day ago

We had a very wet fall, which is why I do not find it odd that the corn was still standing. As for the deer in my area, baled hay is the number one winter food source. Sometimes they will even hit the hay in early fall. As I sit here I have 20 plus deer on the haystack behind the house. My grandmother raised whitetails in Minnesota for 20 some years, they were fed the same thing as the dairy cows on the farm, cracked corn and alfalfa/clover hay. My family in Minnesota supplement the wild deer herd year round with cracked corn. Not saying that corn is the deer's first choice, just saying if the food source is there they will utilize it.

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from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 1 day ago

As a Conservation Officer I checked crop damage by the wildlife. I have looked at many cornfields that have litterly been destroyed by deer. Eaten to the ground. Our deer used to be browsers but they browsered themselves out of food when the population exploded in the 80's. Now they have become grazers and corn has become a big part of their diet. The farm service co-op stores now sell 80% of their corn to deer hunters and not farmers for their cattle and hogs. We have feeders on our property and run them year around. Like someone said before they only put out about a cup or two when they go off and they only go off 2 or 3 times a day. The deer don't gorge themselves on corn. We have never found the dead deer that previous posts have talked about and we have been feeding deer corn for 20 years. I can only speak for what I have observed. Deer do perfer acorns to corn but even when there is a huge crop of acorns they will still eat some corn.

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from Keith Costley wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

You can feed corn to deer 365 days a year.

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from PigHunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Moishe, it's called Corn Toxicity. Never heard of it before doing the web search today. Not asking you to believe it, just reporting what I read.
http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150_12220-26508--,00.ht...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from deerhunterrick wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Pighunter has done his homework and is 100% correct. Deer are found in corn fields not so much for food ,but for cover. They will eat corn but on a limited basis. it will bloat them and basically cook them from the inside.Any corn left on the ground and gets wet becomes toxic.ROTS. Deer will feed on all available grasses and fruits far before they fed on corn, they know. Flowers, Alfalfa, soybean, wheat, rye,oats, acorns,wildgrape & roses etc. I have 3 friends that have deer farms and raise white,fallow and elk for both meat and game purposes and they never include corn as a staple source of feed. Only as a bi-product of some source in their feed. great answer Pighunter,its a refreshing note to know some members are informed with facts. thank you

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 3 years 3 days ago

PigHunter;We in Fl. Feed deer all year round,corn,
clover and other type's of food plots???

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from machinegunner wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I plant corn, the deer eat the corn, I eat the deer, it is a vicous cycle but well worth it...I plant soybeans as well, and even the turkeys join in once a year.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Montana wrote 3 years 3 days ago

If they suddenly gorge themselves on corn then yes, they will bloat and die. Like all herbivores they need to get the correct microorganisms, enzymes, and the like in their gut acclimated to break down what they eat whether it be grass, soybeans, apples or corn. So I find it reasonable to assume that as long as one doesn't dump 100 pounds of corn on the ground to start off, acclimation to the corn will occur and they will start eating it quite regularly. As to the deer eating corn as a last resort, just got permission to shed hunt a section of corn that was left standing all winter due to an early blizzard. The corn was absolutely decimated while the 400 odd alfalfa bales across the fence were nearly untouched. Oh, and even with the green grass sprouting up here, there were over 90 deer that we pushed out of the corn while looking for sheds. Everything that is written in an article is just one persons view of the facts, my view included, so take them with a grain of salt. As for me I'll just stick to what I see.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 1 day ago

As a Conservation Officer I checked crop damage by the wildlife. I have looked at many cornfields that have litterly been destroyed by deer. Eaten to the ground. Our deer used to be browsers but they browsered themselves out of food when the population exploded in the 80's. Now they have become grazers and corn has become a big part of their diet. The farm service co-op stores now sell 80% of their corn to deer hunters and not farmers for their cattle and hogs. We have feeders on our property and run them year around. Like someone said before they only put out about a cup or two when they go off and they only go off 2 or 3 times a day. The deer don't gorge themselves on corn. We have never found the dead deer that previous posts have talked about and we have been feeding deer corn for 20 years. I can only speak for what I have observed. Deer do perfer acorns to corn but even when there is a huge crop of acorns they will still eat some corn.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Treestand, according to Dr. Shalaway feeding corn to deer can result in their death due to digestive problems.

"The problem is that deer digestion is a finely tuned physiological process. Just the right combination of microorganisms, enzymes, and pH enable deer to digest a normal winter diet of woody vegetation. When offered a sudden supply of corn, a deer’s digestive system doesn’t have time to adjust to a high carbohydrate diet. The result can be acute acidosis followed by death within 72 hours.

"At the time of death these individuals can appear normal and well fed. It’s just that they cannot digest the corn. Within six hours, corn alters the environment in the rumen. It turns the rumen acidic and destroys the microbes needed for normal digestion.

"Not all deer die immediately from acidosis. Its effects vary with the age and health of the individual. Some may simply slow down, get clumsy, and become easy prey to speeding traffic and hungry coyotes.

"It takes deer two to four weeks of feeding on a new food source to establish populations of microbes necessary to digest the new food. It can’t happen in just a few days during a snowstorm. And healthy individuals that might survive in the short term often succumb to complications weeks later.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 3 days ago

I use corn feeders. But due to the fact that corn is now $12 bushel, I load them up about a week before archery season (Archery opens Oct 1) and pull them all down for storage after gun season closes. (normally, first Sunday in Dec) Even though archery continues through Jan 15, I've normally got all I want by the end of gun season. If not, there is a bonus antlerless season the last week of Dec.
My idea is if you want to feed year 'round, plant food plots!! (I've got TWO of those!)

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Planted crops don't seem to be the issue if I read correctly. The deer would have enough time to adjust to the diet. I used to hunt in Kentucky on a farm that had planted corn, soybean, and wheat during different times of the year. Those were the fattest deer I've ever skinned.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Steps in Edjumicashun accoring to Larry the Cable guy

B.S. Boool sheet
M.S. More of the same
Phd Piled Higher & Deeper

Just sayin.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Well Said Montana!!

Yester day on the Hunting TV, The Deer Doctor, was on "corn" feedres is one of the bast foods for Does
with milking young Deer....and Horn groth.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

To add to what Pighunter and Montana said, from what I understand from a biologist friend of mine and a local feed store "expert", whitetails will each shelled corn but aren't built to digest it very well. If you really want to feed them corn, they can handle cracked corn better. Only problem now is that it's $17.00/hundred now and still climbing. As to cornfields, they will eat it when it's in the milk stage, seen that myself.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from deerhunterrick wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Montana you are right ,you should stick with what you see. However, I did not say baled Alfalfa. Being you had an early blizzard and the corn was left standing it more then likely buried all other food sources. Don't you find it odd that it was still standing after the fall? I have a 1 mile deep x 2 mile long corn field directly across the road from my property. I see 300 to 400 deer each and everyday of the week. Yet when my beans,wheat,alfalfa,oats,clover are growing they are in my fields all day and night unless pushed out, usually when I shoot 1 or 2 and then they head to the field across the road. yes they do feed on corn, not stating they don't. But they prefer other sources of food first. Just what I see, every day, not just when hunting or out for sheds.
Bubba, thats a correct outlook, but a small pack of Gladiola's will draw deer faster then the corn does.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Scott Shalaway, who holds a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Michigan State University, says you should never feed deer.
http://www.farmanddairy.com/columns/feeding-corn-to-deer-could-be-death-...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 3 years 3 days ago

Make that "eat shelled corn". Sorry, too early.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 3 years 2 days ago

The absolutely last thing that hunters have on their minds when they put out corn for deer is extending the life expectancy of the deer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 2 days ago

My corn feeders only put out maybe 2 cups of corn per cycle. (morn/evening) The corn isn't for "feeding" deer, it's an attractant. They always know they can get a few nibbles of corn and will come in. Were I hunting huge acreages, I would not use feeders. Since I hunt smaller places, I have to pull the deer TO me.

Bubba

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Fill your feeder with Purina Deer Chow and don't worry about it,,,

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Montana wrote 3 years 1 day ago

We had a very wet fall, which is why I do not find it odd that the corn was still standing. As for the deer in my area, baled hay is the number one winter food source. Sometimes they will even hit the hay in early fall. As I sit here I have 20 plus deer on the haystack behind the house. My grandmother raised whitetails in Minnesota for 20 some years, they were fed the same thing as the dairy cows on the farm, cracked corn and alfalfa/clover hay. My family in Minnesota supplement the wild deer herd year round with cracked corn. Not saying that corn is the deer's first choice, just saying if the food source is there they will utilize it.

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from Keith Costley wrote 2 years 51 weeks ago

You can feed corn to deer 365 days a year.

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