Category Archives: Protein Feeder

The Importance of Protein Supplementation in Maryland Deer Hunting

So a few weeks I put out a couple protein feeders to help supplement my deer herds, and it brings me great pleasure to let you know how successful they have been. Normally this time of year is very difficult for the deer and other wildlife, but with the unseasonable warm temps they seem to be just fine. I normally put out minerals after deer season has ended, and last year I added protein to the mix. Protein is not only important to bucks for weight gain and antler growth, but it’s also very important for the does as it helps with lactation for the upcoming fawns. Below is a few pictures I have gotten since I put the protein feeder out, and they are tearing it up. Check it out.

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So as you can see my deer have certainly taken quite an interest in the protein feeders and minerals I put out. This particular spot I have had better than average activity, as some of my other spots it has taken the deer some time to warm up to the feeders. But believe me not, once they get used to it, it’ll be hard to keep them away. I can tell you I’m so excited to see the results come this fall. If you haven’t tried mineral and protein supplementation I highly recommend you do.

Protein Supplementation for Big Bucks on Small Plots in Maryland

Over the years I have experimented and tried just about everything I could to grow and hold big mature whitetails on my properties. Being that all my properties are small in size, and lack great covered especially during winter I have had to really step up my game. Now I am lucky enough to have a good water source on each and every property but I have still had to add supplemental feeding in order to achieve the results I wanted. I started out with corn feeders which helped, then I added minerals which helped even more, but it wasn’t until I went full bore with everything that I actually got the results I was after. Now I keep talking results so let me explain, I am talking about being able to watch a buck grow year after year after year. Like I already said my properties are small, so I would usually see nice bucks early in the season but then they would disappear late never to be seen again. Through trail and error this is what I figured out, you can get big mature buck to live on your property if you supply them with a quality food source ALL YEAR ROUND. Here’s an example of what I do, corn feeder year round, then supplement with minerals, and PROTEIN after the antlers drop until the end of the next growing season. The reason I’m writing this is to tell you I feel the protein supplementation has been my biggest key to success over the last couple years. Putting protein out and keeping it out is no easy task, and it’s no like it is cheap either, so I just do the best I can. I would be lying if I said none of my feeders ever went dry, but there are some things more important than deer, yes I said it, just a couple. I like to get the protein in large quantities, as I want my deer to be able to get as much as they need during this crucial time of year. The best way I have found to do this with gravity protein feeders. The next reason I wanted to share this post is to tell you about the protein feeders I make myself since everything in stores is quite costly especially if you have multiple properties you’d like to put them out on. I start with aluminum trash cans, 20 or 30 gallon work just fine for my application. Here is a brief overview with pictures of how it I get it done when it counts.

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First I start with an aluminum trash can you can get at your local Home Depot, Lowes, or Tractor Supply store. I then drill a 2.5″ hole in the center bottom of the can and then mount the PVC fitting with stainless steel screws as shown. After this is secure I use PVC cement to attach the drop tube as shown. The size of the drop tube will depend on the size of the fitting used, I usually use 3″ or 4″.

2012 03 11 19.31.35 800x600 Protein Supplementation for Big Bucks on Small Plots in MarylandWith the drop tube in place you can then install the feed tray, this is a feed dish of some kind, either farm or you can get a dog dish. The most important thing to remember is you want the feed dish to be smaller diameter than the bottom of the trash can. This is important to help keep the elements out. As you can see from the picture I attach the feed tray with stainless steel L brackets and screws leaving about a 1″ for the feed to fall.

2012 03 11 19.33.27 800x600 Protein Supplementation for Big Bucks on Small Plots in MarylandThe easiest way I have found to mount the can is to attach a 2×4 on the back with three screws and washers. I start the screws from inside the can and use special washers with a rubber to ensure no water gets into the can. I put these washers on the inside, and outside of the can to ensure a watertight seal. When mounting the 2×4 to the can make sure to leave about one foot above the can so it is easy to bolt to a tree.

2012 03 14 07.46.32 800x600 Protein Supplementation for Big Bucks on Small Plots in MarylandSo here is the final product in action, bolted to a tree, and waiting for a big ole buck to come take advantage of it’s offerings. Take a drill to the woods when installing and pre-drill a hole in the tree and bolt right on, it literally took me ten minutes to install this one.

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I like to top one good thing off with another so I fill my feeders with Antler King products as my deer seem to love them. I put this feeder up about a week ago and I’m so stoked to check my camera to see what’s coming. I hope this post has been helpful, as I’m all about managing my deer herd the most economical way possible. You might as well spare some coin on the feeder and use that money to buy the best feed possible. You can put out corn, the minerals, but the big bucks like the protein.