Build Better Deer, Winter Food, Survival

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Matt Ross (National Deer Alliance) discuss what we can do to better our landscapes and considerations for improving deer health into the winter months. Matt discusses his history at Quality Deer Management and the NDA, his background and land management strategies that support our deer herds. Matt discusses factors that land managers can control and what is most critical this time of year.  Matt focuses on food sources in the summer and fall to support our deer through the winter.

Matt explains deer biology and what is essential to support deer health leading up to winter months. Matt discusses deer’s metabolic state and what behavior changes happen through the winter months. Matt explains a misnomer that most are unfamiliar with as it pertains to a deer’s diet. Matt discusses weight loss and how deer sustain themselves through the hardest months of the year.

Matt provides explanations on how to techniques to measure deer health with evaluating fat content to determine current body condition. Matt and Jon discuss winter severity and impacts on the deer, and how to measure this on your landscape. Jon provides an explanation of how he attacks the winter improvement to support deer and what calculation he uses to evaluate deer numbers and impact on the landscape.

Matt and Jon discuss food preferences in the winter. Matt details specific plants and provides a rule to help support/ensure that your deer meet the baseline diet, and what we can do to increase the gains in the summer months. Matt and Jon discuss what foods, trees and shrubs deer prefer in the winter months. Matt discusses natural ecology and the examples of techniques you can use to benefit your deer and the resultant landscape. Matt and Jon discuss deer fecal matter, and explain methods of how to use pellet counts to measure deer and the volume of fecal matter. Matt and Jon talk about what plants deer should not be eating and plants that are indicators of poor-quality habitat.

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