In mid December, with the blistering cold weather, resources of food to feed the deer are scarce because everything is covered with snow. And at this time in the season the deer have eaten most of the food sources, making them either have to travel or survive a long, cold and miserable winter. Deer are off limits to shoot at this time; due to pregnant does and males shedding their antlers.
This is usually when we begin to feed them. We do not feed them several times a day, we feed them once a day, naturally around the same time. This helps the deer maintain a consistent and healthy weight while they are carrying their babies. Feeding them several times daily, will lead them to think you are providing all their food for them. Which means there natural instincts to find their own food when they need it, will become absent. They become dependent of people more than themselves for food They will stick around until someone brings food out, and forget about finding their own.
This is the only part of winter I look forward too. The deer in my backyard have gotten comfortable being around us so much, that when we get the grain bucket they come plowing through he woods to meet us in the field. We have walked right up to them, dumped out the bucket of grain and they soon come charging towards us, to get the grain before the others do. Sometime we give them left over apples, carrots, bread and more. I am able to feed deer out of my hands and mouth, not usually a normal thing people have in mind when they see a deer. But that’s just my connection with them. There is also a couple of deer that come up to our window and wait for us to throw something out. They are strictly herbivores, so if something gets thrown out they normally wouldn’t eat in the woods, chances are they will walk past it. It is an amazing experience to be able to sit outside and watch the deer pile around with their young, recently born that spring.
The only down side is that with coyotes and natural deaths, the deer population drops greatly. There have been times, walking through my land with my dad, (usually after winter) we have found skulls and bones from deer that died that previous winter. Usually the babies are the ones who are killed, because they can’t escape from the coyotes.
Being able to see these deer come out, and hang around our house half the day is amazing. It is an experience many people don’t get to have. This occurred about three years ago when we moved into our new house. We chose not to feed them at our old house because it was on the main road. Which means the deer would be more likely to be in accident by crossing the road. Feeding them is quite costly and addicting, but it is an amazing opportunity to have.