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Old Sep 24th 2017, 01:36 PM   #1
 
  Sep 2017
  Texas
Failing at Raising Deer in Texas

Have come upon these forums out of a little frustration. I live in Texas. I purchased 225 acres of land three years ago, had it fenced, bought 5 does and 1 buck and have failed at generating any thing to speak of from the new found hobby of deer farming. Now, I did not intend to raise these deer for any specific purpose such as preserve hunting or stocker buck production. I purchased these brood animals to populate this acreage with somewhat better than average deer relative to the native whitetails that live in the general area.
Now, I don't live on the property because I have to work an hourly wage to support this crazy project. However, it never occurred to me that these animals would not be able to prosper and survive. To date, I have two of the original does that have survived and one, 1 and 1/2 year old buck born from the original stock, still living. I have since bought a couple more does. In sum, I started with 5 original does and now have 4 does. I have raised 1 fawn to the age of 1.5 years. Everything else has died.
Now I'm sure that you're thinking I must be some rich idiot who has more money than sense and couldn't raise a tadpole in pond water. I can assure you that I am nowhere close to being rich, have successfully raised cows, horses, goats, and sheep, and work myself to death when I believe in a project. Believe me, this deer farming project has brought me closer to death.
At the time this whole process started, I did not have any predator issues. They have been fed with Purina AntlerMax Breeder Professional 16, have been dewormed annually, and are never without a clean source of water. Per Texas law, they are considered to be wild deer and I cannot put my hands on them.
These deer were purchased from reputable breeders. However, it is now obvious that most breeders in this state are raising deer to sell to other breeders, as breeder pen brood stock, or as stocker bucks for hunting. Apparently, raising deer to sell to an end user who just wishes to stock his property is not the market targeted by breeders. My observation is that these breeder farm deer just do not have the vigor to go from pen to open pasture enviroment and survive successfully.
I get it and bear no animosity to the people I have done business with. I just now realize that I'm not the guy who is supporting their business'. I don't want to give up on this project, but, I need some help. Yes, the breeders that I have bought deer from have genuinely offered advice, but, the successful remedies suggested by these well intended farmers ofter apply to pen raised deer that can be sedated, treated, examined, and AI'd. Texas calls my deer, "wild deer". As noted above, I cannot put my hands on a wild deer in Texas.
There are 4 million wild deer in Texas. There are a bunch of these deer that live to maturity and beyond, if they aren't shot. Somehow these animals survive EHD, parasites, coyotes, temperatures up to 110 degrees, poor natural range nutrition and drought. It's not like I'm trying to re-invent the wheel here. Are there any breeders on this forum that farm their deer in Texas? Does anyone here know of end users in Texas that have released pen raised deer successfully onto open range? Any advice from anyone, even if they don't raise deer in Texas, would be appreciated. Someone has done this successfully.
I'm not a wealthy person and I just can't throw good money after bad. I know this, and now my wife is reinforcing this. Your thoughts are appreciated.
miked is offline  
Old Sep 24th 2017, 02:59 PM   #2
 
  Jan 2010
if you are not there all the time, how do you know what happened to the deer? if there is ample water and food beyond what you have provided there should be more than that. What about EHD in the area, that can wipe out deer fast, a coyote or bobcat can dig under or crawl the fence if they know there will be food in there. Have you found any bones from the dead ones? they tell a story too. What about poachers in the area? Are there sheep or cows in there? Lots of factors to weigh in there.
weber195 is offline  
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