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Old Oct 29th 2016, 07:20 PM   #1
 
  Oct 2016
  Utah/Pa
Hello and questions

Hi everyone, My name is James. I am researching starting a deer farm, I am full of questions, long story short old family farm is getting sold, my dad is giving me money to invest in a farm, business, what have you from the sale and I am basically trying to figure out what I want to do. Our farm grew primarily corn, I have minimal experience with livestock so it will be a learning experience, I may as well start asking questions here.


I don't have the land yet, but I am thinking 20 acres, back on the east coast, most likely Pennsylvania. Is 20 acres enough to start? How many whitetail can I raise on 20 acres, what would be the profit?

Are there any books you would recommend reading?

I've been browsing the forums and it seems most artificially inseminate, aside from genetic material from across the nation is there a reason why natural breeding is not popular?

what kind of barn setup is needed? would a standard cattle shoot work as a drop shoot?

Should one start with full grown deer or bottle fed fawns?

would someone be willing to share a budget with me? Ie cost of stock, feed, meds, losses, etc.

Do your deer have issue with the noise from farm equipment?

Aside from an 8foot fence what necessities are needed for an encloser

I've got more but can't think of them, I honestly think the most important one is about the book, any literature you can reccomend so I can do some in depth reading would be wonderful

Hah, here is a weird one I thought of, anyone try does milk? hows it taste?
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Old Oct 29th 2016, 08:00 PM   #2
 Padencreek's Avatar
 
  May 2011
  Linesville, PA
Hi everyone, My name is James. I am researching starting a deer farm, I am full of questions, long story short old family farm is getting sold, my dad is giving me money to invest in a farm, business, what have you from the sale and I am basically trying to figure out what I want to do. Our farm grew primarily corn, I have minimal experience with livestock so it will be a learning experience, I may as well start asking questions here.


I don't have the land yet, but I am thinking 20 acres, back on the east coast, most likely Pennsylvania. Is 20 acres enough to start? How many whitetail can I raise on 20 acres, what would be the profit?

20 Acres is more than enough but the deer market is very poor right now. Profit...very little at this point. You could easily have 8-10 deer per acre.

Are there any books you would recommend reading?

I've been browsing the forums and it seems most artificially inseminate, aside from genetic material from across the nation is there a reason why natural breeding is not popular?

AI allows you to have the cream of the crop for sires, thus advancing your genetics in the shortest amount of time.

what kind of barn setup is needed? would a standard cattle shoot work as a drop shoot?

Whitetails don't need much and you would need a deer chute or you can also sedate them with a dart gun for handling purposes.

Should one start with full grown deer or bottle fed fawns?

Probably bred doe.

would someone be willing to share a budget with me? Ie cost of stock, feed, meds, losses, etc.

Budget varies greatly. Some invest hundreds of thousands to start others start with much less.

Do your deer have issue with the noise from farm equipment?

No, deer adapt to anything but they hate dogs.

Aside from an 8foot fence what necessities are needed for an encloser

8ft fence with 45 degree corners and some nice gates.

I've got more but can't think of them, I honestly think the most important one is about the book, any literature you can reccomend so I can do some in depth reading would be wonderful

Hah, here is a weird one I thought of, anyone try does milk? hows it taste?[/QUOTE]

Never tried it and you likely couldn't get it even off a tame doe.
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Old Oct 30th 2016, 05:25 AM   #3
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
Here is the HONEST TRUTH. Do not invest money thinking you will profit from deer. It will not happen despite anyone telling you that it will. I know you won't listen to this advice because when a person wants to do something they only listen to what they want to hear. So for that reason let me apologize now for those who will sugar coat and out right lie to you. Sorry you have lost the money you were supposed to invest in a business for profit.
Why do I say this? Because it is the truth. The industry has fell to the point guys are GIVING AWAY their females and telling hunt ranches to just take their bucks because they can't feed them.
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Old Oct 30th 2016, 07:28 AM   #4
 
  Oct 2016
  Utah/Pa
Whats happened to the industry?
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Old Oct 30th 2016, 08:26 AM   #5
 Jack's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Vaughn, MT 59487

Cervid: mule deer,whitetail,elk,goats,bighorn & stone sheep
If your thinking of Utah for your deer farm I think Utah will not allow deer but do elk.
What has happened to the deer farming industry is there were to many people brought into the industry for the big breeding market which most could never enter so they had to sell to what is this industry's true market which is the harvest market. Problem is now there are too many bucks for the limited harvest markets to handle. Harvest facilities have also become political bad and not ethical in the public eyes to use harvest facilities to harvest the deer for food on hunt facilities because of a lack of the animal to escape death and fair chase. This idea of course was pushed by the DNR and critics even though the truth is a on farm harvest/slaughter is the most humane way for an animal raised for food to die. A chance to escape a harvest was the most ridiculous idea ever sold to the public and this industry didn't fight that in the right way fact is not at all. It is like asking a slaughter house to allow an escape of the animal going to be slaughtered. The only thing that should have entered this discussion was it a humane way to harvest these animals just as the DNR allows the wild deer to be harvested. If not, neither the DNR or game farmers should be allowed to harvest deer by hunting them.
You would be entering a industry which is having problems both in public opinion and has way to many deer to sell at this time. This industry is in a reduction change and is having a hard time controlling the outcome. Think hard on going into it at this time.
The reason I went into this is I love wild animals and find it very pleasurable and rewarding to raise them which I have done for almost forty years. They have always paid their way and some years made a profit. But it is getting harder to make a profit on whitetail. That is why I'm very diversified in the animals I raise. One animal will make a good profit which allows the group to be fed. If I were to get rid of an animal that is hit and miss it would be whitetail but I still like them too much so class them as my hobby. LOL

Last edited by Jack; Oct 30th 2016 at 09:48 AM. Reason: personal note
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Old Oct 30th 2016, 01:03 PM   #6
 
  Oct 2016
  Utah/Pa
Right I have a forestry/wild life management degree so that's why I was thinking deer, put it to work since I can't find work with the NPS, I will keep looking and doing research, No I am leaving Utah as soon as possible I am an Eastern boy I prefer the forest to the desert any day.
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Old Oct 30th 2016, 03:29 PM   #7
 
  Oct 2016
  Alma illinois
If you plan to get in to make money I wouldn't. If you want a few as a hobby they are a lot of fun to watch.

I started in deer around 08 at that time I had around 50k to invest. I thought about cattle, had the pasture and had raised cattle in the past. But was sucked in by the talk of 10k shooter bucks selling does for 5k and so on. What I found was it was easy to find that doe to buy for 5k but good luck selling one if you are just a small no name farm. To make a Long story short I lost all of the original 50k plus plenty more as well. EHD had a hand in that, lots of nice shooters died before they grew out, lost over 80% one year alone. Was hit 3 years in a row. I have kept a few head around but this fall have decided to get rid of the remaining animals I have.

Good luck , if you do jump in do it in stages and feel it out. Lots of great people to meet in the deer world
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Old Oct 31st 2016, 08:59 AM   #8
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
James,
You have been given a sampling of the reasons the deer industry has fallen apart.
There was a time when growing deer was a great option. Both in the hunt side of the industry and the breeder side.

You will hear some speak poorly of the breeder side however it really was a valid option for a long time. In fact longer than I expected it to go. No breeder market ever goes forever without a drop off.
Some folks followed a path not viable in the breeder side and got burnt. That incorrect path was trying to create a hype about bloodlines that weren't even luke warm much less hot to begin with. The path I took was using solid proven production lines that had an existing value already in the industry. From there I made crosses that produced well and increased the value they already had. This was successful for me and I was fortunate. Luckily for me a divorce drastically changed my direction and I sold the high value stuff just before the collapse of the breeder market.
Some jumped into the breeder game late and bought just prior to the inevitable collapse.
Both incorrect paths and joining the game late resulted in money lost to some folks.

The hunt side collapsed for many reasons. Supply and demand. Government regulations. Oil prices dropped causing a downturn in the number of folks spending big dollars hunting. As prices collapsed many breeding farms opted to start selling their own hunts by creating new family run hunt ranches. This in turn drove the available hunts up while not increasing the number of hunters available. Supply and demand and also the undercut your competition factor kicked in. Also many folks decided to increase their herd sizes making the supply and demand even worse. Some states with no hunt ranches in them started dumping bucks into other states at stupidly cheap prices. And instead of cutting herd sizes actually began increasing their sizes making the supply even greater.
We are now at a point where bucks that used to sell for $20k on a hunt are selling for $5k. Some growers have even gotten to where they will ship bucks for pennies on the dollar just to get rid of the high feed bills. 250" bucks selling for 170" prices and 300" bucks selling for as low as $2800 each.
Females are now worth nothing most times. No one is buying so guys are killing them to lower the feed bills.

You will see some folks still trying to push the illusion that there still is a market for whitetail. Offering semen at thousands of dollars per straw and claiming only a limited amount will be sold. Do NOT fall victim to those tactics. For someone who is considering getting into the industry with the idea of a profit all I can say is DON'T do it. If and I do mean IF you really want some deer just for a hobby fine. But understand there will be no profit. You will eat your females. You might sell a buck or two. If you want a hobby put up one pen. Buy two does and one buck. Every fall eat your doe fawns. Find a market for your buck fawns weaned off mom in fall. If you get enough to pay the feed bill each year for your three adults great.

Sorry this wasn't what you wanted to hear, but it is the truth.
Take care.
Roger
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Old Oct 31st 2016, 10:50 AM   #9
 
  Oct 2016
  Utah/Pa
Thanks for all the advice. This really helped. I am still considering picking up a few as a hobby, venison anytime sounds good to me, better than goat sounds. I'll start looking into other avenues.
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Old Nov 1st 2016, 06:08 PM   #10
 FreeTown WTs's Avatar
 
  Oct 2014
  Garrettsville, OH
Wish i had that advice when i started 4 years ago. That aside think minimalistic small pens few animals. You can buy some nice genetics right now and raise the biggest bucks you have ever seen (in the wild.) its just fun but feed bill will add up real quick. I started with $500 does and $100 straws.
if your gonna raise break even deer Keep them typical have fun. I beleive we r seeing who was in it for the money keep it a hobby and they will pay for them selfs.
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Old Nov 1st 2016, 06:13 PM   #11
 FreeTown WTs's Avatar
 
  Oct 2014
  Garrettsville, OH
Just wanted to add. Hobby not buisness. No profit deffinelty aggreed.
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Old Nov 2nd 2016, 06:41 AM   #12
 
  Sep 2010
  Zimmerman, MN
Don't waste your time on semen and AI. This is where your costs will really add up. Semen + Vet fees + Drug costs. Then you may end up with does that are not bred anyway. Only raise does that produce!! Do not fall for the big name/flavor of the week that so many have. High dollar feeds don't do shit either. Have a balanced feed mixed at your local feed mill. I pay $320 a ton right now, and am making a profit. No, I cannot make a living off of it alone. But yes, it can be done if you are SMART about it. The people that lose their ass doing it did not make good decisions on the beginning.
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Old Nov 2nd 2016, 10:25 AM   #13
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
For those of us hanging on trying make a profit or just for a hobby, yes costs are key. Keep the costs low and do not let the herd grow too large. Make the hard choices and stick to them.
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Old Nov 11th 2016, 11:31 PM   #14
 R&J Whitetails's Avatar
 
  Jan 2013
  Cando, ND
This is my 3rd year at deer farming and I can say I have made $0.00 so far but the feed bill, vaccinations, semen prices, and now this year I need to spend money on cwd testing all of these bills are real. Not to mention the nagging wife wondering where all our money went. My question to some of you farmers that have replied the the OP's question is what are you raising typical or non-typical that you are not making any money? I've been told good clean 200" typicals a guy should be able to average $4500 a deer and I had asked this again last year how the market was and I was told again it's still doing fine. Is this just a bunch of talk or what? He will be at my place on Sunday to help me ai again and I'm going to ask him again but want to hear what you guys have to say. I can see there not being any money in the non-typical market because its flooded with them. Anyone can grow a gob of shit on a deers head but can you grow big beautiful clean typicals and make money? On paper it looks good but I haven't sold any so I don't know I guess. I was just going by what I was told by a well known guy in the industry and it's not hard to figure out who so I sure hope he is right because I'm not doing it to only make $500-$1000 a head, it's way to much work and stress. Sorry if I hijacked your thread.

Last edited by R&J Whitetails; Nov 11th 2016 at 11:45 PM.
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Old Nov 12th 2016, 07:40 AM   #15
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
I will ask you this question.
How can you get $4500 for a nice looking typical buck scoring 200" when the hunt ranch sells those hunts for not much more than that?
Guys, you will not make enough money in deer to offset the amount of work. In fact if you can't control costs and have excellent luck (no losses) and....

You know what? I have warned people over and over the past few years. The deer industry is done. Yet guys don't want to HEAR that. People keep asking the questions until they get THE answer they want to hear. I give up.
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