Scouting from the Skinning Shed: Stomach Content

By GrowingDeer,

Every successful hunt is a learning experience. On top of all the excitement from the hunt, we can also gain information for our next hunt.

This image is a great example of how preferred food sources can quickly change. This shows the stomach content of  two bucks that were harvested 12 days apart (Swoops 12/22 and Center 8 1/03) out of the same plot. Notice how Swoops’ rumen content is brown and primarily acorns with some milo seeds while Center 8 had been eating much more green forage. We call this “scouting from the skinning shed”.

The best way to determine what deer are eating in any habitat is to simply inspect the rumen (stomach) content of a hunter harvested, road killed, etc. deer. This information is current and 100% accurate for that location because deer are selective feeders. They tend to eat the best food available within their range.


Healthy Prey and Predator Numbers

By GrowingDeer,

Raccoon are notorious nest predators and populations are high in many areas. As wildlife managers, we wish to see healthy prey and predator numbers. Trapping is a great management tool for balancing high predator numbers so prey species like turkeys, quail, song birds and other critters can thrive.

different baits to use to attract predators when trapping: sweets, meats, foot hold trap and a raccoon

When selecting bait to target raccoons, we often use a combination of “sweets” and “meats”. Raccoons have a sweet tooth and during cold nights they will seek energy rich food/protein like meat. Having a combination of sweets and meats at a trap site can be an effective baiting strategy. Will you be balancing nest predator numbers this winter where you turkey hunt?

Easy, Early Scouting for Trapping

By GrowingDeer,

As we check the RECONYX for deer we also make notes of where raccoons and opossums are active. This information helps us place Duke Traps exactly where critters are moving!

trapping nest predators

While trapping in the early part of the trapping season may not yield the best for fur prices, it can be a good time to start trapping nest predators.  Concerns over the impact on deer movement need to be considered.  However, deer certainly become conditioned to vehicles that deliver feed, while avoiding all other vehicles on the same property. If you check the trap line at the same time daily, the deer probably know the noise of a truck or ATV, and the smells associated with the trapping gear. If there is a long pattern of people passing through the property without threatening the deer herd, it’s likely the deer are not bothered by trappers — they are conditioned to his presence.

Shoot United

By GrowingDeer,

Shooting sports and hunting have had a positive influence in our lives and many of our family members. This is why we are excited to share Shoot United! Shoot United is designed to promote all that’s exciting and fun about the shooting sports and hunting activities, as well as responsible firearm ownership. It’s time spent outdoors with family and friends. It’s competition and relaxing days at the range or in the field. It’s one of the safest recreational activities in the country and the fastest-growing sport at the high-school level. The mission of Shoot United is to introduce millions of people with engaging content and grassroots events, and get more people to participate! To learn more and make the shooting sports a part of your life visit – and watch this video:


Trapping Locations: Thermals and Scents

By GrowingDeer,

When selecting a trap site, consider the direction thermals/air will carry scent during the night (when predators are most active). Traps/bait up wind of a critter’s travel path is best to ensure they smell the bait.