LSU AgCenter Wildlife Field Day Offers Tips For Landowners

Brian R. Chandler, Sanders, Dearl E., Reed, Donald P., Morgan, Johnny W.  |  9/23/2006 2:13:01 AM

LSU AgCenter researcher Dr. Dearl Sanders, at left, explained research of which plants deer prefer to eat during a Sept. 16 wildlife field day at the AgCenter’s Idlewild Research Station. Sanders, who is research coordinator at the station, showed what type plants were favored most and least by deer and explained how wire mesh is used to protect a portion of the plants within research plots to compare how much of the unprotected plants are eaten by deer.

Dr. Don Reed of the LSU AgCenter explained the best type of salt and mineral supplement plots to build for deer to improve health within herds. Reed said now is the best time to put out salt, and he showed how he designs food plots that include rotten logs and dirt covered with salt. Reed said deer will eat the dirt and rotten logs during the spring to get to the salt.

News Release Distributed 09/22/06

CLINTON, La. – Management techniques for white-tailed deer were the main topics discussed at the LSU AgCenter’s Wildlife Field Day Sept. 16 at the Idlewild Research Station near Clinton.

This annual field day brought interested landowners from as far away as Houma to receive the latest information on ways to improve the quality of deer herds on their property.

The field day opened with Scott Durham, the deer program leader for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, who gave an overview of the state’s new deer tagging program.

Participants then visited four locations on the station to discuss establishment and utilization of warm-season food plots, mineral supplementation in managing white-tailed deer, development of and hunting techniques for "honey holes" and timber stand improvement methods for wildlife.

Dr. Dearl Sanders, an LSU AgCenter professor and research coordinator at the Idlewild Station, showed what type plants were favored most and least by deer. He also explained how wire mesh is used to protect a portion of the plants within research plots to compare how much is eaten by deer.

"One of the latest plants that we are looking at is the perennial peanut," Sanders said. "This plant is fairly difficult to establish because it doesn’t produce many seeds, but once it takes hold it will be there year after year."

Regarding the economics of using mineral supplements in wildlife management, LSU AgCenter associate professor Dr. Don Reed showed the proper way to use supplements in managing white-tailed deer.

Reed’s research has considered the cost breakdown for the various products on the market. He also showed how cameras that are heat activated or motion activated can be used to monitor which products are most attractive to deer.

The LSU AgCenter expert said now is the best time to put out salt in the food plots that he designs with rotten logs and dirt that’s covered with salt. He allows the salt to dissolve over the early winter months so it’s ready for deer to feed on in the spring.

"We’ve found that deer really like to dig into the dirt and the rotten logs to get at the salt," Reed said.

During summer, fall and winter months salt is not very attractive to the deer. "They are more attracted to the salt licks when they are developing antlers and have high mineral requirements," he said.

Research shows that only one of these salt supplement plots is needed per 300 acres of land, Reed said.

Brian Chandler, area forester for the LSU AgCenter, presented information to the 80-plus attendees on timber stand improvement for wildlife. His presentation included different chemicals available to landowners and the proper way to use each in the control of unwanted vegetation.

The final stop on the field day tour was the presentation by Dave Edwards, wildlife biologist for Westervelt Wildlife Services, a company with businesses that include wildlife consulting services for landowners.

Edwards showed how his company tries to help landowners realize their dreams of having better quality deer on their property.

"One of the first things that we ask the landowner is what is it that he or she wants us to do for him or her," Edwards said. "It normally doesn’t take long to realize that what the landowner wants is many times not economically feasible. That’s when we show them that doing a little is sometimes a whole lot more than doing nothing at all."

Edwards said the Westervelt consultants will sit down with landowners and show them how to make incremental steps toward their overall goals.

The field day was sponsored by the LSU AgCenter, the Quality Deer Management Association’s South Louisiana Branch and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.


Brian Chandler at (225) 683-3101 or
Dearl Sanders at (225) 683-5848 or
Don Reed at (225) 683-5848 or
Johnny Morgan at (225) 578-8484 or

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