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tuthdoc 03-17-2008 06:41 PM

protein. A testament
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With protein going up and all the discussions we've had lately, I thought something that might give us hope and show that there is potential benefit to spending the money. It's a story of a deer. If you read TTH you read the story of the kill. This is the story of how he got there.

I've always gone against the general thinking in protein feeding in two regards. The first is that you don't stop feeding it. You feed it year around, as long as you can afford it. The second is that it doesn't take years for it to show fruit. If the right deer puts his nose in the feeder and stays there, that deer can show dramatic growth the first year.

I've put together a progression of pics showing him from the end of the season in 06 to the end of his growth in Sept. He had protein all through the season, but his horns didn't change, so I just included enough to show him during the season.

We had fed L/E feed for a couple years. The deer didn't like it. They would MAYBE eat a sack a month per feeder. We begged, pleaded, and stomped and held our breath to get them to change. We told them if we were going to run the feed program, we needed to use something they'd eat. We managed to get about 4 test pens set up with Antlermax and convinced them to change. This buck came in at the beginning of that change. So, it wasn't a long term effect to his growth. It came about in one year.

The year was a dry one. Overall buck growth was poor. This buck used a minimum of 6 pens. You can see from the pics that he used a number of pens.

Here he is in hard horn from the end of the 05/06 season. He scored 163. That's considering he had 18 inside. We found both sheds. One was laying right by a protein tube.

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tuthdoc 03-17-2008 06:52 PM

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We don't run cams after March/April. The horns are pretty well gone and we don't want to risk losing cams to hog hunters. Besides, it's boring looking at 500 pics of muley heads. We put the cams back out in June and in July, we started getting pics of him that made us giddy. My little brother and I were filling feeders that month and every time his pic came up, we cheered like we were at an Amway convention. We even saw him that month. We were going back out to put a new card in a cam to see if we could get him on camera overnight and he jumped up about 50 yards in front of the Ranger. Looked like he was wearing one of those big Russian fur hats with a stick hanging out of it. We stopped and started praying that he didn't hit anything and knock anything off. After that, as soon as we got to the ranch, we ran to the cameras to see how he was progressing. The following pics are a small sample of those pics. Takes him to just before shedding.

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The last pic is out of chronological order. However, it's important. That buck that is feeding opposite the big one is following the same track, but he's been on the feed for two extra years. This last year, he was a mid to high 60's typical 10 with really long brows. He put a lot into body and "down" this past year. If he follows his cousin, this may be another success story. Cross your fingers.

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AgHntr10 03-17-2008 06:57 PM


texag93 03-17-2008 06:59 PM

Wow, I hope I get anything close to that at my feeders this year. Thanks for sharing.

scotty 03-17-2008 07:15 PM

I..I..I... don't know what to say. Other than I need to go fill my protein feeders again.:D Outstanding!

Oz_Ag 03-17-2008 07:33 PM

I guess that's the buck Dr. Chaffin killed this year. What was the buck's final score? I agree with you 100% on the effects protein can have on a buck. Like you said if a buck really takes to it and becomes what I call a "Protein Hog" than they can really blow up! I started feeding protein a year ago this month and have not let the feeder go dry since. The buck in my avatar took to it right away. The year before last I passed him as a good 115-120" Hill Country 9pt. This year he gained easily 20" and about 50 lbs. He gross scored over 140". That's a 17-20% increase. I have several other bucks that have showed similar progress. Year 2 on protein should be real interesting!

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 07:44 PM

He killed it last year. That's him. He's on the cover of this month's TTHA mag.

Jamesl 03-17-2008 07:48 PM

Protein is expensive right now, but worth it.

John, did you guys find many sheds?

aggie2000tx 03-17-2008 07:57 PM

Nice bucks Doc

Landrover 03-17-2008 08:00 PM

That is Sweeeeeeeeet!

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 08:16 PM

We really didn't have time to look. We had to build barbed wire outer pens around the panel pens. They put about 2 jillion cows in our pastures and they wrecked havoc on three of our best pens. (Have I said lately how much I HATE cows.) We paid them back by eating some GOOD ribeyes Saturday night. We also had to pull in the last of our pop-ups. We put out about 210 to 220 sacks. They ate about 500 lbs per feeder on average. We'll have a month similar to that this next month as the mesquite greens. May may have a little heavier use, but June, July, August, and September will probably be close to 400 sacks per month. We'll earn our deer this year for sure.

We did find one full set of a nice young 10 at one pen. Found one side of a 150 class 10 that's going to be very, very hard to kill. some smaller sheds. Maybe next month we'll have some time to wander.

Africanbowhunter 03-17-2008 08:22 PM

What would happen doc if you were the only guy on the lease that feed protein year round ?

One feeder?


Brian H 03-17-2008 08:29 PM

Have all the deer shed already?

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 08:31 PM

If you have the right deer find it and use it, you'll have the potential to grow a big deer. Problem will be that you'll probably have SO MANY deer, that no one deer can get enough.

Example. I have a 1000 lb feeder that doesn't have any protein around it right now. Dog hasn't been up there to feed since early December. His protein is empty. gold doesn't run any on that side. My little brother has a small feeder about 1/2 mile from mine. So, I get A LOT of deer. I may have 2 dozen bucks eating out of it. They're using over 50 lbs/night. It won't last but about 20 days. If I try to keep it filled, it'll cost me about 30 sacks/month at 8 dollars per sack. I also have one about 1 1/2 miles from there. My little brother has another feeder about 1/2 mile from me, but there's no other protein feeder within 1 1/2 miles. Add that to my other feeder and I'm spending some bucks. One good thing is that the bucks like protein better than corn, and I get a lot of the bucks that might use the other guys' feeders. Last year, I tried to kill and have killed the does near my protein so that more bucks got the feed.

My BNL has two 1500 lb feeders about 1 1/2 miles north of me. He's helping a lot on that end and from the use, it's going to pay off for him if he keeps them filled.

If you're the only one feeding, and you can keep enough out, you'll see benefits. A few years ago, I'd have just added more feeders and drawn ALL the deer. Too high right now. We're going to check on protein next month.

If we had no other feeders on the ranch for that big buck outside of the one 85 gallon with the Boss Buck pen, and if we had put a couple 1000 lbers in it, I think he'd have stayed right there and eaten them dry, and grown the same rack.

Africanbowhunter 03-17-2008 08:34 PM

Thanks Amigo guess I need a protein feeder now...

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 08:36 PM

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With only three of us feeding on our lease SW of Dallas, we grew this deer as a 4 1/2 yo. He started as a yearling our first year to feed and stayed on protein. He shifted from my little Brother's protein to Dog's protein during his 2 1/2 yo season and just ate and ate. He was mid 60's and we thought we had a B&C as a 5 1/2 when we planned to kill him. Poacher got him before we had the chance. He only used this one feeder and he ate and ate and was on TC several times per day.

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Jamesl 03-17-2008 08:43 PM

We saw you guys moving around over there in camp. Just too busy to stop by. We stayed out in the field all day friday and saturday. We've got 6 high capacity feeders going since January and added another 8 this past weekend. Plus 6 cotton stations. But we don't come close to what you guys feed.

What is the stuff on the ground in pic #5?

WCB 03-17-2008 08:46 PM

Awesome pics Doc!!
I guess I need to spend more money. And a new lease...:D

Artos 03-17-2008 08:46 PM

What would that coon score??
......looks 25lbs!!

Man I like to shoot those crafty thieves!!

Bet he's healthy too!!

Jamesl 03-17-2008 08:47 PM

I've seen some bucks that have come off of Tuthdocs pasture. The body sizes is unreal. Overall the best pastures on the Junco, imo.

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 08:49 PM

That year, we had Bode feeders and tube feeders that we made out of 85 gallon drums and the green fiberglass feeders. The Bode feeders held over 20 sacks, but you can see he was only in one pen with a Bode. The others held only 9 sacks. We were afraid that he would run out of protein before we could get back down there. Those are Purina 20% blocks to tide him over. It's one thing that got us approval for the Boss Bucks.

I saw that you had trailers laden with protein and Boss Bucks. Can't wait to see what you grow over in that country over the next couple years.

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 08:52 PM

That coon under the 85 lived there all year. We have pic after pic of him just laying under the feeder, minding his own business, waiting for the deer to leave before he'd feed. then, he'd clean up the droppings. We've grown some GIANT coons on the ranch. Especially out of the Bode feeders where they could just lay in the tray and eat and eat. Some are so big that when we get them in our traps and shoot them, it's hard to get them out.

Tuffbroadhead 03-17-2008 08:53 PM

Thinking seriously about feeding 3/8 peanut meal this year down south...

Jamesl 03-17-2008 09:10 PM

Me too! I can't wait for the horns to start growing again and we can leave our cameras out all month.

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 09:13 PM

We'll put our cams out in June. Turkeys will keep us busy in San Angelo for the next month and a half. It'll be here before you know it.

happy bowhunter 03-17-2008 09:15 PM

Great writeup John,Sorry your big boy got poached,hopefully their will be a few more like that coming up

Jamesl 03-17-2008 09:24 PM

Speaking of turkeys John, we saw two hens on one of our pastures. Mike saw them first and I told him he was smoking crack. But we drove to where he saw them and jumped them. I thought the Junco did not have turkeys.

BrokenG's 03-17-2008 09:26 PM


Originally Posted by Artos (Post 563925)
......looks 25lbs!!

Man I like to shoot those crafty thieves!!

Bet he's healthy too!!

That's what I was thinking!!!! What does a "Trophy Coon Lease" Run?

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 09:28 PM

We have a pile of turkeys. We saw a GIANT gobbler at one of our pens. (They like protein). The ranch won't let us hunt in the spring and Wascom won't let us kill any in the fall. Sanchez has a bunch on his side of the road along the creek. If we could get Dog to kill some during the season, we'd have a turkey fry. I'm surprised that there aren't any on your end along that creek. Maybe they're spreading. Give you something to hunt in the fall.

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 09:29 PM

We've hammered on them pretty hard this year. We will set 6 to 8 traps in a heavily used pen and run it a couple nights. Usually results in 12 to 14 dead coons. Then we'll move to another one. We killed just over 100 since November. Cams help us monitor the pens that need attention.

Jamesl 03-17-2008 09:49 PM

Dang turkey lovers! I don't even want to know why they are off limits i your pastures. They are not on our side if we see them. I can fry some mean turkey breast with cream gravy.

tuthdoc 03-17-2008 10:16 PM

The same year we got permission to catch frogs, we asked Leonard about the turkeys. I told him I'd be glad when they thought the population was big enough so we could kill a few gobblers. He told us there was no rule about not shooting them. I had a pole feeder near the tank where they roost. Would have been simple. We told Jerry we were going to kill a couple gobblers because Leonard said there was no rule. He told us that it wasn't a ranch rule, it was their rule. Bummer.

Jamesl 03-17-2008 10:26 PM

hmmm...that's weird about the no turkey rule.

I could have shot a huge eland, but I am not paying $2500 to do so. I already pay more than I should.

Encinal 03-17-2008 11:48 PM

Thanks so much for sharing those pictures!

Awesome deer and writeup.

W-L-F 03-18-2008 07:52 AM

sorry about double post

W-L-F 03-18-2008 07:58 AM

Doc you said that you have switched from L/E feeds--what are you feeding now? I just switched to L/E; was feeding Ful-O-Pep; but it seems the deer are not hitting it very hard since i switched brands. Bad thing about this i cant afford to dump this feed have 8 2000lbs feeders full

MexicoBandit 03-18-2008 09:06 AM

Very cool read!

W-L-F 03-18-2008 02:42 PM

Doc how big is yalls pasture

BrandonBB 03-18-2008 06:47 PM

I feed Lyssy and Eckel as well, have people seen a problem with that feed? I just filled all of our feeders down in McMullen County, so i am not sure if they are eating it or not. The reason for the change to L/E was because the plant in Poth,Tx is only 5 miles from my house and I can purchase it in bulk much cheaper than by the sack, not to many feed stores offer feed in bulk. But I would like some other feed back on their 20% protein , before i blow a whole year feeding it. Thanks

Jamie 03-18-2008 08:18 PM

I read a recent study that found it helps buck (increased body weights and antlers)

but didn't help does (no noticeable increase in weight)

now, some contend it helps lactation rates in does....but, given the high price of protein now...having does eat a significant amount of it might be a waste of money.

My personal view is it helps the really good buck blow up as Tuthdoc points out...but those are a small percentage of the overall buck population.

The larger portion of the buck population get some benefits...maybe 10 more B&C points but it won't transform a 130 class deer into a 160.

and the bottom tier of the buck population eats the heck out of it and it does nothing....

but I still feed it cuz I want the upper tier to be the best that they can be

tuthdoc 03-18-2008 08:19 PM

I THINK we have about 11,000 acres. Not sure. I leave that to the people that pay for it. LOL

We are feeding Antlermax. The L/E experiment didn't work. We probably dumped several thousand pounds of it because it was just sitting there and getting old. I'm not saying it's not good feed. If the deer would have eaten it, we'd still be feeding it. I think it's most important to feed what the deer will eat, not some brand. There are guys having great success with L/E, just not us.

I've got another buck that is a work in progress. I'll dig his pics out and run his story. This year, he'll be killed. Hopefully it's a success story. He's not in the class of the above buck, but he is another testament to protein.

tuthdoc 03-18-2008 08:23 PM

I'm with you on the doe thing. Maybe makes better fawns. but on my limited budget, I want to feed the deer that show potential and let the lesser deer fend for themselves. LOL Problem is, I haven't figured out how to keep the does out of my pens. I kill a few, but when the bucks are away, the does come in and eat my high dollar feed. LOL

The good thing about the Junco is that out of our 20 pens, the camera data might show 2 or 3 does TOTAL. Some pens have never had a doe on camera. Makes the guys paying for the stuff happy.

tuthdoc 03-18-2008 09:15 PM

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This buck was picked as a "silver bullet". That means, he was claimed by a partner and it's his buck to kill then or in the future. It is a risk, as Mother Nature can be cruel and a deer can go up or down. We put a pen where these pics were taken, hoping to get him on protein, but we struck out. Never saw him in the pen. He was a fine motor scooter and had potential to blow up.

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Without him on protein, and with his tendencey to be a "horn dog", he took a tumble. He rutted hard and his body weight fell off, followed by about 30 inches of horn.

tuthdoc 03-18-2008 09:27 PM

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We didn't see him until early in the season. I had set up a tripod, one of my best tripod jobs, if I do say so myself. I was HIDDEN!. I knew my brother was coming up and I was going home and I wanted to hunt it first; so, the next morning I was perched. I had several good bucks come in, along with a buck I hoped was NOT Heartbeat. I called my brother and asked if he had seen the deer. He said yes, at a distance. I asked what he'd score. He said he would probably go high 40's/low 50's, but it was at a distance. I told him I had a deer at 10 to 15 yards that looked like the deer and if it was, he MIGHT make 130, a GIANT loss of horn. Next morning my brother was perched in my tripod and confirmed my suspicion. He had crashed!

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tuthdoc 03-18-2008 09:46 PM

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It was a sure thing that he wouldn't be shot that year. Not at his size. He rutted longer than any deer that we had seen. He was videoed chasing fawns the third week of February. Time to try again with the protein. My brother had watched him all season and found a very good looking spot, dead center of where he'd spent the fall and winter. that's not what we normally do, but we had struck out on where we thought he spent the spring and summer. We had a protein feeder up and running by the end of the season, and from the cameras, we hit a home run. He not only got in the pen, he got in the pen and ate protein 5 or 6 times per day, day and night.

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WE had hope.

Olympic Recurve 03-18-2008 09:54 PM

Great pics and write up! I have that copy of TTH mag on my counter right now. I haven't read the story yet, but wish it could have been you on the cover!

tuthdoc 03-18-2008 10:02 PM

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This season, he BOOMED! He didn't get his trash back, but he had the best frame that we've seen. I saw him twice at fairly close range and he was IMPRESSIVE, especially when you consider where he was the year before. He didn't get his 5's back and he has to get his trash back, but he's gone into the off season in great shape, he wasn't a lady's man this past season, and he continues to eat protein. We hope to see lots of Antlermax go down his throat. As of March, he was still eating. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next 6 months. Hopefully, another testament to protein.

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JHT 03-18-2008 10:03 PM

When are you going to write your book?

Tuthdoc for most informative post award...

tuthdoc 03-18-2008 10:03 PM

I wish it too, but I was there when he shot him. I got to see him grow and had a part in growing him. PLUS, he didn't cost me anything. LOL

Olympic Recurve 03-19-2008 11:51 PM

Tuthdoc, I finally read the article. It was a great write up, looks like all the photos in the magazine (except the cover) were from your game cams. At least he did mention you and the other guys on the lease several times and did sound appreciative of your help in the article. I would have charged him a drivers fee as it sounds like you dropped him off the morning he harvested MLD. :D

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