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  1. #1
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    where do deer get water in winter?

    I have been thinking about this lately and am curious. Do they get it from their food sources, eat snow or what. When I have been up to our place during the winter months there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of deer that winter there, some, but not many. Makes me think they need water and therefore must winter somewhere else. There is plenty of food for them to eat and plenty of winter cover. The only thing they don't have is water.
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  2. #2
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    Mostly thru the snow and food that they eat from what I have read!
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    I don't know about deer specifically, but I have been to some survival training when I was in school and they taught us that it takes a tremendous amount of energy(calories) to melt snow when eating it so it is best to melt it or find actual water before you even think about eating snow or ice when in a survival situation. Obviously deer and other animals can't melt snow on there own so they must search for water, I would think their last resort would be to eat snow.
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  4. #4
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    The reason that humans burn so many calories when melting snow while eating is that we don't have a permanent fur coat designed to keep them warm in the winter months. Now deer will first try to find a open water source, but will not waste alot of energy trying to do so!
    What Determines a trophy?............Just ask the person who is pulling the trigger or filling the livewell!

  5. #5
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    That makes sense Mike, Thanks!
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  6. #6
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    I never thought of it that way until somebody explained it to me. makes sense once you think of it.
    What Determines a trophy?............Just ask the person who is pulling the trigger or filling the livewell!

  7. #7
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    Here is a bit more info on the whitetail diet. The water portion is last part.

    I feel that eating ice and snow is a last resort.

    Deer do have a hollow hair coat built for survival in harsh conditions but long term, ice & snow would not work (in my opinion) as the energy it takes to process water in this form would eventually bring down the core body temperature to deadly levels.

    I feel that if you have open springs or water sources on your property you will have bigger wintering herds. (Pending what food sources are available as well).

    Some common misconceptions about the feeding habits of the Whitetail deer.

    -Deer feed only during early morning and late afternoon.
    -Deer do not move to where food is more abundant.
    -They only eat nuts.
    -They are not grazers.
    -They will come from miles around to lick a salt block.
    -They can easily be hunted at watering holes.
    -They require very little food in comparison to their size.

    While some of the above statements may hold true in some circumstances they should not be considered universal truths. Every hunter needs to learn all that they can about the food the deer eat and their feeding habits. The feeding habits and the food the deer eats vary from region to region. Whitetail Deer are known to eat over 600 species of plants in North America. What they eat is based on what is available to them on their home range and the nutrients they require. Deer need to select a balanced diet from plants within their home range. They consume on average, about 5 to 8 pounds of food for every 100 pounds of body weight, per day. During the Spring and Summer months the deer have a vast assortment of leaves, twigs and low growing plants available to them. They feed heavily at this time. I the Fall many white tailed deer switch their diet to fallen mast crops such as acorns. Winter brings about a more complex change to the world of the whitetail deer. On good range does may continue to gain weight through December while the bucks are just trying to maintain their weight. During January and February the quality and the quantity of food decreases but the deer adapt to these conditions by turning down their metabolism to conserve energy. Should Winter or be unusually harsh the white tail deer can be in serious trouble. Deer feed the heaviest in the early morning or just before dark and if left undisturbed will feed at midday. There can be many exceptions to this feeding pattern. When hunting pressure is heavy they will stay hidden during the day and only feed at night. On bright, moonlit nights deer may feed all night and move very little during the day. When bad weather is on the way a deer can sense this and they will feed more heavily 12 to 24 hours before the system reaches them. When the storm hits they bed down and wait it out. When the weather breaks they quickly begin feeding to make up for any lost time. When there is light rain and wind a deer will follow it's normal feeding pattern.

    Below is a listing of the staple foods for deer:

    Nuts:

    These include both red and white acorns, beechnuts and hickory nuts. Acorns are low in protein but high in carbohydrates, the best source of energy. If acorns are plentiful in your area you can bet the deer will be eating them to put on the extra weight that is need to survive the winter. Whitetails prefer the white oak acorn most of all. It has a sweeter taste that the red oak acorn.

    Plants:

    Non-woody plants are very important to the deer especially during the Fall months. Deer graze on grasses, sedges, and ferns. Plants usually appear after a fire. These areas become very lush and attract large concentrations of deer. Plants also thrive along roads, forest openings, powerlines, and at the edges of fields.

    Woody Plants:

    Deer turn to woody stems or twigs (called browse) after the leaf fall. Because "browse" is poor in nutrition deer will eat it only if nothing else is available. An example of the woody plants that deer eat are: maples, dogwoods, aspen, blueberry, hemlock, poison ivy, honeysuckle, sumac, poplar and chokecherry.

    Mushrooms:

    Deer eat the highly nutritious mushroom as a supplement to their diet. Many species that are deadly to man are consumed by deer.

    Farm Crops:

    Clover, alfalfa, corn, winter wheat, oats, soybeans, peas, sweat potatoes, and apples are only a few of the crops consumed by the deer. These crops are very important to the deer after all acorns are eaten. These may be the only food available to them when winter sets in.

    Water:

    Deer like all living things require water in order to survive. In the winter the deer requires about 1 1/2 quarts for every 100 pounds of body weight per day. In the warmer months they require about twice that much water. Although whitetails will seek out water much of the water that they need can be found in the food that they eat most of which is between 50 and 90 percent water. In the winter the deer can meet their daily requirement by eating snow or by licking ice if open water cannot be found.

  8. #8
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    Great info Uncle S. thanks !!
    Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital
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  9. #9
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    I completely dissagree with this being labled a misconception-
    -They can easily be hunted at watering holes.
    When I had access to a piece of land that had a very pronounced watering hole, it was the easiest hunting I have ever had. It was in an intensive management area and over 1 weekend, I harvested 4 deer. One of which came back to the hole after I misjudged my first shot and hit the dirt right below him. It's probably just like everything concerning hunting- there's never a set rule.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Herman View Post
    I completely dissagree with this being labled a misconception-


    When I had access to a piece of land that had a very pronounced watering hole, it was the easiest hunting I have ever had. It was in an intensive management area and over 1 weekend, I harvested 4 deer. One of which came back to the hole after I misjudged my first shot and hit the dirt right below him. It's probably just like everything concerning hunting- there's never a set rule.
    Read the first line following the listed items. It states, "While some of the above statements may hold true in some circumstances they should not be considered universal truths."

    Never said it was a set rule.

  11. #11
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    Never said you did, just disagreeing with the articles statement.
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  12. #12
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    so putting water out for them is not baiting, is this correct?
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapala View Post
    so putting water out for them is not baiting, is this correct?
    I would check with your dnr on that one, but that sounds interesting.
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