Through this Deer FAQs page, we will routinely add information in order to help you learn about the "ends and outs" of working with whitetail deer. If you have specific questions which have not yet been addressed, please be sure to
contact us. We will to happy to add your question to our Deer FAQs page.
I’m considering starting a deer business, what should I do first?
Before one actually commits to going into the deer business, we feel that it is important to learn as much about operating a deer farm as possible. While owning deer is fun and enjoyable, it is not simply a hobby. There is a tremendous time commitment, as well as financial investment … in many ways it is a high-risk operation. One must become your own mini- veterinarian knowing how to maintain a healthy herd, and how to treat deer that become ill. Morality in the deer business is a reality. Our advice is to visit several different deer farms – ask questions and see the ends and outs of each operation. You might also wish to watch
"Deer and Wildlife Stories" produced by Keith Warren to gain insight into the working operation of various deer breeders. Once you have learned all you can if you are still committed to the time and resources involved, get ready to delve into an intrinsically rewarding and exciting adventure.
Do you have advise for those purchasing their first deer?
Generally, we recommend purchasing bred does rather than fawns. This, of course, depends on the circumstances of each given ranch. But, with bred does, you will likely have newborns on the ground two years before you will if you start your herd with fawns. This will give you a jump start on numbers...and will also allow you to bring in genetics from an additional buck. While you will certainly want to breed with a good buck, it is believed that the doe accounts for 60% of the off-spring's genetic potential. Therefore, it is imperative to buy extremely good does. Based on financial investment, in the long run you are better off purchasing one really good doe than you are multiple does of lesser quality.
How do you obtain a Texas Whitetail Deer Breeder's permit?
Deer breeder permits in Texas are issued by the
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). To become a whitetail deer breeder, you will need to be in contact with TPWD, and follow the steps they have outlined. Included in the process will be building deer pens and having the deer farm fence layout approved by a wildlife biologist.
What does the term TC1 - Transfer Category 1 mean in Texas?
Since CWD was first detected in Texas, TPWD - the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has worked diligently to establish rules addressing the movement of deer within the state. A TC1 - Transfer Category 1 ranch has the highest movement qualified status allowed in Texas. All required testing for CWD has been completed on the TC1 ranch and zero (0%) testing is required on Class 1 release sites that purchase deer from TC 1 ranches.
What involved with the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC)?
All deer breeders work with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for permitting, transferring deer, etc. The Texas Animal Health Commission is a separate entity and enrollment in the CWD monitoring program offered through the TAHC is optional for deer breeders. We highly recommend to our clients that they be enrolled in the TAHC program if they plan to raise and sell deer.
How do you design a deer farm fence handling layout?
Each fence layout or pen design is unique to the geography, availability of water and shade, access for bringing feed and treats to the deer, drainage, and holding area to facilitate moving deer from one pen to another.
How do you compare handling deer to other livestock - like cattle?
Deer cannot be worked like cattle. Even the most gentle "bottle fed" deer will revert to "flight" with sudden change of sound or sight. With training you can transfer groups of deer between pens, and with patience you may move most deer. (Deer are inquisitive and they want to investigate.)
Is there a "Deer Whisperer"?
Yes, deer can be worked in a non-intrusive manner. However, a "cattle whisperer" is totally different from a "deer whisperer". We have found that working patiently with and being in tune with the deer's spirit is certainly advantageous when working deer.
What do you feed deer?
Breeder deer are fed a scientifically developed diet that supplies all the precise supplemental seasonal needs of the deer. We utilize various feeds for main diet and treat purposes. These include:
Lyssy and Eckel, Purina, Record Rack, and
What are deer treats?
Deer treats are small amounts of food that are not necessary to a deer's diet; however, the deer really like the treats and hence they serve as a valuable tool in gentling the deer. Typically, the treats include: peanuts, day-old bread, oats, a Textured feed, Golden Nuggets - a corn based product, alfalfa hay, fruit (apples are a favorite) and vegetable scraps from the kitchen.
How do you "doctor" your deer?
At Whitetail Deer of Texas, we work the majority of our deer herd through our working facility and deer handling chute twice a year for general vaccinations in order to maintain an overall healthy herd.
If we need to move a buck or doctor an individual deer, we will administer medication in the deer pen via a
Pneu-Dart delivery system. A dart loaded with the proper amount of medication is blown through a blow dart or fired by either a charged projector (rifle) or a pneumatic projector (air pumped or CO2 pistol). Power to the darts is adjusted based on distance and the amount of medication to be dispensed.
How do you "work" your newborn fawns?
The first day that our fawns are born, we pick them up and carry them outside the pen to work with them. They are each given a fawn probiotic paste to help start their rumen and digestive process. We also give a few medications to help keep them healthy. Once the sex is determined, the fawn is given an ear tag in its right ear. We tag our does with an even number and our bucks with an odd number. The first number on the tag identifies the year the fawn was born. The fawn's unique number which is provided by the
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is administered as a tattoo in the fawn's left ear. Lastly, the fawn is weighed and returned to the pen. The following evening, when the fawn is two days old, we pull the doe fawns - if they are going to be bottle-raised. We use either
Superior Milk Replacer or goat's milk. Leaving the fawn with its mother for up to 48 hours assures that the fawn has received colostrum from its mother. It is imperative that the newborn receive all the mother's protective antibodies...these provide needed immunity for the young. Bottle-raising the doe fawns gentles them down ... they truly become little friends who for the rest of their lives come to visit us when we enter the pens with treats.
What are the TDA, DBC and NADeFA?
Texas Deer Association (TDA) and the
Deer Breeders Corporation (DBC) are the two state deer breeders' organizations in Texas. Each is comprised of ranchers and other interested parties. TDA and DBC both promote deer industry viewpoints to government and private entities. The
North American Deer Farmers Association (NADeFA) is the national organization for deer breeders.
What is Herd Builder?
Herd Builder is a program whereby an individual or a rancher may begin a whitetail deer breeding operation without first building pens or owning land. The program will help ranches establish a genetic improvement/ supply program without building facilities. At Whitetail Deer of Texas, we will raise and care for your deer on a daily basis in our pens until you are ready to move the deer to your ranch or your own breeding pens.
We hope that the Deer FAQs has been informative and answered questions which you may have regarding raising whitetail deer. Remember, we will gladly answer questions or add information to the Deer FAQs page, just let us know about your areas of interest...then watch the Deer FAQs page for update news.