I first started hunting with Ross eight years ago in the Big Bend region of southwest Texas. Since he implemented this feeding program, I have seen an improvement in the deer quality every year. Besides antler growth, the owners of Leoncita and several other ranchers wanted to increase fawn recruitment and general improvement of the deer herd's health in this harsh desert environment. To do that they hired a biologist and began working closely with Lyssy & Eckel Feeds to conduct research on the nutritional needs of West Texas mule deer and formulate a feed specific to these deer. Part of the research included taking browse and soil samples from each ranch in the area. Using the results, they custom-designed a protein feed formula and started feeding the deer.
Desert Safaris also began investigating the Texas lands program that allows landowners to manage for deer in exchange for longer hunting seasons. This program has been used mostly for the management of whitetail deer, using high fences and protein feeders in south Texas. Parks and Wildlife agreed to increase the deer season for ranches in the Trans Pecos that succeeded in increasing deer recruitment and the herd health of free-ranging mule deer.........(continued)