II. Experience in Raising Virginia Deer*
C. H. ROSEBERRY, STELLA, MO.
I KNOW of no other branch of the live-stock industry that returns as great a profit in proportion to the time, labor and capital invested as that of deer raising.
My experience is limited to the Virginia white tailed deer (Cariacus virginianus) and covers a period of 19 years. Doubtless, the raising of elk or wapiti would be equally profitable—perhaps more so where raised for venison, owing to the greater size.
A tract of 10, 20, or 40 acres of rough brush land, enclosed with a 61 or 7-foot woven wire fence, with provision for a constant supply of water, either natural or artificial, is the chief requisite. It is better if there be dense thickets of under brush, coarse weeds, and trees of pin oak, white oak, pig hickory, chestnut, etc. The twigs, leaves, and mast of these afford an abundance of natural food as well as shelter and seclusion.
It is also desii able to have a plat of three or four acres of tillable land on which to sow rye or wheat for winter pasture.
As the underbrush is gradually killed out, as it will be as the herd increases in numbers, unless the range is quite extensive, white clover and orchard grass may be sown for summer forage.
In the latitude of southwestern Missouri, feeding is not necessary between April 1 and November 1. For the rest of the year a stack of cowpea or clover hay to which the deer have free access, supplemented by a light ration of corn and bran or other mill feed in severe weather, is sufficient.
Do not feed too heavily of shelled corn. If gorged with it, the results are often fatal.
If it is desired to raise venison it is, of course, not necessary that
the fawns be accustomed to handling while young in order to tame
them. But if raised for sale as breeding stock, requiring that they be
handled and shipped alive, it is necessary to take the fawns from the
does when they are ten days old and raise them by hand on cow's milk.
This, of course, involves a great deal more trouble and expense than
to let the fawn run with the doe; hence the price received for breeding
stock is proportionately greater than that received for the venison car-
cass. For example, a yearling dressed for market may weigh 60 pounds
net, and could be profitably sold for 25 cents a pound, or $15; whereas
"From the American Breeders' Association Report, 1909.