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I butchered two bucks this year and noticed that neither had a very thick layer of fat stored under the skin. The last two year

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  • I butchered two bucks this year and noticed that neither had a very thick layer of fat stored under the skin. The last two year

    I butchered two bucks this year and noticed that neither had a very thick layer of fat stored under the skin. The last two years the fat layer was extensive. Does this indicate a mild winter coming in our area or just a lack of heavy feeding this fall.

  • #2
    That usually indicates the bucks were busy rutting and not paying attention to eating. This is why bucks are some of the first deer to die during a hard winter.


    • #3
      It may indicate a lack of a good food source. We have had a poor acorn crop this year and the deer I've cleaned haven't had nearly as much of a fat reserve as I've seen in previous years.


      • #4

        Also, we were in what the weather service classified as an "extreme drought" which reduced the amount of palatable browse for the deer. I expect the deer will experience a hard winter and early spring this year (here in SW Alabama) which may be reflected in a reduced fawn recruitment next year.


        • #5
          years ago when I hunted northern FL and Southern AL I noticed the deer didn't have body fat like their northern cousins. Do the deer you shoot typically have substantial body fat?
          Your answer got me to thinking about the differences between deer in different locations.
          The fat from does this year typically filled 2
          5 gallon buckets where as the bucks had no fat.


          • #6
            INTERESTING point. thats a lot of fat ,healthy layers of fat on deer in kentucky I'VE seen .MAYBE the farther south they require less fat to survive during cold spells.


            • #7
              I'd say there's at least a few variables worth considering.

              As mentioned, the timing of the rut and how aggressive they're acting is definitely a factor. The amount of food as well as quality of food is also a determining fact. I would say the possibilities are endless when these two issues are thrown into the mix. I'd opt to say at the very least these two issues can be solid factors in the lack of fat layer.


              • #8
                Charlieelk----Sorry about the long delay in answering. I've been busy in the woods and then had a rash of internet problems here at my little hunting cabin in the woods.
                I've never shot a deer from "up north" so I have no basis for comparison. Here, the does typically have very little fat and the bucks pack it on their hindquarters. A lot of land formerly in hardwoods has been converted into pine plantations, and while they are not exactly biological deserts, they don't have the mast crops that deer fatten up on. They do provide good sources of browse at different stages of growth. (Initial clear cut for several years, then after first and second thinning, typically at fifteen and thirty years.) Of course, the deer don't have to endure the severe winters you have and there is some type of browse available year around, so they don't need the big fat reserves.




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