I recall many years ago hunters would simply feed deer corn and nothing more.
Opening weekend of the Texas dove season would find Texas hunter’s trucks and trailers loaded to the max with hunting gear, beer and deer corn.
The goal was simple, get the deer feeders working and slinging those golden nuggets just in time for the regular deer season to start.
This was the tried and true method for many years but just like blasting every spike deer you see, times were-a-changing! Enter deer protein pellets stage right!
Which deer protein pellets do the whitetail deer and other critters prefer? This was the basic question we set out to discover when we launched the Feed Bandit Summer 2020 Battle of the Deer Protein Brands!
DISCLAIMER – Feed Bandit was not financially compensated by any of the brands we tested. Also, the deer of Rancho Bandido have had AntlerMax deer protein feed before.
Feed and Feeding Method
We decided it would be best to test some of the more popular deer protein pellets brands available on the market today. For the test we selected Purina’s AntlerMax 20% Deer Protein, Double Down Deer Feed and West Feeds’ 20% Deer Protein.
We had a nice conversation with the owners of West Feeds and they were very supportive of plan to test the brands. They asked that we conduct test with an unbiased approach and publish the results whether they were good or bad for West Feeds.
Simply put, they were interested to know what their feed stacked up against the competition. The Feed Bandit testing trough was put to good use for this and other tests we have done in the past.
The trough has 4 compartments that have the capacity to hold a single 40 LBS bag of feed each. We selected several locations with high deer traffic so we could get the best/quickest results. The test started in early July as we were trying to avoid any of those wonderful late June rain showers…they never showed up in June but they did in a big way in July!
Feed Test 1
Feed Test 1 was conducted on a large high fenced property that has whitetail deer, blackbuck antelope and axis deer.
Feed test 1 was by far the best in regards to target animal activity. AntlerMax was the feed of choice of all target animals and was consumed first.
Even though AntlerMax was the feed of choice by the target animals it was also the feed of choice for the non target animals. In particular, for those pesky Feed Bandits!
Out of many, many racoon pictures we captured, we did not capture a single picture of a raccoon eating West Feeds or Double Down at the feed test site 1. After the AntlerMax was almost gone, West Feeds protein blend was consumed 2nd most.
Axis and blackbuck antelope finishing off the AntlerMax and West Feeds!
Double Down deer protein blend was consumed by all target species but did not seem to prefer it as much as AntlerMax and West Feeds.
I am convinced the West Feeds blend followed by Double Down would have been completely devoured had Ranch Bandido not received some much needed and glorious rain.
The rain did puff up the feed and eventually the deer stopped feeding on the two remaining blends.
Feed test site 1 was successful as we did get to see which feed the whitetail deer, blackbuck antelope and axis deer did prefer. We had high hopes for the other two test sites but between rain…glorious rain…pigs and raccoons…it would prove difficult.
Feed Test 2
The success of the first test site had us very optimistic and excited for the second round. We were “excited” because it was drying out and we knew the animals would be looking for their supplemental goodies!
The second site was on a large low fence area. Pigs at this area have been seen but not in great numbers or so we thought.
Feed Bandit buffet! Come deer season they’re going to regret eating all this feed.
To add insult to injury, the pigs ended up breaking the Feed Bandit testing trough!
Where were the deer? We got a few pictures of deer approaching the trough but never eating from it! The pig and coon problem was so bad the deer just never bothered! Frustrating and it wouldn’t get any better.
As far as Feed Test 3, two days after setting up the test the skies opened up and made each trough compartment into a gigantic, rotten, maggot filled brownie! Needless to say, this test did not go the way we wanted it to.
That said, we will reserve judgement as to which brand the deer seemed to prefer as we have more tests to run on several different pastures.
We are committed to trying this test again in the late winter/early spring so stay tuned!