Corn: Blessing or Curse?

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Ben Sobieck
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Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby Ben Sobieck » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:17 am

Corn is a popular deer feed, but is it really all it's cracked up to be? Click here to read this article from Matt Harper and decide for yourself.

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RE: Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby OHhunter » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:55 am

I view corn piles/feeders as a curse. For many reason a couple were mentioned in the article with the binge eating and the increased chance of spreading disease.

What's happens when deer rely on corn from a feeder or bait pile as a staple in there diets and then just as the worst part of winter hits, hunting season is over and hunters quit putting out corn? Now what? Is there a natural food source nearby or were they only staying in that area because of the corn, that is now gone, until next hunting season. I'm not a scientist but I would think this could be devistating especially to herds farther north.

The increased chance of spreading disease. That statement right there should be enough for anyone putting out corn piles to stop. Why take the chance? Is it really that hard to find natural food source, hunt travel corridors, bottlenecks, etc. I personally would rather have unfilled tags than to think I may have contributed to the spread of CWD or other diseases.



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RE: Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby buckhunter21 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:33 am

Corn, as an attractant (putting it in piles, etc), I'm against.  Obviously it's legal in some states versus others.  But, planting it as a food plot, I don't see anything wrong with that.  Harvested or un-harvested, this is a great crop for the deer to eat to bulk up for the stresses that happen because of the rut, or to recover post-rut...Also a great survival food in the winter with those carbs!

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RE: Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby baddoghunter » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:54 am

I think standing corn is a great food source and in areas of the North East where I hunt when farmers cannot get all their crops in due to a wet fall and leave some standing there will be deer in it all winter long. Anybody ever see a skinny cow or hog that has been eating corn.The same goes for soy bean.I am against any kind of supplemental feeding that is not continued until the winter is over. Its not allowed in most areas here anyway but you know there are people that skirt the law.I have heard stories of folks trying to help the deer in severe winters that feed them hay and this can actually kill deer. There stomachs Im read change over to be able to digest woody browse when the summer grasses are no longer available and feeding them hay in the winter offers no help and can in fact Im told create mold in the deers digestive system and it can cause sickness. People need to be careful anytime they upset the natural balance.

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RE: Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby packhunter » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:13 pm

I personally think it really doesnt matter.....i mean c'mon, they can have all the corn (or other source of food,wether good or bad for them) they want anywhere at anytime. Just as we have evolved, so have they. They know what and when to eat it. How about the acorns? Are they perfect food source? Probably not(coming from a non-scientist)..., but coming from an avid hunter, i think game and fish commision would have a say so in this if it were a bad thing.
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RE: Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby Stickman » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:41 pm

When I first started hunting I used it because I was not seeing deer because I did not understand how to hunt or the challenge. Back then I did not hunt with a bow either, only a shotgun with buckshot. Oh how times have changed, now I only hunt with a bow and if I cant figure out how and when he moves from feeding to bedding I wont even hunt. So I now say NO to feeding corn. 

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RE: Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby packhunter » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:10 pm

in addition to my last post, i agree that diseases should not be transfered, nor do i want to see any kind of diseases transfered. I more than anyone, am an avid deer person, and i want  it to be known that everything that we think we know about deer is a figment of or imagination. I'm saying that every year that goes by, the deer evolve, and we have no idea of how smart the deer are getting. For example, ask yourself how many bucks(in my neck of the woods)acually stay in the backyards of many homes. THAT CLOSE! Tell me i'm wrong I dare you. things are not the same anymore, lets face it. Scientist are learning more and so are we, but deer are an instinctual animal and no matter what kind of feed they encounter, they know whats good and whats bad period. And as an added point, deer have been on this earth longer than us, and i think we need not nit pick something that has been a part of thier diet for century's. And please dont get me wrong, I'm not perfect, and still have a lot to learn about deer and deer hunting, but the deer instinct is still the same as 1000 years ago. THEY STILL KNOW WHAT TO EAT AND HOW MUCH OF IT TO EAT!
that's my final answer!
any input regurding this post is greatly appreciated and will enhance my hunting knowledge!!!!!
tc and hunt safe

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RE: Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby chicubsfan » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:36 am

I live in Florida and hunt here.  I also hunt in Nebraska and Pennsylvania each year with family.  Now one thing I notice is that may people that are against it are from midwest and northeast.  Their arguments are that corn "baiting" is not good because its not there year round... so are you telling me that farmers corn fields are?  I don't think so. Neither are your so called "food Plots". So what happens when they run out?  Secondly, you can pattern deer much easier there, as compared to places where undergrowth does not die and you can't see more than 25yds. in any direction out of your stand.  You got to do something to make that deer walk within bow range.  Some people set up on field edges others on trails from bedding to feeding.  When browse does not die all year the feeding and the bedding are everywhere!  I corn "bait" in Florida and pattern in other places around the country.  Don't knock "baiting" until you have hunted in south Georgia or North Florida or some places in Texas.  My brother lived in Nebraska for 12yrs. and knocked corn "baiting" until he moved down here about 5 weeks ago and he just bought 100lbs. of corn yesterday!

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RE: Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby fasteddie » Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:26 am

Although I would like to be able to bait , I don't believe we should be able to do it ( illegal in NY ) . As far as I know the only cases of CWD that we had in our state was in a couple of Deer Farms , where the deer eat from a common source and can pass the disease on to one another .
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retch sweeny
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RE: Corn: Blessing or Curse?

Postby retch sweeny » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:14 am

From a disease transmission standpoint, My guess is that most are talking about CWD. As a deer hunter (both gun and bow) for over 30 years I have opinions on hunting methods and things hunters do to give themselves an advantage. I will also say that I do not bait or use food plots. As a member of Wisconsin's CWD Stakeholder advisory board, I have met the researchers and sat through their study presentations and read and heard their data on CWD transmission and the risks. From a disease transmission standpoint, any method of attracting, congregating and feeding deer has a certain risk level. This includes all ways that hunters attract, congregate and feed deer whether it is grown or poured out. Most are unaware that CWD is more easily transferred from the environment than it is from host to host. In fact once in the soil, CWD prions become 700% more infective that CWD prions transferred from an infected host animal to another. What makes it worse is that those prions bind to the soil and remain infective for over a decade. (one study proved at least 16 years). This is what lead CWD guru Judd Aiken to make this statement last week in the Science News From the New York Times

"Dr. Aiken said prions tended to bind to clay in soil and to persist indefinitely. When deer graze on infected dirt, prions that are tightly bound to clay will persist for long periods in their intestinal regions. SO THERE IS NO CHANCE CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE WILL BE ERADICATED, he said. Outside the laboratory, nothing can inactivate prions bound to soil. They are also impervious to radiation. "

Hunters growing turnips and beets and clovers and all the other food plot varieties, are contributing to the spread of CWD just the same as a hunter dumping corn. We also know that deer that frequent hunter provided food will urinate and defecate in that area so repeatedly attracting deer to piles or food plots will over time build up an environmental reservoir of infected prions in the soil. Since food plots do not move each year this is a constant location for prion shedding. Baits move from year to year and are only temporary but neither is immune from the negative effects of disease transmission. It is the fecal and urine based transmission into the soil that is getting the most attention because it outweighs the amount of saliva that is deposited by deer by many times. Here is more from the article.

" Researchers are reporting that they have solved a longstanding mystery about the rapid spread of a fatal brain infection in deer, elk and moose in the Midwest and West. The infectious agent, which leads to chronic wasting disease, is spread in the feces of infected animals long before they become ill, according to a study published online Wednesday by the journal Nature. The agent is retained in the soil, where it, along with plants, is eaten by other animals, which then become infected.
The finding explains the extremely high rates of transmission among deer, said the study's lead author, Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner, director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco.

First identified in deer in Colorado in 1967, the disease is now found throughout 14 states and 2 Canadian provinces. It leads to emaciation, staggering and death.
Unlike other animals, Dr. Prusiner said, deer give off the infectious agent, a form of protein called a prion, from lymph tissue in their intestinal linings up to a year before they develop the disease. By contrast, cattle that develop a related disease, mad cow, do not easily shed prions into the environment but accumulate them in their brains and spinal tissues.

There is no evidence to date that humans who hunt, kill and eat deer have developed chronic wasting disease. Nor does the prion that causes it pass naturally to other animal species in the wild. Besides mad cow and chronic wasting disease, the prion diseases include Creutzfeldt-Jakob, which leads to dementia and death in humans. Each of these diseases is caused by a different strain, and all strains behave somewhat differently. In the case of chronic wasting disease, "it turns out prions exploit the oldest trick in the book used by pathogens and parasites," said Mike Miller, a veterinarian at the Colorado Division of Wildlife who is an expert on chronic wasting disease.

"Fecal-oral transmission is very effective," Dr. Miller continued. Each deer excretes about two pounds of fecal pellets a day. As wild herds move around, or captive herds are trucked between states, more soil becomes infected. In captive herds, up to 90 percent of animals develop the disease, Dr. Prusiner said. In wild herds, a third of animals can be infected. "This is an important finding," said Judd M. Aiken, a leading prion expert who is director of the Alberta Veterinary Research Institute in Canada and who was not involved in the new study. "Most of us suspected that prions might be spread in feces, but we needed proof."
"The fact that prions are shed at a preclinical stage of the disease is very significant," Dr. Aiken added.

The study was carried out in two parts. First, Dr. Miller and his team infected five mule deer by feeding them brain tissue from an infected animal. They took fecal samples before infection and at three to six months afterward. The deer came down with chronic wasting disease 16 to 20 months later.
Four to nine months after infection, the deer began shedding prions in low levels in their feces, even though they had no symptoms. Surprisingly, an infected deer could shed as many prions at this stage as would accumulate in its brain during terminal disease. In the second part of the experiment, Erdem Tamguney, an assistant professor at Dr. Prusiner's institute, created a strain of mice with deerlike prions in their brains.

When Dr. Tamguney inoculated the brains of these mice with feces from infected but asymptomatic deer, half developed symptoms of chronic wasting disease. Fourteen out of 15 fecal samples transmitted the disease to some of the mice. Dr. Aiken said prions tended to bind to clay in soil and to persist indefinitely. When deer graze on infected dirt, prions that are tightly bound to clay will persist for long periods in their intestinal regions. So there is no chance chronic wasting disease will be eradicated, he said. Outside the laboratory, nothing can inactivate prions bound to soil. They are also impervious to radiation."

end snip

From a disease transmission standpoint, there is little difference between food plots and corn or apple piles except that the piles are used for a much shorter time period and move around from year to year. If you're concerned about CWD and you are a food plotter, you should change your methods to reduce the risk. If you're in favor of plots but opposed to piles, you're off base and a bit of a hypocrite. From an ethical standpoint, if you are using hunter provided food to attract, congregate and feed deer to advantage your hunting situation, it does not matter if you grow it or pour it. you placed it there as a hunter to give you an advantage in seeing and taking game and once you hunt over or near it, you are a baiter. Just like a recurve and compound hunter are both bowhunters, food plotters and corn pilers are both baiters just using different means to reach the same goal.


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