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It's summer time and living is easy

ife, for the deer, is pretty easy during the summer. All the grazing and browsing they could want is within easy reach. There are even special treats, such as corn and bean fields within a few yards of heavily-timbered bedding areas. Providing such special treats does not always agree with the person that planted the corn or beans.

This spring, my son Damon decided to make a large garden plot of sweet corn. An area was chosen with good drainage and rich black soil not too far from his house. He plowed, disked and harrowed the area until it was in perfect condition. He, Amanda, and the grandsons planted rows and rows of corn with anticipation of sweet corn feeds to follow.

Frequent rains fell and the weather turned hot and humid. This is perfect growing weather for corn. Little corn plants seemed to shoot out of the ground. The corn was 10 inches tall in no time.

One night, what must have been a whole herd of deer stopped by for a snack. There were not random tracks as one might expect but rather one set of deer tracks went down each row. They neatly nipped off the top few inches of each plant in an orderly fashion. The 10-inch corn was set back to six inches overnight. Damon was not pleased. There is now a dog house at each side of the garden. In the evening, dogs are put in place as sentries guarding the corn. So far, it has stopped the deer from stopping by his house for an evening treat and the corn will recover.

I like to put salt and mineral out for the deer. I always place it well away from places where people hunt or are trying to grow anything. The deer need the salt and cattle mineral will help young deer grow strong bones. The mineral will also promote antler growth.

Several years ago, I read from an expert that whitetail deer would not benefit from cattle mineral as they would not eat it. I have found this to be untrue. One time I put 50 pounds of mineral out for the cattle but got busy and did not get them moved to this pasture until two weeks later. I happened to drive by the mineral feeder the day I finally did get them moved and the mineral was all gone. The tracks around the area seemed to indicate every deer in the neighborhood stopped by for a treat.

There is a hollow tree stump at the edge of our wheat food plot. Last winter I filled it with salt. By late spring, the salt was gone and so was most of the tree stump. I decided this might be a good stump removal tool. For the cost of one bag of livestock salt, we could have the stumps gone and make the deer happy. We are going to refill the remains of the stump and put one of the trail cameras nearby. From the tracks around it and the paths coming into the food plot, I think we can get a picture of most of the deer that live in the area.

In the past few days, in our journeys around the farm, my wife and I have seen several deer, including a few bucks with growing racks in full velvet. They seem fat and content, as well they should be. Life is easy for a deer in the summertime. Natural foods abound, crops are growing, and some people will even put out salt, mineral or sweet corn for their dining pleasure.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.