Nineth annual event hosted by T3 Whitetails & Artemis Outdoors; Supported by the Texas Deer Association

As part of its ongoing commitment to excellence in deer management practices, the Texas Deer Association (TDA) was proud to support this year’s annual whitetail seminar, hosted by T3 Whitetails and Artemis Outdoors.

The event was held August 29-30, 2014 at the T3 Ranch near Somerville, Texas. Sixty registered for the annual event and enjoyed presentations from leading national experts in the fields of nutrition, reproduction and veterinary care. They were also treated to a tour of the T3 Whitetails deer working facility-one of the premier facilities in the state and home to renowned buck ‘Big Stitch.’

Among those speaking at the event were Purina’s Larry Varner, who discussed epigenetics and the importance of high-quality, nutrient-rich diets both for gestating does and the improved antler production. Varner spoke of Purina’s search for innovative solutions to problems that impact the entire industry-bypass nutrients to increase milk production and antler develop, as well as nutrient combinations designed to reduce the impact of heat stress in whitetails.

Diamond V-a world wide animal nutrition company-was represented by Barry Smith, who discussed prebiotic and probiotic use for improved rumen efficiency.

“Nutrition is the foundation of what we do and the success we have in our programs,” said Smith. “Maximizing antler size is a year-round affair.”

Whitetail reproduction programs and the varying metabolic cycles of bucks and does were the topic of a presentation by Dr. Greg Stewart of Southern Veterinary Services. Stewart explained that the goal in any successful reproductive strategy should be to “take the environment out of the equation so the animal can express his genetic potential.” Stewart’s recommendation to participants was to work with their veterinary practitioner to build a diagnostic plan in order to best implement herd health and wellness procedures and programs.

Seminar attendees also had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Pete Wunderlich of the Washington Animal Clinic, who focused on the judicious use of antibiotics and microbials and the importance of a strong vet-client relationship. Wunderlich explained how whitetails have evolved to hide their clinical signs well, making disease identification all the more vital before making a determination in the use of antibiotic treatment. He stated that their proper role is disease treatment and control, as well as in the prevention of a secondary infection, but that “antibiotics don’t replace good nutrition management or parasite control.”

Representing the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department was whitetail program leader Alan Cain, who discussed managed land deer (MLD) permits and deer management permits (DMP.) He described the philosophy of the MLD program as being about habitat.

“Habitat is the cornerstone. The way to make conservation gains on the ground is through the private land owner,” said Cain. “It’s a way to work with each individual property.”

Since 1999, the MLD program has seen tremendous growth, expanding from 813 MLD cooperators in its first year to 9,500 in 2014. This figure represents 24 million acres statewide.

The seminar concluded with an update on the state of the deer industry by Chase Clark, president of TDA and owner of Artemis Outdoors. Clark spoke of the current dynamics of both breeder buck and doe selection, and the importance of updated marketing that meets the changing needs of the industry. While improved secondary deer identification and a shift in regulatory authority to the Animal Health Commission are among the industry wish list, Clark stated that “maintaining industry stability, defeating harmful legislation, and maintaining vigilance” remain the necessary keys to its successful future.

The T3 Whitetails/Artemis Outdoors annual whitetail seminar is held the last weekend of August. For more information, visit www.t3whitetails.com or www.artemisoutdoors.com.

Logo courtesy Texas Deer Association

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