Moultrie Products
Cutting hay = death trap
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
BirdBoy 24-Jun-08
grey wolf 24-Jun-08
HCAshooter 24-Jun-08
HCAshooter 24-Jun-08
Salagi 24-Jun-08
howler 24-Jun-08
Carpshooter 24-Jun-08
TD 24-Jun-08
hoytcountry 24-Jun-08
alwayslookin 24-Jun-08
Cowdoc 24-Jun-08
St. Croix 24-Jun-08
Matt 24-Jun-08
Two Feathers 25-Jun-08
HCAshooter 25-Jun-08
alwayslookin 25-Jun-08
Dude 26-Jun-08
Plowjockey 26-Jun-08
Plowjockey 26-Jun-08
BirdBoy 26-Jun-08
Dude 26-Jun-08
Plowjockey 26-Jun-08
Russ 26-Jun-08
LostHawg 26-Jun-08
grey wolf 26-Jun-08
Salagi 26-Jun-08
DTala 26-Jun-08
alwayslookin 27-Jun-08
Bill in MI 27-Jun-08
HCAshooter 27-Jun-08
alwayslookin 27-Jun-08
From: BirdBoy
24-Jun-08
Haying is one of those things that just has to be done. Most state and federal agencies recommend waiting until after July 15th to cut hay to allow ground nesting birds to successfully raise their broods and move them to brood rearing cover, which is usually not in the hay field. After July 15th any cool season grasses are near useless for feed (not bad straw) but warm season grasses are in their prime for harvest.

We just harvested about 6 acres of a cool season grass mix but unfortuantely killed 3 fawns in the process. July 15th is still going to result in fawn mortality, but would it be significantly less?

From: grey wolf
24-Jun-08
BirdBoy

Considering Missouri deer pops, you probably did a good thing.

From: HCAshooter
24-Jun-08
I don't think I can give you expert advice with the dates but I know from some experience. In late may only two nesting hens were killed in the mower in all of about 90 acres mowed for haylage. We haven't had favorable weather in central NY to make hay yet. We will probably start next week. One thing I have noticed is that when mowing if you are alert, sometimes you notice them if they break cover before the mower reaches them. However you can only clutch and break so fast. We have used a 10+ foot bar attached in front of the tractor with chains hanging nearly to the ground. The idea is that the chains will stir up the animals, especially fawns, before the mower reaches them. One good indcator of a fawns presence is when a doe stands nearby and will not leave the area, or when they jump from the hay out in front of the tractor. I am almost positive that by July 15th the majority of fawns should be atleast two weeks old. Old enough to keep up with the doe and leave a field being mowed if the doe leaves. I think the later the better(for the fawns sake), but if hay needs cutting because of weather or age/yield it gets cut regardless of fawns. It sucks but youre right haying has to be done. There will probably be a big shortage in the midwest...maybe here in the east too.

From: HCAshooter
24-Jun-08
Randy

No, no farmer does. I dont see where it was said to be cool- killing an animal with a farm implement. Its sickening to have to untangle a fawn from a mower.

From: Salagi
24-Jun-08
In all the haying I did growing up in SW MO, we never found more than a couple of fawns and never a turkey that we killed. Of course back in the 70's (plus/minus a few years) there weren't that many deer or turkeys as there are now. We usually didn't start haying until after Memorial Day.

I can't remember if it was a MO or ARK game biologist that suggested in order to cut down on wildlife mortality, farmers start cutting their hay in the center of the field and work their way out to the edges. Reckon he had put up much hay? (grin)

From: howler
24-Jun-08
ever hear the saying making hay when the sun shines, well it means you cut hay when you can, ranching farming is not a leisure sport and you don't wait until the birds are done nesting to put up hay, time is short and you have to get it done when its ready. there are ways to avoid getting all of the birds and fawns and I hope they are put to good use. mowing the field inside out is better than outside in, using a bird flusher in front of the mower is a good way to get them out of the way. And using a swather instead of mowing is very bennificial

From: Carpshooter
24-Jun-08
Randy, I agree with you about that,but grey wolfmay just thinking the same as alot of farmers in the midwest think .I'm a gun hunter also,when we sometimes ask a farmer if we can hunt deer ,we get alot of replies that are:you can hunt,but shoot'em all,and what you don't have tags for,leave'em lay!:Now we are local hunters in our area,we reply that's not our style,we stop when the tags run low!We've shot alot of does@ small button bucks,that will slow you down,gutting,skinning @hanging alot of critters at once .PS we can party hunt here in Iowa,two guys shot 10 out of 12 that morning,had only a couple tags left,bend there done that!

From: TD
24-Jun-08
I've got news. You cut and harvest when you're supposed to, has absolutely nothing to do with animals. Has everything to do with the stage of the crop and the weather. This was about 800 acres of irrigated alfalfa. We cut 3 and sometimes 4 crops a year. You cut alfalfa hay before it flowers. You cut it after it flowers you cut your price in half. Although it still cost the same to cut it and bale it. Called net profit.

We've killed several fawns, birds, stray dogs and cats, the neighbors pigs, you name it, even nearly a bear cub. The swather operator saw the sow running in the field and nearly clipped the cub. Not like you're looking to do it and avoid it whenever possible, if for no other reason than down time and damage to the equipment. But it's hard to see sometimes.

By far the worst and most common were skunks. I can remember people crying about it but they weren't mourning any dead animal.

From: hoytcountry
24-Jun-08
we had a few fawns get tangled ip in mower over the years and i beat myself up every time it happens but what can u do u got to get it in .its like can u stop driving during the rut because mr.dumb at the moment whitetail might run out in front of you at anytime no

From: alwayslookin
24-Jun-08
HCA.......we did our first cut on the Schoharie county farm and finished it the last week in May......only got one. Where are you in CNY?? Our second needs cutting or will as soon as we get heat. We try to get all of our first in early.....it saves a lot of fawns....we usually get a nest of eggs every year.....but Turkeys are like fleas out there. By now, it seems most of our fawns are up and moving a bit.......this is one of the best things that has happened since we limited buck harvest.....our does drop fawns in mid to late May...instead of mid June to mid July. A lot of the fawns you kill in fields are just getting mobile......when they are first born....Momma will try to keep them in the woods. When they are born, they have a real hard time navigating in tall grass, so until they really get legs....they aren't there. None of this is foolproof......but we lost an avg 7 fawns for the first 3 yrs......down to 2/year the last 3 yrs.......and our forage quality is better....so Moms and fawns (and bucks) have better feed all year. Only downside is that the corn gets planted aroud the first week of June......but that is still good, cause it still comes off before the Oct. rain.......which we always seem to have. And we missed the Frost this year. Mowing will always kill a few fawns.....no way around it.......but mowing early is a better way if you can.

From: Cowdoc
24-Jun-08
We would hang chain drags on spreader bars in front of the tractor and the chains would sometimes get the critters to move so you could see and avoid them. Didn't work on nice flat fields because we went too fast.

From: St. Croix
24-Jun-08
Considering all you farmers do to perpetuate local wildlife, I wouldn't beat yourself up too bad over this. It's sad, but you guys need to make your livings and this is just an unfortunate circumstance. Look at it another way, if it weren't for your lush crops and grassy areas for escape cover there probably wouldn't be as many deer as there is. Also, there's no guarantee that just because the mower doesn't get em that something else won't!

From: Matt
24-Jun-08
And the ARA's say that the vegetarian lifestyle doesn't result in the deaths of animals.

From: Two Feathers
25-Jun-08
By July 15th most farmers around here are into their second cutting.

From: HCAshooter
25-Jun-08
Yeah, second cutting IF weather permits!! There have been thundestorms too many times every week. Never got that four day stretch of sun/wind for good drying.

Alwayslookin, I'm from northern Oswego county. Our corn was in before the end of May. We always harvest around the begining of Sept. Last year the first week of september. Good yield too, our is more than a foot tall in some fields!

From: alwayslookin
25-Jun-08
HCA.....We got the jump on ya even though ours is later....more heat I guess...you got some BAD weather a coulpe weeks ago , too. I was up in Governeur then and it was pretty impressive. What town???? Your hunting keeps getting better up that way......ours is starting to. Stay Dry....we arent.

From: Dude
26-Jun-08
Any of you guys ever notice that its a fawn instint to lay down and hide?

This is especially true when the fawns are newborn out to say a week or so of age (I may get myself in trouble for the end age time). After two weeks or so, they will run away from danger.

I have seen young fawns out on gravel roads actually lay down in the road to hide as I drive up on them.

So essentially, all the flushing aids will probably not stop fawns from becoming hay equipment fatalities when they are newborns.

I actually killed more turkeys on nest then fawns while cutting grass hay. Feathers really fly when they go through a haybine.

From: Plowjockey
26-Jun-08
Seems like every year we get some whiners that cuss us farmers about animals getting run through equipment. I know it happens. We farm for a living and what has to be done has to be done. We can't wait for July 15th to cut hay. We have to have our first cutting done at pre-bloom to get the best protien value out of it. (mid May)..

This year the wet weather has taken it's toll on the turkey and pheasant hatch around here. (eastern Nebraska)I have seen hens all over but no chicks or polts to speak of. We even have Tom's strutting around these flocks of hens.

Maybe we should blame the Weather Man for this...

Stuff happens guys.... Get over it!!!!!!

From: Plowjockey
26-Jun-08
Seems like every year we get some whiners that cuss us farmers about animals getting run through equipment. I know it happens. We farm for a living and what has to be done has to be done. We can't wait for July 15th to cut hay. We have to have our first cutting done at pre-bloom to get the best protien value out of it. (mid May)..

This year the wet weather has taken it's toll on the turkey and pheasant hatch around here. (eastern Nebraska)I have seen hens all over but no chicks or polts to speak of. We even have Tom's strutting around these flocks of hens.

Maybe we should blame the Weather Man for this...

Stuff happens guys.... Get over it!!!!!!

From: BirdBoy
26-Jun-08
alwayslooking, forage is way better when cut in May, but we are usually still planting then if it's not too wet. Two spring cuttings would be more expensive with fuel and fertilizer. That limited buck harvest sounds like it is really helping improve over all herd health.

I may try a drag in front.

Plowjockey, I don't think we have whiners here that are cussing us; at least not now.

I was hoping to get some response on planting some native warm season grasses. They are better for wildlife for many reasons, but how does it stack up for hay quality and cost. Does anybody have any warm season grass experiences?

From: Dude
26-Jun-08
Eastern Gama Grass is suppose to be one of the top producing forages. Trouble is that it cost a bunch to get establish both in $ and time. A guy around here had some and harvested it multiple times in a year starting later in the season. Other then that, I don't know of any that plant warm season grasses for hay around here.

From: Plowjockey
26-Jun-08
Birdboy... Sorry it just hit me the wrong way today. I was remembering a thread from the past that really slammed us for trying to make a living... I can't stand people thinking they know how to farm and saying what we should do. We have farm managers for that..LOL

From: Russ
26-Jun-08
Here in Illinois the DNR biologists say Aug 1st.

From: LostHawg
26-Jun-08
Somebody hasn't spent enough time outdoors. Had he done so, he'd KNOW fawns are hard to see when they're laid up playing invisible. If you've got a section of land to cut you're not going to stop every 10 feet to make sure no fawns are in the way. That could make for a long 640 acres!

From: grey wolf
26-Jun-08
Randy

Apology accepted.

I always look for the positive in a situation. In Missouri, taking a few fawns out is good for overall herd health. Dead is dead. A gut shot deer does a lot of suffering too, or one that's been smacked by an SUV. Mower is quicker for sure.

I've got 300 acres in Boone Co. and I can't get my tenant to kill a doe. Down the road I've got neighbors with beanfields that beg me to cull some deer. I keep trying to get the tenant, who also has the hunting lease, to cull does. The state issues unlimited doe tags to landowners and begs them to cull does, but he's one of those old school guys who thinks it isn't right to kill anything but a buck. He's been our tenant for 30 years. I don't charge him anything close to the going rate, but I know I can depend on him to care for the place and the check is always in the mail. No one likes the prospect of chopping up a newborn fawn in a mower, but when you look to the good, it's a positive. Missouri is trying to head off some of the problems that other states are facing with the exploding whitetail population.

"State Farm estimates that 1.5 million vehicles collide with deer every year, resulting in 150 motorists deaths and $1.1 billion in vehicle damages.

Citing claim statistics, auto insurer State Farm said that drivers in Pennsylvania experienced more deer collisions than any other state.

Coming in second and third were Michigan and Illinois, followed by Ohio and Georgia. Minnesota and Virginia ranked sixth and seventh respectively, while Indiana, Texas and Wisconsin rounded out the list at eighth, ninth and tenth.

The insurance company said it based its rankings on the total number of deer-accident claims filed with State Farm and did not adjust for population.

The auto insurer says that attentive driving is still the best deterrent for such accidents.

In order to avoid such collisions, State Farm says drivers should use their high-beam headlights as much as possible to illuminate deer hiding on the side of the road and to not rely on car-mounted 'deer whistles,' which studies show not to affect the animal.

If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, according to the company, it is best not to swerve, which could increase the risk of injury and could cause you to lose control of your car."

You guys need to mow when it's time to, don't feel bad about doing what's necessary.

From: Salagi
26-Jun-08
Birdboy - warm season grasses have their place. They are harder to get established and can be easier to kill out by overgrazing etc. That said, I've got mostly warm season grasses (read "native") on my place. I'm not cutting any hay this year , no place to put it and got rid of the grass eaters at least for a short while. Just walked a 10 acre patch looking for thistles where there were sheep until last November. I've not fertilized in 10 years (and it needs it). The native grass is hard to walk through it is so thick and I found few thistles. The deer beds were there though.

An old timer I knew put it right years ago. Fescue has saved the cow industry in the Ozarks, but a quail won't even fly over a fescue field

From: DTala
26-Jun-08
this problem has a simple answer...put a dang pole out front of the tractor with chains hanging off that reach the ground. NO fawn will lay still while a chain runs across him. Been using em in Alabama for decades.......

From: alwayslookin
27-Jun-08
DTala.......depends how fast you mow.....our discbines and self propelled choppers go fast enough that the little guys don't have a chance to get up. Our old Haybines , yep....would work.

Birdboy......having farmed in MT and NY .....it all becomes relative.....I hear you about planting vs. harvesting.....some years you are doing both. We ensile 1st cut and big bale second. First cut is ALWAYS thicker....we never have spring droughts....this yr was as close as ever. Now we are paying for it...17 inches of rain in the last 3 weeks. Yes, the buck restrictions are working......the best part is that even though we look for 3.5 year olds or better.....the guys who agree to only shoot one buck per year are really happy (neighbors).....there are more bucks....period. Our does , as previously stated are bred more efficiently, too. In reality, we help the neighbors more than ourselves.....they get the bucks dipersed off us, we get the dispersal from herds that are more traditionally managed....but they still grow well too. It has to start somewhere....and age is the single most important factor. Good luck to all you farmers and hunters this year....stay safe.

From: Bill in MI
27-Jun-08
You guys just need to put deer whistles on the front of your equipment thats all ;^)

Seriously, there probably isn't much you can do about it and is just a fact of life. Sad but true.

Bill in MI

From: HCAshooter
27-Jun-08
alwayslookin, small town Mexico, my neighbors are from Governeur. I meant the corn is over a foot tall now! The deer population is good- hunting soso. We mow with a discbine...in road gear, pretty hard for a critter to get out of the way.

From: alwayslookin
27-Jun-08
I hear ya HCA.....discbines can lay it down.

I am suprised that the snow has melted by the 4th of July......you buggers get HAMMERED.

NY has a long way to go before it is Ohio....the whole state.

Back to topic......fawn deaths can be reduced but not altogether avoided....especially with the newer harvest equipment

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