Managing for proper nutrition in white-tailed deer is important for good body condition, good fawn production and recruitment, and maximum antler growth. Good nutrition can be accomplished by doing three things that involve proper habitat management, supplemental feeding, and the planting of food plots. If you want to kick your deer management program in to high gear, I recommend sound habitat management practices in addition to supplemental feeding through either protein pellets or food plots.
Most everyone is familiar with the benefits of supplemental feeding (high-protein food, often pellets), but it can be expensive and it promotes the urge to artificially maintain excessive numbers of deer. With that said, supplemental feeding is not a bad thing, but it must be combined with other sound deer population management practices.
Managing habitat on your property for proper deer nutrition really should be your primary goal. Without good habitat and high-quality food, nothing else you do will really matter. So, go ahead a plant food plots and put out protein pellets, but remember that supplemental feeding is in fact supplemental, is not a cure-all, and will not substitute for good deer herd and habitat management.