Harold Knight Speaks on Deer Feeders
Harold Knight, with his partner David Hale, founded Knight & Hale Game Calls and Commonwealth Productions in Cadiz, Kentucky. Every year he travels the country shooting footage for his TV shows and his videos. But, on his property at home in Kentucky, Harold likes to observe wildlife and enjoys using his Moultrie feeders.
MOULTRIE: How long have you been using feeders?
KNIGHT: I have been using deer feeders for over 20 years. Feeders are a great way to manage wildlife.
MOULTRIE: Why did you start using feeders?
KNIGHT: I thought that feeders were a great way to supplementary feed wildlife without having to carry a bag of feed out to the woods every day. When Moultrie first came out with timers that dispensed the feed for the wildlife without my having to be there, I thought it was one of the world’s greatest inventions. I like the idea that I can set the timer to release the feed whenever I want it to be dispensed. I also like the fact that I can feed not only deer and turkeys, but also songbirds, squirrels and many other forms of wildlife on my land.
MOULTRIE: What kinds of supplemental feed do you normally use?
KNIGHT: I use corn, soybeans, wheat and any other type of feed I think will help the wildlife. But, I guess I feed more corn than I do anything else.
MOULTRIE: Where do you put your feeders?
KNIGHT: There are several elements to consider when feeding wildlife. When I put a feeder out, I want to be able to drive up to it in either my truck or four-wheeler, and not have to carry heavy sacks of feed on my back. At certain times of the year, I put my feeders on the edges of green fields. At other times of the year, I will relocate my feeders and place them in thickets in the woods.
MOULTRIE: Harold, why do you put feeders in thickets?
KNIGHT: I usually put feeders in thickets when I think I have big bucks on the property that I can’t see during the daylight hours. Older-age-class bucks will come to the feeder if they have cover, and if they’re not harassed around it. I like to put a Moultrie feeder in the thicket with a Moultrie trail camera to photograph bucks I’ve never known are on my property. Oftentimes these bucks will only show up at night, even if the feeder is in a thicket. I’m amazed at how you can inventory a deer herd using a feeder and a camera after dark. You’ll often see bucks you’ll never see during the daytime, if you use a Moultrie camera.
MOULTRIE: When do you start your feeder program?
KNIGHT: I feed all year long. However, I feel that feeding wildlife during the summer months is critically important. At this time of the year, there are no mature acorns for the deer to feed on, the corn and soybeans haven’t matured, and if you start feeding in the summer, you can make sure wildlife is on your property during hunting season. In the state of Kentucky, feeding turkey is legal, but feeding deer during hunting season is not legal. Just about every state has different rules, so you need to check with your particular state where your land is located. I’m convinced that if you start feeding wildlife during the summer months, you can hold your animals on your property, even though you may have to quit feeding before hunting season.
MOULTRIE: Harold, what happened last year in the State of Kentucky as it relates to feeders?
KNIGHT: Last year we had a zero acorn crop. I believe deer and turkeys were both hurting because there weren’t any acorns. Food was so scarce last year that all the animals would eat the feed around the feeder just about as quick as it was thrown out. It wasn’t just deer and turkeys that were coming to the feeder. We had songbirds, squirrels and all kinds of animals. Now I think any state is wrong that does not permit the feeding of wildlife. I know last year, when the acorn crop failed, we were sure able to help a lot of wildlife by feeding them from the Moultrie feeders.
MOULTRIE: Harold, when do you start feeding after the season?
KNIGHT: Our season here in Kentucky ends around January 15, and I start feeding right after that because our deer are in about as good condition as they possibly can be in that time of year. They’ve just finished their second rut, they’ve been running all over the hills and hollows, the does are pregnant, and I think immediately after the season is the perfect time to feed deer. This is the time of year that deer need a high-protein diet, so this is when you should be feeding your wildlife soybeans. Some people mix soybeans with corn, but I feed straight soybeans and have found that deer will eat it. Squirrels will also eat soybeans. When you have a massive acorn crop failure like we had in Kentucky last year, those squirrels will be looking for something to eat. I really enjoy squirrel hunting as much as I do deer and turkey hunting, and when those squirrels are having a hard time making a living, I want to help them out if I can.
Moultrie feeders also feed quail and doves. I believe that feeders are good for all animals. We also plant winter wheat. Many times after the season, I’ll move my feeders and place them on the edges of winter wheat fields. The deer come to eat the corn or soybeans, but they will also graze on the winter wheat. I like to keep plenty of food out for my wildlife, especially during the wintertime.