By Matt Harper Photos by Charles J. Alsheimer
s parents, we have the right (or shamelessness) to live vicariously through our children. For some, we are striving to realize accomplishments unobtainable in our youth and for others, we relive the past glory days through the actions, words and feats of our kids. My girls are now getting to the age where they are beginning to be involved in competitive activities and yes, disgracefully enough, I find myself reliving the very few glory days I had in school. In fact, just the other day I was sitting at my oldest daughter’s dance competition and… OK, I don’t live vicariously through my daughter when it comes to ballet (I was never graceful enough); but both my girls are involved in sports and I can’t help but picture myself in their shoes many years ago. The other day one of my daughters came home from softball practice and told me her coach said that the team could not drink soda for the rest of the softball season. She also said that the coach was recommending a protein-rich, energy-filled diet low in sugar and other sweets. www.whitetailinstitute.com
To a kid, this is akin to summer school sentence. She asked me, “Daddy, why is she being so strict with what we eat and drink?” I told her that if she expected her muscles/body to perform at an optimal level, she had to feed her body with the proper nutrients. If she was sitting on the couch watching TV, she wouldn’t need to be so particular with what she eats because changing channels doesn’t require much performance from your body. But if she is trying to beat out a slow roller down the third base line she needs to get everything she can out of her muscles, which is assisted by the right nutrition. Whitetail deer experience their own kind of high stakes competition. This competition however, has nothing to do with scoring points or breaking records, but rather involves survival and proliferation of the species — in particular the proliferation of their own genes. There are times in the year when deer are merely trying to survive which requires a certain level of nutrition. However, during the breeding and rearing period, deer need to be at optimal body condition in order to improve the odds that their genetics are passed on as many times as possible (bucks) or that they successfully conceive, gestate and then raise their offspring (does). In reality, deer undergo a yearly cycle that should be approached as such in a nutritional management program. Because each phase of the cycle affects all other phases, management plans need to be holistic in their development, realizing that what you do in the fall and winter will affect the success of your spring/summer management practices. Of course, the specifics of each phase may be different, but they all should work together to accomplish the greatest result.
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Vol. 22, No. 2 /
Whitetail News Volume 22 Issue 2