In just one month general gun deer season will come to a close. In the meantime, hunters combine skill with luck for a prized kill but in a Marianna a deer preserve is using genetics and care to produce top quality racks.
Bontrager oversees 250 acres of land. From day one deer are bottle fed, which usually allows the animals to have a calm disposition around humans. Unlike in the wild, bucks must reach four years old before they are released to hunters.
Bontrager says deer in the wild average one and a half to two and a half years of age before being killed. The hunting grounds are lined with an eight foot fence preventing any wild deer from roaming the property or Bontragers' prized animals from escaping. According to owner Daniel Bontrager, paying thousands to score a prized kill to feeding the animals, deer hunting puts money back into the community, "This provides an option for people that want to hunt, and take home a trophy, but it also is a boom to the economy. There is a lot of feed fed to the animals that is sold through local business. There are also a lot of farming supplies, tractors fertilizers seed."
The only requirement Bontrager has of hunters on his property is that everyone be safe and leave with a smile. Fawns will give birth this May and June; Bontrager is expecting to have more bucks roam his land than he has ever had before.