August 18, 2015 at 7:03 pm #4519
Monday, November 18, 2013
We are planning to build a DMP pen in the next few months. I have put some thought into the design, but I wanted to get some input/advice from guys on WD who’ve done it. Also, do you have any companies that you’d recommend to build the pen? We are in southern Frio county.
DouglasAugust 18, 2015 at 7:03 pm #4520
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Location, location, location. I happen to have 47% of all DMP users in Texas as my clients, so I have some experience with DMP pens. I have captured 351 deer this month so far for DMP pens and have many more to catch before December 14..
Pen location should be off the beaten path and far from any human activity areas. It should be on high ground so water won’t ever stand in the event of a flood and it should be away from any oilfield areas, any powerline company areas, away from easements/pipeline senderos and not easily found by someone driving the main ranch roads.
Pen design has several state regulated requirements–minimum of five acres, 20′ of exterior gate openings, 50,000 square foot of escape cover, etc so those are not optional. For practical experience, I would strongly recommend a square pen design with a 12′ gate on opposite corners to aid in deer release when the time comes. Make certain, absolutely certain, that the water trough is near the fenceline so that the water level can be checked daily. Do not rely on a float or assumption that water is in the trough but place it so you can actually see the water level without entering the pen. Second most important is to have a backup water supply source–either a second water well/line or a bulk storage tank that supplies the water from the original well source. This is mission critical to avoid a real disaster if the deer are not checked daily. Make the water trough small and cover the float completely and ideally it will have a drain plug on it for easy cleaning and maintenance. Concrete troughs are sturdy and keep the water cooler than metal ones. Bulk protein feeder should be up against the fence so you don’t have to enter the pen to fill the feeder. There really is no reason at all to ever go into this small pen full of deer so don’t do it to avoid problems.
A square pen is quickest and easiest and cheapest to build. Also, make sure to add a predator skirting along eh outside bottom of the fence to deter any predator digging and make sure the two gates swing back to the fence and have no crawl space underneath the gates when closed. Used predator wire, concrete or railroad ties to keep this space closed and tight so predators can’t enter the pen under the gates (the weakest link to the pen). Barbed wire on top is optional but most people do use it to help make the fence taller. Place LOCKS on all the gates because of “illegal aliens” like to visit the water troughs and leave the gates open in high foot traffic areas. Locks are also a good peace of mind to have in case you have other people on the ranch you can’t control.
Shade is really important too. Select a spot with very dense brush and/or bull mesquite trees. Shade is critical in the summer months. Access to wind is also a plus, especially the SE wind in the hottest months so consider that as well.
As you can see, location location location is critical for DMP success. I can’t tell you how many horror stories exist because people didn’t think or realize what is involved in protecting and caring for confined deer. Take this advice and I promise you it will save you time, money and lots of grey hair.
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