Tecomate founders Dr. Gary Schwarz and David Morris pioneered the food plot-based wildlife management system that has swept the country in recent years. Indeed, Tecomate is the “company forced into business by the deer we grew!” Gary and David started out as deer managers trying to grow more and better deer. After using every conceivable management technique, they learned that the key to growing lots of big deer is better nutrition and that the best and most cost-effective way to get superior nutrition to deer is through food plots, especially high-protein warm-season plots. They then searched the world over for the very best plants to meet the year-round nutritional needs of deer.
Tecomate Properties is supported by the marketing reach of The Bucks of Tecomate and Tecomate Whitetail Nation TV shows on Outdoor Channel and our industry-leading social media.
Tecomate Whitetail Nation (TWN) is a “Whitetail Lifestyle” TV series that not only features the big “Tecomate” bucks our viewers expect but also drives potential real estate buyer/sellers to the TP website by showcasing the properties we hunt and the people and stories behind them. Airing 26 weeks in 1st-2nd Quarters on Outdoor Channel, TWN reaches millions during the first half of the year when many real estate decisions are made!
The Bucks of Tecomate (“BoT”) TV show, in its 13th year, is one of the most successful TV series in the outdoor industry. Airing in the 3rd-4th Quarters on Outdoor Channel, the show reaches over 10 million viewers each year! BoT is known for the big bucks we hunt and grow and has great credibility and loyalty with the most serious in the whitetail market, many of which are managers and landowners.
Social Media & Digital Marketing: TP is a social media powerhouse with a combined MILLION-plus Facebook “Likes” on “The Bucks of Tecomate” and “Campfire Stories” Facebook pages! We also have a large presence on Instagram and are exploiting a variety of digital marketing opportunities, all aimed at strengthening our brand influence and driving traffic to our website.
THE TECOMATE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY?
The Tecomate Management System is a “holistic” approach to wildlife management that focuses on removing the weak link in wildlife production. In most cases, the weakest link is poor nutrition. At the heart of our strategy is a core concept: If you provide deer with more and better food, you can grow more and bigger deer, especially with high-protein, warm-season food plots. Plus, warm-season plots will hold deer closer to home, helping make smaller tracts more valuable and productive than ever believed possible...while reducing pressure on native browse and actually improving the quality of native habitat, an essential requirement of our strategy!
Obviously, some properties are NOT conducive to food plots for various reasons. In such cases, “more and better” nutrition has to be supplied through native habitat improvement, supplemental feeding and/or, as a last resort, reducing deer numbers. In all cases, the deer herd has to be managed correctly, i.e., maintain a good buck age structure and a balanced sex ratio and keep the herd in balance with the available food to assure the preservation of quality native habitat. Tecomate professionals know how to do all this like none other. After all, we’re been doing it on our own properties for years while helping countless others turn their land into big buck factories.
Why Not Just Manage the Native Habitat?
Quality, consistent nutrition is key to a healthy deer herd and large body and antler size. Natural habitat, with its seasonal and yearly fluctuations, does not supply a consistent source of nutritious forage. Plus, many native plants are inherently unpalatable and low in nutrition; after all, being desirable to browsing animals works against a native plant’s survival. Couple all this with the fact that in many areas high deer densities have severely reduced the few preferred plants that do exist, and it’s little wonder why the nutritional plane of natural habitat is all too often inherently low. This is where food plots enter the picture. A year-round food plot program can both level out and greatly elevate the nutritional plane. And, the impact can be astounding!
With the right food plot program, it is possible to increase the number of deer on your property by two or threefold, perhaps even more, while increasing the size and health of deer far beyond that possible on the most ideal native habitat. Plus, because deer shift so much of their feeding pressure from the less desirable native browse to the more preferred and nutritious food plot plants, they alleviate pressure on the natural habitat. And, the attraction of food plots actually causes deer to reduce their home range, helping keep them on the managed property and concentrating them for viewing, censusing and/or hunting... while improving the native habitat! That’s a win-win scenario anyway you look at it!
Supplemental Feeding vs. Food Plots - They’re Not The Same
Certainly, the nutritional plane of a herd can be significantly improved through supplemental feeding of pellets or other feeds, especially in arid and semi-arid regions as opposed to wetter regions such as the South. In regions with, say, 40 inches or more of annual rainfall, the degree to which numbers and size can be impacted by supplemental feed pales in comparison with that of food plots ... unless you’re willing to force deer to the supplemental feed by significantly damaging the natural habitat. You see, the whitetail is a browser, and as long as he has something “green and succulent” to browse on, he’ll browse. Standing in one place and feeding on, say, pellets is an unnatural act, but he’ll do it to a degree...the degree depending on the browse options available. Deer with good browse available will seldom eat more than about 20-25% of his daily diet in supplemental feed. The only way to significantly increase supplemental feed intake is to eliminate good browse options, which is exactly what happens during droughts in arid and semi-arid regions. In wetter areas, significantly reducing browse options means damaging the native habitat to such a degree that deer are forced to supplemental feed because of limited browse availability. That’s what happens with penned deer - they are forced to feed (and prosper) on direct feed because they have no choice since browse options have been largely eliminated. But in whitetail management and hunting, such severe damage to the habitat is unacceptable to responsible managers interested in land stewardship and fair-chase hunting.
By contrast, when deer feed on food plots, they are browsing! Every bite they take in a food plot is one less bite of native vegetation they will have to eat! And when highly preferred, nutritious plot plants are available, as much as 70% of a deer’s daily intake may be food plot plants, making it easy to see how food plots can greatly improve the nutritional plane of a deer herd and relieve pressure on native habitat.
Two Seasons, Two Nutritional Needs
The whitetail’s nutritional needs can be divided into two parts - cool season (fall and winter) and warm season (spring and summer). During the warm season, bucks need lots of protein to rebuild body mass lost during the rigors of the rut and winter and to grow antlers. If protein is in short supply, the body gets first dibs on whatever is available and antler growth suffers. As a rule of thumb for bucks, they need a diet of at least 16% protein during the first 6 or so weeks of antler growth to achieve maximum antler size. Does have the same high-protein need during the warm season to regain body mass lost during the winter and to nourish something rapidly growing - fawns.
In the cool season, the name of the game is not so much gaining body mass as it is not losing what they already have. Between the heightened activity of the rut and the caloric demands of the cold, deer need energy (carbs, sugar, etc.) in the cool season. Otherwise, they’ll burn muscle and consume their body reserves. This is especially so with rutting bucks. While protein is always a benefit to deer, they now have an increased need for energy. From the manager’s standpoint, the better condition deer come through winter, the more spring nutrition will be available for antler growth in bucks and fawn development in does.
TECOMATE PROPERTIES - DOING WHAT WE DO BEST
With the success of the Tecomate Management System, many managers began to ask Tecomate for direct help in implementing the program on their properties. Soon, most of our time was spent “consulting” with customers across the nation. It became apparent that perhaps our greatest “product” was the knowledge and experience we had in managing land and wildlife and growing big bucks, thus was born Tecomate Consulting. And nobody is better at it and more experienced than Mark Newell, who heads up Tecomate Consulting and our network of Associate Tecomate Biologists. Tecomate biologists work with landowners/managers across the country on every aspect of land and wildlife management, most often centered around Tecomate food plots.
With the consulting business underway, we began getting requests to help find, buy and help development properties that could be managed under the Tecomate System. Gradually, consulting, information dissemination and buying, developing and selling “Tecomate Properties” became the focus of our business. Today, Tecomate Properties’ “core” business is real estate and consulting, supported by our TV shows and huge social media platform. Our goal is best stated in Our Mission Statement: Help people realize the dream of owning their own recreational/hunting property and provide them with the information and services they need to maximize their success and become better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us.