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Nevada Deer Farm Expansion Coming

Jenn Smith

Posted on November 26 2019

NEVADA - Jody Gregory calls them "the little baby girls." 

The whitetail fawns born this year represent the future for his family business, Wooded Acres Whitetails, as it looks to expand its offerings.

Many of the animals eventually will be sold to other deer farms all over the nation — that's the operation's primary business. 

"Some of these farms want breeder bucks, that will match up with their does," Gregory said. "We do that.

"And then we collect deer pee," he added, breaking into a laugh. 

The deer farm markets fresh deer scents under the brand name Smoking Hot Scents, offering a range of products including buck and doe urine, doe in estrus, peak estrus and buck in rut.

Starting next spring, Gregory and his wife, Melissa, plan to offer farm tours, giving small groups of six or less a chance to pet deer, feed baby fawns and learn more about deer and deer farming. They also plan to open a small storefront, which will offer items such as T-shirts, hats and stickers in addition to the deer scents.

They'd like to show people "a lot of things they probably don't know about deer, since they just see them out in the field," he said. "It's pretty amazing. Of course, that's why we got into it."

Gregory learned about the business roughly seven years ago, when he had just gotten out of the Air Force and noticed an old friend was posting a lot of pictures of bucks on social media.

"I was joking around, I'm like, 'What have you got, a deer farm?' and he was like, "Yeah.' I'm like, 'What?'"

Gregory had been a hunter "pretty much all of my life," so he was intrigued by the business. "I didn't even know there were deer farms," he admitted — but he estimates there are at least 700-800 deer farms in the United States, and more than 100 in Ohio.

There's even a state organization, Whitetail Deer Farmers of Ohio.

The Wooded Acres Whitetails herd is fully certified by the state.

"There's requirements," he said. "Like, I don't know — 12 pages. There's inspections that have to be done. Everything has to be tagged. Really, it's no different than a livestock business."

Animals are vaccinated. The Gregorys perform laparoscopic artificial inseminations, breeding for the best quality herd. For example, they're breeding for piebalds. "There's never a dull moment," Gregory said. 

The Gregorys both have jobs in addition to running the deer farm, which they hope to eventually pass down to one of their sons. 

The young does come trotting up eagerly when visitors enter their pen, nuzzling, sniffing and even licking a camera lens. They eat from Gregory's hand as he pets them.

"My wife names all of them," he said. "I don't remember all the names."

"There's Lolly," Gregory said, gesturing to an adult doe who's particularly friendly. "She's one that, even after she stops producing, will stick around."

He pointed out Minicakes, Jolly, Dolly, Darlin, Pip and Piper. One of the farm's bucks, Chester, watched from nearby.

"It's one of those things," Gregory said as one of the fawns ate from his hand. "I mean, we love it."

The deer scents are a way to make use of a byproduct of maintaining the herd.

Gregory takes hunting seriously — "there's a lot more to it than people think," he said. He teaches hunter education classes, as a way to "give back a little bit."

"As hunters, we want to be ethical," he said. "If you going out to hunt, it's our responsibility to take care of everything — not wound them or anything like that."

The fresh deer scents help hunters lure animals into an area, Gregory explained. That can be helpful for hunters who are trying to figure out what animals are in an area, or to bring a big buck in for harvest, particularly when bow-hunting. In some situations, hunters use it as a cover scent.

The deer scents are hand-packaged, ensuring that each bottle contains the urine of just one deer.

"It's all natural; we don't do anything to it," he said. "Just like it would be in the wild. A lot of times what you see in these other stores, you don't have any idea how old it is. So our, when hunters get our product, it's collected from deer at our place."

Smokin' Hot Scents are available at the Sportmen's Stop, 2733 County Highway 330, Nevada; Sportsman's Den,  201 N. Gamble St., Shelby; and Chad Ward's taxidermy shop near Sycamore. People also can visit or stop by Wooded Acres Whitetails, 1804 Marion Melmore Rd., Nevada, to buy the scents.

Story re-posted from Telegraph Forum, Written by Gere Goble.