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Trophy Size Deer, Elk Bring Premium Price
Ray Matejcek has raised white-tailed deer and elk on his farm east of Medford, Minn., for the past nine years. He specializes in trophy-size animals with big Shorn spreads that sell for a premium to private hunting preserves.
Matejcek .got the idea of raising deer from a newspaper article telling of a man who raises deer in a nearby town. The two met and Matejcek says, "I just went home and started building fences."
In the first few years, he bought about a dozen deer and six elk, and has added to the herd through natural reproduction since then. He gets a 100% calf crop with elk and the deer almost always have twins. Currently he has 26 elk and more than 50 deer.
Last year he sold four trophy bull elk and 21 deer, some of which were trophy animals and some were fawns to be raised by other people.
"I like watching them grow and watching them get big antlers," Matejcek says. "They're beautiful animals and you never get tired of their beauty. All summer long they're growing antlers, and it's interesting to see how big they will go."
Matejcek has fenced in 155 acres of his land for the deer and elk to roam. "There's always chores to do and fences to check. It's not a full-time job. It's more or less my hobby," Matejcek says.
The shooting preserves Matejcek sells to are in Missouri, Montana and Colorado. The preserves generally range in size from 3,000 to 5,000 acres. They're looking for the type of trophy animals hunters want to hang on the wall, Matejcek points out.
A trophy deer must have a rack measuring 18 or more inches in width between the farthest part of its inner rack. "If it's 17 1/ 2 in., it will drop the value in half," he says. A good trophy deer can be worth from $1,000 to $3,000.
On a bull elk's rack, it's the length of the beam and number of points on the rack that determine its value. A trophy rack has a beam of at least 45 in. and six points on both sides is average.
Matejcek supplements the deer and elk diets by putting vitamins and minerals in feed. But a majority of their food is natural. "They don't depend on me to feed them. Natural food is probably 80% of their diet," he says. "The biggest thing is to give them enough land."
Matejcek sells many deer as breeding stock and as pets. He walks freely among the animals but says there is some danger during rutting season.
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, Ray Matejcek, RR, Owatonna, Minn. 55060 (ph 451-2675).

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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #2