Protecting Deer Feet at Otago Deer Transport
Originally, Otago Deer Transport owner Stephen Grant was looking for matting to protect the deer’s feet during transport, especially when moving weaners in the winter months.
“These weaners are coming off wet/slushy paddocks, lanes, and holding yards etc. and are being loaded onto cleaner, drier and softer mats which help protect the feet from foot sore while being transported,” says Stephen.
Stephen started with a 900x900mm mat but more recently has been using Numat’s 1.5m x 1m SureFoot mat which he has found to be the best.
With 20mm of thickness and large drainage holes the SureFoot mat provides excellent comfort, noise reduction, and drainage – keeping deer safer, cleaner, and healthier.
Stephen says, “We like the 20mm thick heavy-duty SureFoot mat as it is durable and long-lasting. We found them easy to install and they butted up together well and they stay in place when the vehicle is moving. Also, the 20mm holes allow for the effluent to drain away quickly and easily to keep feet cleaner and drier.”
A bonus to installing the mats has been the improved loading efficiency. Stephen says the mats reduce noise during loading, making it easier to keep the deer settled. They also keep them safer while traveling, reducing the amount of bruising which is much better when they are killed at the freezing works.
“For trophy stags, sire stags, stud stock and in-calf hinds moving long distances we have found that they are happy to sit down on the soft mats and they don’t get as sore in the hips and joints (as they would be sitting on the steel mesh floors) while the vehicle is bouncing along the road. We have been very happy with the matting installed in our crates.”
And the benefits don’t stop there. Stephen believes most deer farmers are now aware of the importance of foot protection and comfort during transportation. Consequently, Stephen is transporting a lot more deer as farmers choose the softness and protection his service provides.
Stephen often gets asked about the value of installing matting in deer transport crates to which he is quick to reply, “We have mats fitted throughout all our specialist deer crates and wouldn’t transport deer without them.”