Starting Deer Mineral Sites
Spring has arrived even in the northernmost parts of the United States. Flowers are blooming, the grass is luscious and green and the temperatures are perfect and mild. You’re not the only one enjoying all of this. This time of year deer are out recuperating from the stresses of winter, and as a landowner, you can help them out by establishing deer mineral sites.
Food is plentiful right now and the deer are eating all they can to pack on the pounds for next winter. Many does are pregnant and require proper nutrition to ensure healthy fetal development and aid in lactation after they give birth. Meanwhile, bucks are growing their antlers. Providing them with minerals will supplement what they’re often lacking in their natural diet.
Deer Mineral Needs
The spring and summer months are the most critical times of the year for deer to get enough minerals in their system. During this time of year, deer are consuming lush green vegetation that is high in water content. When they consume so much water they can’t maintain the minerals and salt in their diets. Most hunters know that the deer need more salt and will put out salt licks and cattle mineral blocks. This will certainly attract them, but it’s not providing the deer the other essential minerals for antler growth and reproduction purposes.
Deer’s antlers are composed mainly of proteins, but they do have other minerals in them. They are bone, after all. Calcium and phosphorous are the two most common minerals found in antlers. To a lesser extent, they are also comprised of magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. Phosperous and calcium not only help a buck’s antlers to grow; these two minerals are essential for milk production in lactating does and for bone growth in fawns.
Types of Minerals To Use
If you’re looking for fast and effective options, liquid minerals will seep right into the soil. They can also be poured onto logs and tree stumps, but they ,won’t last very long and you’ll have to reapply several times throughout the spring and summer. Blocks are a favorite and last the longest, but it takes more time for them to dissolve. Minerals in granular form can be mixed into the soil or with corn or other supplemental feed pellets for use inside of a feeder.
Picking a Site
The best locations for mineral sites are food plots, bedding areas and near watering holes. When deer enter a food plot, they are usually seeking salt and minerals as well. By placing the mineral site just off a trail entering the food plot, you are creating a natural stopping point for them.
A plus to this project is you’ll have an easy way to monitor bucks’ antler development by having a trail camera near all of the sites. While the deer will eventually change their patterns as fall approaches, you’ll have a reliable buck hit list. Then, as winter bears down again, you can rest a little easier knowing the whitetails on your property are as healthy as they can be thanks to supplemental nutrition.