One of my most effortless ways to over-eat is having access to an overabundance of food. If there is food on the counter in our house, I am more likely to grab a bite, even when it is not a scheduled mealtime or when I am not hungry.
When there is access to food at home or work, the chances of consuming a few more bites than necessary are more likely to happen. This overindulging typically occurs because it is available or out of boredom.
When determining the best way for deer to consume as many minerals as possible to help increase bucks' antler growth and improve the overall health of the does before, and during the fawning season, I often revert to the same method that tempts me to eat more. The more mineral sites I have on one property, the more deer will consume.
When learning the truth about deer minerals, it is vital to remember that deer will not camp out in the minerals to eat for an extended time as when eating Big&J BB2 or supplemental feeds. Most minerals have a high salt content, so imagine taking a big bite of salt. You’re not going to eat several bites in a row. Deer are browsers, and when they are feeding, they often take a few bites here, then move on to another area to take a few bites there. Because deer are browsers and minerals have a high salt content and salty taste, it is hard to get a deer to consume a high level of minerals to significantly impact health and antler growth.
Multiple Mineral Sites
One of the most common questions of deer hunters typically revolves around how many mineral sites should be on a typical hunting property. As a rule, how many mineral sites are needed can be determined by how many deer are on the property and how many natural minerals are available.
In the winter, there is little access to natural minerals for deer consumption. In the spring and summer, deer primarily focus on green forbs because they are high in protein, essential for improving their overall body health and antler growth. When deer do not have access to minerals due to the dormancy that occurs during the winter or access to lush food plots or a significant number of green forbs during the warmer months, they will likely need more mineral sites to supplement their mineral requirements.
When making mineral sites, it is essential to have a product that is made up of calcium and phosphorus. Big&J’s Headrush and Legit are two great products with what deer want and need to boost their health and kick-start bucks' antler growth.
To ensure that bucks and does get an adequate amount of the needed minerals, I set up several mineral sites throughout strategic positions around my property. The most common location is putting minerals near food plots, bedding areas, and water sources. On one of my farms that is primarily timber, with a few cattle pastures, I elect to put out more mineral sites to compensate for the lack of natural minerals. At every water source, such as ponds, creeks, rivers, and artificial water tanks, I have a site nearby with either Big&J’s Headrush or Legit. Water and minerals work great when both are close by. By having several locations, deer can consume minerals because they are available everywhere they travel.
Mineral Benefits During The Winter and Spring
There are two significant reasons for ensuring that deer have access to a plentiful supply of minerals during the winter and the spring.
Winter can be one the most crucial times for bucks to consume the proper minerals to benefit antler growth. After the rut, bucks have seen a tremendous drop in their overall body health. Bucks are worn down from several months of fighting, chasing, and breeding during the rut. A worn-out buck heading into the coldest part of the year desperately seeks to gain strength and return to normal health as soon as possible. By supplemental feeding during the winter and providing the needed minerals, a buck can rebuild its health sooner, increasing the antler’s growth the following year.
The winter is the rebuilding stage, then comes spring, which is also a crucial period for both bucks and does to have the proper nutrients and minerals. Bucks are beginning to grow their antlers for the upcoming year. And does need minerals to help them grow and thrive throughout the summer. They also need extra minerals to help support their fawns by producing healthier milk and boosting their bodies while raising them. When the proper nutrients are available, the entire deer herd will benefit. These are the reasons there should be multiple mineral sites available for deer to have the most access possible.
By: Heath Wood