By Heath Wood
Those looking to manage their deer herd by providing the proper nutrition may be curious about the best time to use minerals and supplemental deer feeds. The correct answer is all the time. To provide deer with supplemental minerals and feeds, one must look at the entire year to maximize antler growth and increase the overall health of deer.
To break down what deer need throughout the year, hunters can use the four seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall as their guide. By breaking down the year into four seasons, one can evaluate what deer are doing, what their bodies are doing, and what can be provided for them to obtain maximum results during each season.
During the winter, deer are cold and need extra food to stay warm. However, winter is ideal to start with supplemental feeds and minerals to increase overall health. The winter is the starting point for deer to replenish their bodies after one of the most challenging times of the year, the rut.
After the rut, bucks are worn out; they have lost weight, muscle, and overall health due to chasing does and neglecting their bodies for a couple of months. It is vital to remember the faster bucks replenish their bodies, the better their antler growth will be the following year, along with their health. To help bounce back quickly, hunters need to use minerals such as Big and J’s Headrush and Legit to supply calcium and phosphorus that helps build bone strength. The next step is to boost deer’s protein levels. Using BB2, or BB2 Apple, which has a high percentage of protein, is ideal.
The spring is a time for regrowth. Not only are our grasses and plants growing and greening after a long winter, but the deer are also beginning new growth.
Bucks are beginning to grow their new antlers for the year and does are growing a new baby fawn inside of them. Both require an increase in nutrition.
As the temperatures began to warm, the green grasses spring to life, giving deer an extra food source compared to winter. However, that is not enough to meet the needs of proteins and minerals that bucks need for antler growth or to help the does raise healthy fawns. As forages grow, they lose mineral content, leading to deer consuming more minor minerals than they would in the fall and winter.
To supplement the needs of new growth, deer need an increase in minerals that give calcium and phosphorus at a ratio of 2:1. Like what was used in the winter, hunters should use Headrush and Legit products to boost mineral intake. Using Headrush and Legit, along with BB2, boosts the protein level for bucks who need it for antler growth.
By the time fall rolls around, most hunters have stopped feeding and have quit replenishing mineral sites. Their focus is solely on hunting what they have been growing all year. However, the routine should not be completed yet. Bucks need an extra nutrition boost to prepare their energy levels to face the fall and upcoming winter. As for does, they are weaning off their fawns and are now recovering from lactation; they also need a boost of protein to replenish lost minerals. Where it is legal, keep the protein feeds rolling. If not, keep the minerals available and be ready to start the process again as the hunting seasons end.