-By Brandon Wikman
The month of June brings a shimmering shine of summer heat and a foreboding drum roll to the whitetail buck antler development. During this time, velvety antlers are jammed with a congestion of intersecting veins and capillaries that supply vital nutrients to the bursting bone. June is a critical month in the growth and development of whitetail deer.
Whitetail deer antlers are the fastest growing bone structure in the animal kingdom by far. Throughout the growing cycle, which primarily runs from March to August, deer beef-up on foods packed with rich minerals and vitamins. Minerals like calcium and phosphorous make up most of the bone atop a buck’s head. Vitamin A and D also play an essential role in the production of serious antler growing mechanics. Supplying deer with alternative mineral sources help their health tremendously.
Moultrie’s new Game Nutrition System offers a variety of minerals. The system’s Trophy Maker ground minerals come in a Spring/Summer Blend and Fall/Winter Blend, each specifically formulated to provide deer what they need for that time of year. Trophy Maker liquid minerals come in both molasses and berry flavor, and Trophy Maker mineral blocks are available in an assortment of flavors. Moultrie’s minerals are created with chelated minerals to stay in a deer’s system longer allowing maximum absorption into their system.
Whitetails are truly robotic machines. A deer’s stomach not only hints to what resources of foods it needs, but also controls the animal’s livelihood. Deer are fascinating creatures for many reasons. For instance, they are able to store calcium and phosphorous deposits in their skeletal system throughout the entire year. When the spring and summer months arrive, the stored deposits transfer into their headgear. Their skeletal system will deplete and evolve into a totally different physical state. A deer’s bones will become weak and brittle. That is why supplementing minerals increases the total health and wellness of the herd.
You can sprinkle mineral on the ground, atop a stump, or in a feeder. What I usually do is take a garden rake and claw into the forest floor. By removing leaves, grasses, and other barriers from the dirt, you will be able to pile the mineral onto the bare ground surface. I’ve been taught to create a 5x5 foot area composed of dirt and mineral. It is important to make the mineral site near a deer trail. The convenience is super nice and deer will take notice of your new snack offering extremely fast.
Combining the mineral into the dirt will allow a lip-smacking good mixture that will leach into the ground. Sodium is a necessary attractant used in mineral. Deer seek out the salty snack and also chow down the nutritious mineral and vitamin infested dirt. If you’ve ever seen the hole of devastation that a salt block leaves in the forest floor, you will be in for a hole just as large. Deer will chew into bark, sink their teeth into dirt, and chomp through roots for their salt fix. I always think about giving deer mineral the same as giving a dog a prescription pill. Dogs don’t beg for the pills, but will do every trick in the book for a hotdog. Injecting the pill into the hotdog supplies the dog with food and the necessary nutrition it needs. Deer share the same food mindset as dogs or even cats for that matter. Feeding deer with mineral and vitamin snacks seldom work, but juicing the side-course with an extra pinch of flavor makes it much more appealing to their taste buds. That is why salt is such an important ingredient.
Be sure to feed your deer herd mineral throughout the summer months. Your herd will become bigger, healthier, and stronger. It will make your early season archery hunt even more rewarding. You will thank yourself later when you see a heavy set of antler walking your way. It’s the proper steps we take now that provides lasting healthy impacts on deer tomorrow.