By Brandon Wikman
The obsession of two bone protrusions on a deer’s noggin continues to captivate hunters from around the world. Gnarly antlers have always fascinated me – especially when you are able to have a little control in their overall growth and potential!
During growth season, which is basically as soon as deer shed their antlers, the antler is composed of nearly 80% proteins. When antlers begin to harden late in the summer, the antler is comprised of equal parts of protein and mineral.
The two most common minerals are calcium and phosphorous. They are both stored in the deer’s body and account for 35% of a deer’s weight, which is only a small portion of what it needs to grow into the next walking world record! The only way to make that dream evolve into a reality is to supplemental feed deer with minerals, manage the herd, and be very lucky. Optimal antler growth is a science, but can be attained using not only the right resources, but also having the right resources.
The typical soil around the country lacks the essential nutrients to boost a buck into a giant. When you look at where most of the largest whitetails have been taken, the hot zone is nestled in the fertile farming grounds of the Midwest.
Using the proper combination of calcium, phosphorous, and sodium – minerals that most land lack – is critical in maximizing antler size. Whitetails deposit calcium and phosphorous in their skeleton before antler growth. During this phase is when minerals are transferred from the skeleton and into the development of the antlers.
Spring is best known for rainy days and the lush colors of green rebirth. Due to the tremendous amount of water, deer are usually in constant need for sodium from the high water and potassium content in forage. I found it interesting that deer need the essential minerals at different times of the season to meet the proper body maintenance and antler growth.
Using minerals, such as Moultrie’s Trophy Maker "Spring and Summer", will help your deer reach their maximum potential. This ground mineral attracts deer with its sweet berry scent, and keeps them coming back by supplying the critical calcium, phosphorous, vitamins and chelated minerals deer need. Simply find a well-established deer trail and pour a few pounds of power-packed, antler juicing mineral onto the ground. After you’ve applied a generous amount, mix it directly within the soil. Not only does this substitute lacking trace minerals in the soil, but also provides you with your very own permanent lick station. Be sure to hang your Moultrie camera over the lick to capture some stellar photos of deer enhancing their nutrition.
Always remember to check your state’s rules and regulations for using supplements.