Like most of you I am a passionate whitetail hunter and have been putting out minerals in early spring for years.
I would dig a hole, mix the minerals with the dirt and come back a week or so later hoping to find a big hole where the deer had destroyed the site. I assumed I would be growing bigger deer because the mineral was being consumed. Boy, was I wrong.
We as hunters need to educate ourselves as to what actually makes antlers grow. I did, and what I found was shocking and very disappointing. We get sucked in by fancy packaging and TV personalities telling how great a certain product is when in fact most simply do not work. Now the good news is there are some really great minerals on the market and we just need to educate ourselves and know what vitamins, minerals and chelated minerals to look for in the products that we purchase. The most important type of minerals are ones that are chelated. This means that when a deer eats the mineral is absorbs into the bloodstream instead of passing out the other end and the deer gets the maximum benefit of those ingredients. Minerals are not just for antler growth, though that is our main focus, but also help to improve the total health of our deer herd.
Do your homework. Use minerals starting mid-February to early March through the end of August. Your deer will start hitting your mineral sites as soon as their body tells them to replenish diminished levels in their bodies after a long breeding season and getting through the cold winter months.
What’s Needed to Maximize Antler Growth
- The mineral content of whitetail deer antlers have been found to be composed of:
Calcium: 19.01 percent
Phosphorus 10.13 percent
Magnesium 1.09 percent
These ratios are comparable to those found in bone. A good mineral should supplement these nutrients, in addition to the amounts found in their basal diet or habitat, to provide these main, and/or “macro” minerals, in approximately the correct ratio. Do your homework, as most minerals on the market do not have these essential nutrients and appear to have little to no nutritional value.
- Salt – Deer minerals should have approx: 25-40 percent salt. Higher levels are a cheap carrier, leaving too little room for Calcium, Phosphorus, etc, and lower levels tend to be ignored by deer.
- Trace minerals – Antlers also contain various other minerals, including zinc and manganese. Research shows that deer are able to pull Calcium and Phosphorus from their bone for use in antler growth in season, and replace it in the bone during the times of year when antlers are not growing. But that same research has been unable to find that deer can re absorb the trace minerals needed for antler growth from their bones.
- Vitamins – Vitamin D is important for Calcium and Phosphorus metabolism. Only half the competitors lists any.
|Correct vitamins, minerals and chelated minerals for maximum antler growth|
|Calcium (Ca), Minimum||13.00%|
|Calcium (Ca), Maximum||15.00%|
|Phosphorus (P), Minimum||6.00%|
|Salt (NaCI), Minimum||36.00%|
|Salt (NaCI), Maximum||40.00%|
|Magnesium (Mg), Minimum||1.00%|
|Potassium (K), Minimum||1.00%|
|Sulfur (S), Minimum||1.00%|
|Copper (Cu), Minimum||350 ppm|
|Iodine (I), Minimum||50 ppm|
|Iron (Fe), Minimum||3,000 ppm|
|Manganese (Mn), Minimum||1,500 ppm|
|Selenium (Se), Minimum||4 ppm|
|Zinc (Zn), Minimum||1,600 ppm|
|Vitamin A, Minimum||100,000 I. Units/lb|
|Vitamin D, Minimum||20,000 I. Units/lb|
|Vitamin E, Minimum||200 I. Units/lb|
— By Randy Ferman