Understanding Summer Deer Minerals

STEVE SMOLENSKI

08/30/2015

Too many people get confused on what the actual benefit is of putting out deer mineral supplements and blocks. What attracts deer to mineral stations? Do they grow bigger antlers? What is important about deer minerals?

Too many people get confused on what the actual benefit is of putting out deer mineral supplements and blocks. To straighten this out, let’s cover the correct information of what is actually going on. To start, during summer deer are eating a lot of natural browse not just soybeans like some might think. But both the soybeans and natural browse they are consuming have very high levels of potassium as well as water. Because of this deer are continually in a sodium deficiency during these summer months. This is what makes these mineral stations so effective. It’s not the minerals, it’s the salt in these blocks that the deer seek.

Now you might assume that deer are attracted to the minerals as well as the salt, but research has shown that a mineral block alone will not attract deer. To make an attractive mineral station you need to have the majority of the attractant as salt. Many think that putting out mineral blocks like a trophy rock helps deer grow bigger antlers. That is not necessarily true, research has been done by many university programs testing to see if mineral supplementation has benefited antler growth in deer herds. They have all concluded in no difference between supplemented and un-supplemented herds.

Instead, deer get the majority of their minerals from their environment, the habitat, and the food they eat. So what does this mean for you the hunter or deer manager? Absolutely nothing, just a better understanding of what you’re putting out there and how it is used by the deer. However, if you’re concerned about your herd health, the minerals your deer are getting and if they are getting enough then concentrating on habitat work would be far more beneficial to not only antler growth but the entire herd and other wildlife.

The real benefit from these is obviously attracting bucks in close for pictures. This allows you to take inventory, know your bucks, determine their age, and develop a hit list. It also gets all the deer on your property accustom to this site…which means a more effective trail camera survey. A trail camera survey is by far the most important thing you need to be thinking about come this time of year not deer minerals. For more information on this or anything else white-tailed deer find the Buck Advisors online at www.buckadvisor.com.

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