Now is the Time to Prepare Mineral Sites
It seems every sporting goods store you walk in to has the next best deer mineral on the market that are designed to grow big bucks fast. Many hunters do not understand how minerals work and they want immediate results. This is why it is important to understand what these minerals actually do, and the proper ways to implement them into your management.
All minerals are not created equal. A deer mineral product that is beneficial to the herd will provide the trace reserves that are useful to the whole herd. The same minerals that work well for cows and horses are not intended to perform well with deer. Antlers are comprised of roughly 20 percent calcium and 10 percent phosphorus. The product you choose needs to have calcium and phosphorus, in as large of quantity as possible. Minerals designed cattle are not up to par for your needs as a deer hunter. These products, typically in a block form, are comprised more of salt than anything else. Whitetails, especially bucks, need sodium during the spring and summer. This is why deer will commonly visit and use pure salt licks during a select few months, but they do not provide the overall benefits that a whitetail-specific mineral will. Another misconception is the period throughout the year when deer will utilize deer mineral sites. While they are typically established during the spring and summer, whitetails will use them year around.
It is important to be realistic when creating a deer mineral site. Don’t expect to pour out deer minerals and watch an average size buck on your property to suddenly sprout a 150-inch set of antlers. To see an increase in a buck’s antlers and body size, you must manage their age, nutrition, and genetics. The greatest way to produce a buck with a massive body and an impressive set of antlers is to provide them with everything they need nutritionally and let them mature. A mature buck will experience a mineral drain during the spring and summer months when antlers are growing and depleting their reserves. This is why they will visit established deer mineral sites regularly. Antler-less deer will also use the sites when nursing their young. While most hunters think of large antlers when talking about minerals, the truth is that antler-less deer will use the sites just as much. Also, fawns and yearlings also find a well-established mineral site to be beneficial to their growth and development. Be sure to set up a trail camera nearby when creating a mineral site, this is a great place to collect an inventory of your herd.
When creating deer mineral sites, the most common technique is to use a granular type. Some land managers follow that up a few weeks later by placing a brick or block mineral out in the same place. This will last through summer storms and heavy usage during the summer months. Then during late summer and early fall, the same site can be refreshed with granular.
Minerals like Build Tha Bone are only a portion of your management and the results will not provide instant results in the form of trophy deer. However, you will benefit the health and build a great inventory of your deer herd by using the right minerals.
The last step in the process is deciding on where a deer mineral site should be established. Just as determining what form of mineral product to use is important, so is knowing where the most ideal locations to establish the site are. When scouring the land in search of deer mineral sites, you should look for areas of high usage, such as deer trails, funnels, or active edges, where two habitat types meet. These aforementioned areas already experience high deer usage, making it easier to for the deer to locate the site, and most of all, feel secure. Be sure to place the minerals out nearby a deer trail, but not directly on top of the path itself. With the exception of checking game cameras, which are great to have situated over these sites, try to avoid disturbing these areas if at all possible. In order to maximize the daytime usage of these sites, limiting human disturbances is crucial.
Lastly, there are many different ways to create a deer mineral site. Many times, the leaf litter needs to be removed along with a few inches of topsoil. The implementation process varies from product to product so be sure to read the instructions carefully. Hand tools such as a rake, shovel, or a hoe can be used to initially break up the soil and create a site.
Establishing mineral sites is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to provide the deer on your property something beneficial to all members of the herd. Now is the time to establish mineral sites on your property, so don’t miss out and get started. You will be glad you did!