By Mark Kenyon
If you’re looking for a whitetail related project to sink your teeth into this weekend, I’ve got you covered. It’s time to get your minerals out*. Yup, believe it or not, with the calendar flipping to May shortly, now is a great time to start establishing your mineral sites. And I say this for several reasons.
Jump-start Antler Development & Summer Nutrition
First and foremost, bucks are now starting to ramp up their antler development and with that being the case they are in need of the proper nutrients to ensure optimal antler growth. There’s been much debate over the value of providing supplemental minerals to deer, as no actual professional research findings have been able to assert clear cut proof in favor of a relationship. Still, most believe there is a link.
According to a QDMA article by Brad Howard and QDMA CEO Brian Murphy, “A University of Georgia study (Miller et al. 1985) detected 11 different minerals in the whitetail’s antlers. In addition to calcium (19.01 percent) and phosphorous (10.13 percent), the next two most common elements reported in the Georgia study were magnesium (1.09 percent) and sodium (0.50 percent). Lesser amounts of other minerals were found including potassium, barium, iron, aluminum, zinc, strontium, and manganese….Clearly minerals are important in antler development. Because of the large quantities of minerals required for antler growth, whitetails actually deposit calcium and phosphorous in their skeletons prior to the onset of antler growth and then transfer these minerals during active growth (Stephenson and Brown 1984). However, these body sources of calcium and phosphorous provide only a portion of that needed for optimum antler growth. The remainder must come directly from their diet while their antlers are actively growing. Therefore, supplementation of these minerals prior to and during antler growth may be beneficial.”
Prep Trail Camera Sites
In addition to providing proper nutrition, getting minerals out now can also benefit you from a trail camera standpoint. I typically like to get my cameras in the field by the beginning of June, if not earlier, and one of the best ways to capture quality photos on those cameras in the summer is to use minerals. Few things are more attractive to deer during the summer months than a quality mineral site, but they first need to find it. And that’s why, if possible, I like to get my mineral sites established a good two to four weeks before I plan on getting my cameras on them.
By getting your minerals out now you’ll have plenty of time for the local deer to find your site and begin frequenting it. And when you finally place your trail cameras over them, you know you’ll be getting the most possible pictures.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your mineral of choice, head out to your property and get to work. It’s time to get your minerals out!
Want to learn more about mineral supplementation for deer? Check out this article –> The 4 Things You Need To Know About Minerals For Deer
*Make sure to check the regulations in your state, mineral use is not legal everywhere.