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Minerals and Supplements for Deer Herd Management

Deer minerals support better hunting and herd management. Find out which trace minerals deer need and how to supplement them on your private lands.

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As hunters and herd managers, we aim to create an environment on our lands where whitetails comethrive, and stay. But if deer don't find the right habitat and nutrients they need on our properties, they’ll leave and find them somewhere else.  

So how do you make sure you’re fostering a healthy habitat and herd on your land? Small changes in environment can have a huge effect. Besides diverse forage, water, and cover, supplementing trace minerals is one great way to improve habitat and achieve healthier deer densitiesSo let’s get to it—let’s discuss herd nutrition and why minerals are so important. 

Basics of Herd Nutrition 

Wildlife depend on the land to provide the nutrients they need. We know they can’t pound a protein shake or pop a multivitamin to fill in gaps from scarce forage or inferior browse. That’s why it’s important to foster a year-round environment where herds not only survive but thrive.  

To do that, consistent and quality nutrition is a must. According to this article by the University of Missouri, nutrition, age, and genetics are the three main factors that influence higher recruitment rates, greater body mass, and larger antler growth in whitetails. And as part of good nutrition protein, energy, water, vitamins, and minerals are five essential requirements. 

Why Do Deer Need Minerals? 

The total mineral content of a deer’s body is only about 5 percent. Not much, right? So are they that important? Absolutely. Wildlife can have access to plenty of feed and not thrive if the right minerals aren’t present. Whitetail's needs change throughout the year and depending on phase of life, but here are some important physiological functions minerals assist: 

  • Body growth 
  • Antler growth 
  • Immune health 
  • Fetal growth 
  • Milk production 
  • Reproduction 
  • Digestion 

White-tail deer need balanced minerals for optimum health, including calcium and phosphorous.What Minerals DDeer Need?  

Minerals are classified as either macro- or micronutrients. These classifications indicate whether deer need a little (micro) or a lot (macro). Important macronutrients include calcium (Ca)phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na) and sulfur (S). Micronutrients include iron (Fe), copper (Cu)Zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), cobalt (Co), iodine (I) and selenium (Se).

Wildlife experts who’ve done studies are still unsure which specific minerals, and in what amounts, whitetails need. However, here are some they believe play an important role. 

Calcium and Phosphorous 

The two most abundant and studied macronutrients in whitetails are calcium and phosphorus because they impact body and antler growth. The University of Missouri notes almost 90 percent ocalcium and phosphorous in a deer’s body are immediately sent to the skeletal system. That's because bucks draw off this store in their bones to also grow antlersAfter antlers harden, the minerals lost from the bones are then replaced through diet.

Calcium and phosphorous also play a major role in milk production, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and general metabolism.

Copper, Zinc, and Selenium 

Zinc, copper, and selenium are three important micronutrients. Copper plays a role in muscle, nerve, and immune function. Zinc is involved with healthy cell production. And selenium for deer is a powerful antioxidant.

Sodium 

Deer need sodium—and seem to crave it—especially during spring and summerCheck out this study showing sodium as the most effective attractant when using licks at camera survey sitesSupplements with high salt content brought more visits. 

Benefits of Supplementing Your Herd 

Deer in the wild seek minerals from plants, soil, water, and natural salt licks. But what if the soil or forage on your land is lacking or deficient in trace mineralsYou may find your herd densities diving as they relocate to your neighbor’s acres.

Consider starting a trace mineral supplemental feeding program instead to improve herd management and increase populationIn this paperJ.R. Perkins of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department notes these six advantages to supplemental feeding:

  1. Trophyclass animals at an earlier age.  
  2. Lower postrut mortality in bucks.  
  3. Allow genetically superior animals to reach their potential.  
  4. Carry more quality animals in a given area.  
  5. Smooth out boom or bust population cycles.  
  6. Expand range or hold animals in an area if other factors are not limiting. 

How to Supplement Herds on Your Land 

There are two ways to supplement trace minerals on your land and increase herd nutrition 

  1. Improve soil on food plotsAll soils contain trace minerals, but many areas have deficiencies. A good nutrition plan involves improving your land's soils—especially in and around food plots. To start, test your soil mineral content and then add a soil amendment to improve mineral balance. 
  2. Provide mineral sites. The easiest way to supplement is to create a mineral site. It’s a simple and affordable practice to help deliver all the trace minerals deer need. Check out the Redmond Beyond the Rock video above for tips on setting up a site.

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Redmond Hunt Balanced Trace Minerals  

Supplementing is just one part of a good herd management program, but an important one. At Redmond Hunt, we’ve got your mineral needs covered. Trophy Rock and Four65 are all-natural sea salt supplements with 60+ trace minerals for deer in balanced ratios. Cherry and Apple Bomb, powered with Trophy Rock, is a long-range attractant and supplement deer love. All three supplements provide electrolytes and important macro- and microminerals needed for optimum health. Click below to purchase Redmond products and begin improving your land, hunting, and herd population today!  

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