Why Are Minerals So Important?
There is always something new to use or try in the outdoor world! Of course this is to improve our chances at that buck of a lifetime. The question is: Why should I supplement my deer herd with quality minerals? Good question!
Hardened antlers contain roughly the same amount of proteins and minerals. Studies show that calcium and phosphorus are by far the two most common in deer antlers. Hence, the two comprise between 30-35 percent of the mature antler by weight. In addition, the whitetail deer’s antlers contain 9 other minerals. The highest percentages coming from calcium (19%), phosphorus (10%), magnesium (1%) and sodium (0.5%). Lesser amounts of other minerals are present. Those include potassium, iron, zinc and manganese.
Deer Store Calcium and Phosphorus
Whitetails have the ability to store calcium and phosphorus in their skeletons. They then draw from these reserves during antler growth. This is an awesome adaptation! Especially considering how important minerals are in antler development. As great as this is, these body sources provide only a portion of the calcium and phosphorus needed. Much more is required for optimum antler growth. Thus requiring the deer to provide much of the needed minerals from their diet. That is why it is so crucial to provide mineral supplementation. Both prior to and during antler growth for maximum nutrition. Don’t forget about your does either! During gestation and lactation does require high amounts of calcium and magnesium.
Deer have a sodium deficiency during the spring and summer months. This is due to the high potassium and water content of their forage. Because of this deficiency your deer will seek out concentrated sources of sodium. If you are more than 25-50 miles from the seacoast then your soil is most likely low in sodium. Especially relevant is that most soils in the United States are also deficient in phosphorus.
Without question deer need mineral and they will readily use mineral licks. The key is to stay under 25% salt with a 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio for best results.
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