Get your bucks to express their “Full Potential”
Austin Delano | Originally published in GameKeepers: Farming for Wildlife Magazine. To subscribe, click here.
If you are into managing your whitetail herd, one of the first chores on your list for the late winter/early spring is to refresh your mineral sites. Overall use of minerals usually tapers off when the acorns begin to fall and it generally picks up again when the turkeys start to gobble in the spring. These times obviously coincide with antler genesis and when they harden during the late summer/early fall and then begin to grow again during the late winter.
There have been countless studies conducted to determine whether mineral supplementation leads to any measurable increase in antler growth in whitetails - most of them come back showing little to no measurable difference or are inconclusive. The three feet craters in the ground that are created by whitetails lead most of us to believe there is more to a mineral site than just an attraction to the sodium generally found in most products, both natural and man-made. So do mineral supplements actually work?
Mineral use by a whitetail’s body typically exceeds intake of minerals during the antler growing cycle as well as when the does are carrying and nursing fawns. It only makes sense to provide them with a mineral supplement that contains all the essential nutrients and trace minerals they could need during these critical stages of growth and development. As far as whether or not the mineral works, much depends upon the make-up of the specific mineral product and the science and technology behind it. Yes, mineral supplements work, but how well each performs varies product to product.
The vast amount of new green forage that is available during spring green-up is a huge part of a deer’s diet. This new growth is very high in water and potassium content and causes deer to operate on a somewhat deficient level of sodium (salt). This constant flushing of a whitetail’s system from the increased intake of green forage causes them to seek out areas with high sodium content and makes a readily available mineral source that contains everything their bodies need all the more vital. I think maybe the easiest way to explain the positive benefits of mineral supplementation for your deer herd is to look at it as if it might pertain to humans.
It is well documented and proven in medical studies that a diet full of wholesome fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and good fats leads to a more fit, immune, and overall healthier person. You can survive off of junk food…but you don’t thrive, there’s a big difference. Many times people that are on the best of diets still feel the need and see benefits from supplementing with a multi-vitamin to fill any gaps in their daily diet.
If we are doing our job in the areas of maintaining a healthy deer density, providing high-quality year-round food plots, and improving habitat for cover and safety, providing minerals is just another tool for you to utilize for an overall healthier herd. With that in mind, BioLogic set out to create a mineral for whitetails that can address the mineral/vitamin needs of whitetails, mainly antler genesis and a doe’s need for nutrients for carrying and caring for fawns. We want your deer to reach their Full Potential.
We wanted to build a mineral product that was not only formulated for a whitetail’s foremost needs, but one that is quicker to be absorbed and utilized in the bloodstream. During the velvet or growing stages, antlers are comprised of around 80% proteins and the remaining 20% mostly macro minerals, chiefly phosphorous and calcium. It only makes sense that if we are going to plant food plots and improve native browse to increase the protein percentage in their diet, we should also provide our deer with a mineral supplement that mimics their antler make-up and skeletal needs. This was achieved by using chelated and organic minerals that are more efficiently absorbed through the use of high quality yeast to improve rumen function. This yeast helps to maintain a healthy population of microbes in a whitetail’s rumen and aids in the digestion and utilization of the feeds they consume.
By improving digestibility and retention of protein and minerals, more key nutrients are available for antler growth and body health. More simply put, Full Potential was formulated to cover your herds mineral and vitamin needs and more efficiently use the nutrients in their everyday diet. Directions for using Full Potential are pretty straight forward.
Typically heavier soil is better than sand and a shaded area is better than full sun. Clear the ground of debris and dig a small trench 3-6 inches deep and around 2 feet in length, pour in Full Potential and blend it with the dirt that was removed. These mineral sites should ideally be established during the late winter before spring green-up but can be applied any time. Your deer will use it when they need it. A property needs one mineral supplement site for every 60 to 80 acres depending upon your density to ensure all deer have equal and easy access when needed. Use your judgment, if you believe the mineral is being devoured too quickly it’s probably telling you an additional site is in order.