Summer Deer Feed and Deer Mineral Site Tips
In Michael Waddell’s own words…“What you put into it, you can take away from it”. This saying has been heard time and time again and can apply to all aspects of life including deer hunting. For the hunter’s that are not already under the impression that now, the off-season, is the time to start preparing for deer season these tips might spark some inspiration to visit your hunting property with specific goals in mind. The end of spring and beginning of summer are often the months of new life, from turkey poults to deer fawns, and yes, especially your deer food plots! Now is the time to start working towards deer season with one goal above all else. This goal is to increase the attraction of your hunting property! Habitat health, deer herd health, and the hunting property’s success are all amplified when establishing more attraction. How does a hunter increase his or her hunting property’s attraction? You have arrived at a place with the right answers!
Attraction for Your Hunting Property
Increasing the attraction on your hunting property can come from a variety of chores. Yes, chores! But these, unlike the “honey do’s” are fun…unless you enjoy mowing the grass, folding laundry, and cleaning the gutters?
Deer chores to increase attraction often come in the form of installing kill plots and destination food plots, working to promote deer cover, timber and habitat management, filling waterholes for deer, promoting a supplemental deer feed program, and putting out mineral sites for deer. Late spring, early summer is the perfect time to start two of these deer chores…putting out summer deer feed, and deer minerals.
What You Need to Know on Summer Deer Feeding and Minerals
Supplemental deer feeding and deer minerals go hand in hand this time of year but should be understood as two entirely separate attractions.
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. We have no control over the genetics but the other two facets we can easily manipulate. The common understanding is that minerals may help in antler development for bucks and lactation needs for does, but has yet to be proven to make a significantly noticed difference like supplemental feed can.
As Michael Waddell explains…”you’re not going to change the world when putting the minerals out,…even if I am not promoting antler growth significantly, I am benefiting from putting the mineral stations out where deer are coming in regularly, especially when it is legal to hunt those baited areas later in the year!”
This explanation perfectly clarifies the benefits of putting minerals out, as not necessarily for antler growth and for does lactating, but as an attraction on your hunting property! If you are in a state where baiting is legal, then using deer minerals such as Big and J Meltdown™ or Legit® that focuses on attraction, could directly correlate to success later down the road. If baiting is restricted then you at least are increasing deer traffic where you want during the off-season, which sticks with the herd moving into deer season.
Unlike deer minerals, deer feed, and supplemental feeding programs for deer do make a significant difference. Nutrition is one of the key factors when determining antler development and a high protein deer feed with other nutrients during the spring and summer months can absolutely create a difference on your hunting property!
|Crude Protein||18.0%||– – –|
|Crude Fat||8.0%||– – –|
|Crude Fiber||– – –||7.0%|
|Phosphorus||0.7%||– – –|
|Sodium||– – –||0.50%|
Ensuring your deer herd is nutritionally well off is far better to leave in the hands of habitat management and food plots as they already achieve maximum nutrition from these sources. However, in high deer density areas, or on highly managed hunting property’s optimizing antler growth, supplemental feeding is absolutely a good investment.
If you are wondering “can a supplemental feeding program increase the size and score of the bucks on my property?” The answer is most definitely yes it can. Studies have shown that bucks fed a 16% crude protein diet grew antlers that scored 20 inches higher Boone and Crockett, than did bucks fed 8% crude protein (Hamel et al. 1989)” – MSU Deer Lab. Getting the right type of feed for the right part of the year, with a sound strategy is a great recipe for a supplemental feed program.
Best Locations for Deer Mineral and Feed Stations
The attraction behind supplemental feeding and deer minerals is one thing, the strategy behind the attraction is another. The approach behind both supplemental feeding and deer minerals should lean on the side of attraction and inventory rather than a chore devoted to increasing the health of the herd. Establishing feed and mineral sites that capture the deer and bucks utilizing the property on trail camera, and that could potentially be advantageous to your hunting strategy should be your entire focus this summer.
This means maximizing deer attraction and traffic in places that make sense, and that work well with wind direction, food sources, bedding areas, and stand locations. The picture below shows how this might work on a hunting property. The sites shown are in the transition areas between bedding areas and food sources, however, they also keep in mind, especially with supplemental deer feeding stations that these areas are easy to access with a side by side or truck.
How to Install Deer Mineral and Feed Site
The strategy behind a mineral or feed site is just as important as the installation. The deer feeding and deer mineral tips below on site installation will help.
What You Will Need
- Transportation – a Side by Side, ATV, or truck if accessible
- Trail Camera – Trail Camera, batteries, SD card, and Strap
- Loppers/Weed eater – to clean up brush/tall grass in the area
- Deer Mineral – Big and J Meltdown™ or Legit®
- Deer Feed – Big and J BB2 Granular or Big and J Cube™
- Knife – A knife to open mineral or feed bags
Steps to Installing a Deer Mineral or Supplemental Feed Site
- Select an area that works with your property’s hunting strategy and is a high traffic area.
- Clear (with loppers or weed eater) a 10-yard wide circle around an area that will work well to hang a trail camera.
- Hang the trail camera chest high with either video mode every 5 minutes, or 3-photo burst every 5 minutes.
- Mix, dump, or pour the mineral out on the ground 10 yards from the camera.
- Revisit the site bi-weekly or every month with vehicle running (to decrease pressure) to check SD card, refill deer mineral or deer feed, and check trail camera battery life.
- Be sure to check baiting restrictions before the season opens in order to remove the bait before the deer season or hang your tree stand near bait site.
These tips for growing the attraction of your deer hunting property are arguably the some easiest and most inexpensive ways to increase deer traffic across your property. Now is the time to establish mineral sites and deer feeding sites on your property! Don’t miss out on this off-season preparation. Remember hunters most definitely reap what they sow!