Deer Mineral Beds
Over the past several deer hunting seasons, we’ve improved our deer herd by providing mineral beds. We are seeing healthier deer along with better antler growth on our younger bucks. Instead of seeing one or two shooter bucks a year, we are now spotting eight to twelve a season. Putting a trail cam close helps you keep track of what’s on your property. Almost all the wildlife will visit these areas at some time or another. It’s really improved our deer production and helped us develop a hit list, for deer season.
Here’s some quick mineral bed basics.
Minerals beds for deer are important in antler production, a bucks antlers are about 50% organic matter, mostly proteins. If mineral demands for these minerals are met on a daily basis, antler production can be significantly increased. The 3 things that effect antler size, age, genetics and nutrients. Adding supplemental food and minerals is one thing we have control of as a hunter. Minerals are for the health of your deer herd including your does. Does pass minerals through their milk to their young. They need high amounts of calcium and phosphorus for bone development, passed through their milk to the fawns. Phosphorus can’t be reproduced by a doe making these added minerals a great aide in the health of your deer. Bucks need minerals from May- Sept. for the antler growth. Does need minerals from Dec.-July, for development of their fawns. Our group freshens the mineral beds twice a year, once in late Feb. then again in late Aug.
Mineral beds should be located near well traveled trails, near water or food sources, even close range of bedding areas, it’s easier for deer to locate the mineral beds. Water seems to be very important, we’ve found when drought conditions hit they stop using the mineral beds. We use a number of different recipes, trying to find what works best for deer in an area. Mineral beds should be put in several locations, dividing the property in 50-80 ac. sections. This gives all wildlife access to the mineral beds, improving the health of your game. Normally all beds we make are 3-6ft. Circle which we add minerals and mix with earth, then we use 5 Gal. of water them in soaking the entire bed.
Our goal is to provide these minerals, finding a balance between what’s best for the deer and what they are attracted to. Deer crave salt/sodium but it’s minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, that is better for health. What to look for is keeping salt/sodium in the 40-50% range, calcium in the 13-16% range, phosphorus 5-8%, magnesium and potassium in the .5-1% range.
Here’s a quick mineral comparison
As you can see from the label general cattle mineral and record rack have about the same ingredients. The biggest difference is price a 25lb bag of record rack and 50lb bag of general minerals cost the same. We’ve found that with 2bags(100lbs)of general mineral mixed with 50lbs of solar salt will do mineral beds for about 800ac.Here’s a couple of dated pics from a new deer mineral bed we made last year.
From the pics above you’ll see that a mineral bed put in in Aug. has regular visits at anytime of day but various wildlife. Those pics are about 30 days apart, with about 150 vistors in 3 months. We have a mineral bed for about every 50-80ac.