Mineral supplements for deer - whats your 2 cents worth?

Whats you opinion on offering mineral supplements to wild deer?

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I am considering starting a mineral supplementation program but I am not yet convinced that it's a good idea. Baiting for hunting is illegal in my state - so I can not use them in any way to harvest deer. Before I spend my money and set aside areas I can't hunt I am trying to get some real world perspective as to if you guys have truely seen any impact on your deer by using minerals.
I don't see where it does any harm. I like to provide the best I can for them. Also works great to set a cam on. I do not hunt the mineral stations. I mix my own and cost isn't that much. Cost is under $50 to make 250 lbs.
Totally illegal on all levels where I hunt in WI and given the nearby threat of CWD, I could not, would not, take the chance. In my particular situation I consider them to be harmful to deer.
Just like your body a deer gets all its essential minerals from the food it eats. Diverse native habitat and food plots give the deer more then what they need. There will always be some micro nutrient issue but that has no impact on a deers overall health. Next time ask you doc, but keep the deer out of it.
it's illegal in Wisconsin in the off season statewide and only legal in baiting counties during season at 2lbs./40 acres.

There are some different rules for feeding deer for non-hunting purposes that may allow a person to place out mineral within 50 yards of a home or business...unless some rules have changed since this article came out.

I use one of those trophy rocks for a cam site in late winter through to end of August. I took 4 cinder blocks and laid them tight together with solid wall sides up to form a "table" and dug them into the ground about 3-4 inches and then piled some large rocks up around them. I did this to reduce the trophy rocks contact with the soil. if the rock is in contact with the ground the salt and mineral content of the rock will leech into the soil and deer will begin eating the dirt. The sitew ill remain attractive to deer even after the rock is removed. I can then remove the trophy rock and not have an active mineral site. I'll buy a trophy rock in March and usually have it last right through August having just a small brick sized rock left. I get them for about $20 i think. So it costs me $20/year.

I cant say i've seen it make any quantifiable difference in herd health or antler development....and i dont expect it to. I primarily use it for the purpose of putting deer in front of the camera. The way i see it is its like giving them a "healthy" snack instead junk food like all the crazy "crush" and "rage" products.
In Wisconsin it actually is 2 gallons per 40 acres during hunting season. You can also dump 2 gallons within 50 yards of an occupied dwelling or business for the purpose of veiwing deer year round. All of this is only legal in counties where baiting is allowed.
Some die hard land guys put out mineral in Iowa and they swear by it. Personally I have put them out for game camera pictures etc...

I can't say they make a huge difference?
I would like to use them for inventory in spring/summer. Not legal however in Wisconsin.
I pondered this problem when I first moved to this property. The soil is so sandy it will not hold nutrients. Open lands have been so over worked for many years, they are depleted. So, I put in food plots but I super fertilize them. My plants are normally greener than anything around here. I cannot legally put in mineral licks, but I can turn a 1/4 acre food plot into a huge mineral lick. I add bone meal, limestone, (not lime although I do use it to get the ph up.), and I spread trace minerals over the entire area. Just be careful not to use trace minerals that are mostly salt.

This way the plants pick up the nutrients and minerals plus the deer do sometimes dig in the soil. I have seen a huge difference in the health and body size of the small herd that calls my little piece of land home.
I keep two mineral sites going with the 50# mineral blocks - it's cheap, easy, and the deer love them. LOTS of does, some buck activity through summer, and fall they're pretty much ignored.

I don't do it as an attractant, or for rack development. Could be the equivalent of potato chips for all I care. :)
We run Fleet Farm mineral during the growing season. One bag at tree planting, one on fourth of july, one on labor day. Haven't seen any change. I like to think it puts out the trace elements that may be missing. Trouble is, I haven't ponied up for the expensive soil sample to check for all the micros. If all it does is help the mothers produce better milk for the fawns and come out of winter condition faster, It's worth the $50/year.

Last I checked, Fleet farm mineral was about $16/25lb bag, and it had the right blends of calcium to phosphorus, limited salt, and a healthy dose of all the trace elements. It also helps with the camera surveys.
That right there is your habitat tip of the day! I'll give that a try. I'm surrounded by all sorts of feedmills where I live.
I would check all four!

It depends so much on the soil in your area I believe. And this is from a guy that sells pallets of 50lb bags of the stuff. In our area of East Central MN we are really short on Selenium. The deer mineral we have made up for sale has about 8 PPM of Selenium. If your soil is not short of Selenium, do not add it in. Can be toxic. JMO.
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I don't know for sure that they have helped in bone development for bucks but that isn't why I use them. I believe they help produce healthier deer, especially in the does/developing fetuses/fawns, which according to research I have read says that deer that have all nutritional needs met are more likely to reach their genetic potential.

They are heavy users of my licks during June, July, and August but something amazing happend this fall that I have not experienced in the 8 years I have run mineral licks. The deer used the licks as much during last week of Aug., Sept, Oct, and ending Nov. 6 as they used them June, July and August. I had over 6300 pics in 10 weeks on the one mineral lick I leave a camera on through Dec..They weren't just passing by the lick but were head down in the lick like I expect them to be in June and July.(does, fawn, and bucks) The only thing different with the lick this year was it was a different product, one which is to enhance their immune system as well as have all the other qualities other products have claiming to build bone.

I first start putting out mineral in Feb, refresh in April, and then a last time at the end of June.

They make great census taking sites with pics that almost look like they were posed.
I dont think they have much impact on the overall health of a whitetail heard BUT they have an impact on a herds movements. No doubt they seek them out having an affect on their core area. IMO minerals are the most cost efficient way to perform trail camera surveys.
This is what we have made up with a friend of mine at Zimmer feed in Mora, Mn. Our neighbor the deer raiser has a feed guy that put the recipe together for our area. Maybe some of you can use this as a guide! Good Luck!

Maybe it's time for the spendy soil sample to really find out.
I have a hard time believing that a free ranging deer is going to eat enough of the minerals put out to get the full benefits like cattle or deer in a pen. We still put out a mix hoping it will benefit them some. I think the mix we did was about 2:1 trace salt to dical phosphate. Maybe $80 for about 250 lbs from the local coop. If nothing else, like others said it works well for trail camera surveys.
We used it till the baiting limits started. Almost solely spring and summer use, and mostly used by does. Have some impact.