Whats your deer mineral recipe.
A comprehensive soil test is probably the single best way to make sure you are delivering the best nutrition available to your deer. If your soil is lacking something...add it. The plants will take up those minerals and deliver to the deer that consume them.
Yup...but don't forget to have food immediately available at spring green up. Winter rye/white clover does that better than anything else. My WR/WC plots have been green here for over a month...while nothing else for a few miles in any direction has been. Early spring nutrition is extremely important for does (who make the bucks) as well as for giving winter stressed bucks an early food source.
If you really want to boost your deer's antler development, make sure we are well fed all winter. Nearly all of the plots/crops we plant are geared towards fall and winter food. If your deer are well fed and come into spring in great shape, their bodies will be devoting nutrition to antler development immediately and a higher percentage of what they consume will go towards antler development. Now, obviously age is a factor as well. Your bucks will be slightly bigger at all ages, but 5.5 and beyone there will be a definite difference. Bucks take about 4 years for their frame to fully develop. After this point, they just need "maintenance level" nutrition and not "growth level". This leaves more nutrition available for antler development. Think about it, what good are minerals in the spring of the deer is starving? If the deer needs to get their fat levels restored they will be delayted in antler growth. Now, I'm not trying to call anyone out on minerals or anything, just providing my opinion that making sure they don't starve over the winter is a bigger piece to the puzzle. We had a neighbor explain this to us about 5 years ago. He was newer to the neighborhood, and the property he bought, which was good before, became great in short order. Seeing his results, we followed a lot of his advice starting about 5 years ago. On a piece of property we have had for 15 years, half of our Top 10 have come in the past 3 seasons, so the management plan is working.
Same here..it would be pretty dumb to do so. The whole point of placing salt/minerals is to insure they get used. The surest way to not have them used is to screw up the sites by hunting near them or having too much human presence in the area. My sites get refreshed 2 times a year most years...I check the SD cards in my cams when I refresh the sites and maybe 2-3 other times throughout the year...other than that I stay the heck away from them.
I have no desire to get into deer husbandry...I just like getting a trailcam inventory of whats there. Makes it much easier to pass that 110" 2.5 year old when you know there's a better/older deer around. Deer do indeed need salt when local soils don't have enough sodium, and most midwest soils do not.