If you are looking to make mineral stations this summer, here are some ideas to help.
By Nathan Unger
Mineral stations for your whitetail herd is an essential part of deer growth over the summer months. It is vital during the entire year, but especially during the summer as their calcium-rich antlers are beginning to grow, and those velvet nubs are starting to appear.
For several of you, bucks probably already have 6 to 8 inches of velvet antler visible which is why to maximize their growth, mineral stations need to be started now.
What exactly is a mineral station?
I’m glad you asked. For those of you that are not as familiar with mineral stations, it’s an area set up to provide deer with crucial summer nutrients that will commonly contain blends of nutrients, salt, minerals and natural flavors for antler and bone structure growth. It also provides for healthy fawn sizes at birth. Typically an area where deer frequently travel, but is also not too much in the open.
If a buck feels secure when traveling his corridor to the station, he’ll likely frequent it more often. Especially when the deer are on a food-to-bedding routine this time of year.
Another way to maximize the mineral your deer receives is to place the mineral on clay-like soil so that it doesn’t absorb into the soil quickly, and the deer can consume it easier. Additionally, it won’t soak into the soil as easily when it rains during those summer or late spring showers.
What if I don’t know what kind?
No big deal. Many, if not all, of your retail stores are going to carry several different kinds, and you’ll just have to choose what kind you think works well and which kinds fall into under budget. Most mineral ‘blocks’ last a longtime depending on the amount of deer visiting it daily. Sometimes they can last 3-4 months.
Granular or mineral bags should be placed out once a month depending on how much it rains, the amount of deer, etc.
I personally like a mineral called Monster Maker Mineral and Attractant by Non Typical Outdoors specifically designed by Dr. Tommy Daniel, hunter and animal nutritionist.
His implementation provides for the best and immediate absorption of the minerals within Monster Maker.
According to Dr. Daniel, “It does not make sense to have your deer consume mineral only to have it pass through the animal with very little being utilized.”
When do I need to start?
The sooner the better. The faster the deer can begin to absorb the nutrients into their body the healthier they’ll become and the more they can maximize their off-season growth.
Another great reason to for mineral stations is that you can place a trail camera over the site and begin to survey how many deer are on your property and what bucks are making your acreage part of their home range.
This will give you a great start on where you think you will need to place your deer stands as well as how many does, if any, you may need to harvest this season. Likewise, you can also measure the maturity of your bucks as the summer comes to an end and the ‘velvet rut’ arrives.
These stations are great because you can begin to survey the overall health of your deer herd.
*Be sure to follow state and county guidelines because not all states allow for minerals or attractants during all parts of the year.