How to Make Mineral Beds to Promote Deer Antler Growth

Updated on April 13, 2018

Mineral Beds for the Health of Your Deer Herd

Minerals play an important part in deer antler production. A buck's antlers are about 50% organic matter, mostly proteins, but also contain abundant minerals, mostly calcium and phosphorus. If a buck's demands for these minerals are met on a daily basis, antler production can be significantly increased.

Three things affect antler size: age, genetics and nutrients. There is very little we can do about genetics. The age of a herd can be influenced by developing a QDM (quality deer management) program, but many hunters don’t have the patience it takes to see these through. So adding supplemental food and minerals is really all we have much control over as hunters. Deer hunting has become expensive and many hunters just want as much meat for their money as possible.

Minerals are just as important to a doe as to a buck. Does need the minerals to put back what is passed through their milk to their young. Through their milk they pass high amounts of calcium and phosphorus on to their young for bone development, through their milk. Phosphorus can’t be produced by a doe's body. Thus making these added minerals available is a great aid in the health of the deer herd. Bucks need minerals from May to September for antler growth, and does need minerals from Dec to July, for the development of their fawns.

Where to Put Mineral Beds and What to Put in Them

Good locations for mineral beds are near well traveled trails, near water or food sources, and even close to bedding areas. Make it easy for deer to locate the mineral beds.

We use a number of different recipes, trying to find what works best for deer in this area. We’ll put mineral beds in a few locations, dividing the property in sections. This is to give all the deer access to the mineral beds, because mature deer will keep other deer from their areas, forcing younger deer to look elsewhere.

Normally all beds we make are circles three to six feet across. We add minerals and mix them with the earth, then we water them, in soaking the entire bed.

One of our goals when providing these minerals is to find a balance between what’s best for the deer and what the deer are actually attracted to. For example deer crave salt (sodium), but it’s minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium that are 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%, and magnesium and potassium in the 0.5-1% range.

We use a variety of mixes in many places on the same property just to get a feel for which they prefer. If the deer won’t hit the mineral beds, it doesn’t matter how good the mix is for them.

Typical Mineral Bed

Whitetail deer will eat these holes in the earth to get the much needed minerals.
Whitetail deer will eat these holes in the earth to get the much needed minerals.

Mineral Bed Recipes

Here are some of the recipes we use.

Mix #1

Makes about 200lbs or enough for 5-8 beds(200-400acres)

  • Ingredients: (available from local feed stores)
  • 50 lbs Di-calcium phosphate: comes in 50lb bags, you need one
  • 100 lbs trace mineral salt mix (loose kind, with no medications): comes in 50lb bags, you need 2
  • Salt (ice cream salt, solar salt, rock salt: something that can be consumed by animals) - 50=lb bag, you need one

All together these should cost between $25-$35. Mix these as follows; one part Di-cal, two parts part Trace min, one part salt. You can mix them with coffee cans, buckets, or something else as long as you keep the parts equal. Make your beds as described in the above article and water them in.

Mix #2

Makes about 300lbs
Ingredients:

  • 50 lbs Di-calcium
  • 50 lbs Hy Phos (green bag)
  • 100 lbs trace mineral salt
  • 50 lbs solar salt
  • 50 lbs Stockade dried molasses (can be very hard to get, we’ve used liquid mixed with water before, when watering in the bed)

Use the same amounts and methods as the first recipe. Sometimes the molasses is needed to draw their attention.

Mix #3

Makes enough for one small mineral bed.

  • 6 lbs salt
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 11/2 cups baking powder
  • 18 oz. molasses
  • 20 500-mg potassium gluconate tablets
  • 10 250-mg magnesium tablets
  • 5 gallons boiling water

Mix together in the boiling water to dissolve the ingredients then make a mineral bed as you would with any other mix.

Labels From Mineral Mixes for Deer and Other Animals

Here's a comparison of a mineral supplement intended for deer and a general mineral supplement for cattle, goats and sheep. You'll find very little difference other than price.
Here's a comparison of a mineral supplement intended for deer and a general mineral supplement for cattle, goats and sheep. You'll find very little difference other than price.

Buying Minerals for Deer

We've found, from checking labels, that the general minerals you can buy for cattle, goats, sheep or other livestock have basically the same minerals as deer mixes except that cost is about half. The biggest difference is that salt content is higher in the general minerals. You can change this by adding a bucket of Di-calcium to a 50lb bag. If you use the general minerals there is a lot less mixing. Deer hunters are always looking for bigger racks and this is a great way to increase deer antler size and improve the overall health of your deer herd.

Bucks Quit Using Mineral Beds Once the Velvet Comes Off

You can see that the velvet has started coming off the right side antler. Once this starts we'll no longer get pics of these bucks at the mineral beds, though they will still come to feeders.
You can see that the velvet has started coming off the right side antler. Once this starts we'll no longer get pics of these bucks at the mineral beds, though they will still come to feeders.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, skyaboveus.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://skyaboveus.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)