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N1 Outdoors is an outdoors company and outdoor apparel brand providing hunting and fishing tips via our blog and instructional videos. N1 shares bow hunting, fishing and other helpful information for those who hunt and fish and enjoy the outdoors. "Hunting, Fishing, The Outdoors... All N1"
deer mineral recipe pic

Grow Bigger Bucks | How To Make Your Own Deer Mineral Lick

Who doesn’t want to see bigger bucks during deer season? Do you wish you could see greater antler growth in your deer herd, but just aren’t sure what to do to make it happen?

There are countless mineral supplements for sale these days… mineral blocks, mineral rocks and minerals in powder form. But you don’t have to go buy minerals with fancy labels and pictures of big antlers on the packaging. You can make your own deer minerals and we’ll show you how!

We want to help you learn how to make your own deer mineral recipe, so that you can not only make a product that will help you have a healthier deer herd, but be able to do it without breaking the bank.

N1 Outdoors – How To Make Your Own Deer Mineral Recipe:

  1. Trace Minerals

    2 parts trace minerals.

  2. Mixing Salts

    Mix the above with 1 part mixing saltsdeer mineral mixture

  3. Dried Molasses

    Mix the above with 1 part dried molasses.

  4. Dicalcium Phosphate

    Mix the above with 1 part dicalcium phosphate.

  5. Make your mineral site

    Now you’re ready to spread out your homemade deer minerals and create your mineral site. Be sure to put out a trail cam if you have one, so you can get photos of what is visiting your mineral site and monitor the antler growth progress!

WANT TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN DEER MINERAL RECIPE? SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO!

Minerals: A Recipe For Deer Success

Of course, larger antler size gets most hunters giddy. But bucks aren’t the only ones that need mineral supplements. Does need it just as much.

When the does are pregnant, start to produce milk and lactate for the fawns that will be born, they need extra calcium. This will help with lactation, but it also is essential for a healthy bone structure of the fawn that is growing in the womb. 

Kentucky Buck John Workman Picture
Minerals play an important role in whitetail antler size as well as the overall health of your deer herd, both male and female.

Bucks also need the extra calcium boost, as they will use around 40 percent of the calcium in their own bone structure to grow antlers.

The antler growth process happens every year and calcium plays a huge part.

This means that a buck needs not only a good food supply during the antler growing process, but it also needs calcium during the growth process in the mother’s womb. A healthy bone structure will contribute to greater antler growth later in the deer’s life.

Consistent, healthy antler growth requires consistent nutrition… Keep reading to find out more about how to get started making your own deer mineral lick and why it’s so important!

Diligence Is Key

Supplementing your deer herd with the proper nutrition and minerals needed to promote good antler growth is not something you can do just once. So, if you’re hoping to just visit your local outdoors store, buy a mineral block, put it out and hope to see and kill big deer, you may want to temper those expectations.

If you want a deer herd that consistently produces bucks with good antler size, you have to be consistent yourself as well.

Start making your own deer mineral supplements today and do so every year, so that you can reap the benefits for years to come.

You’ll find in the video below, that all the ingredients you will need to begin making your own deer mineral sites can be found at your local farm or feed store.

We hope you enjoy learning how to create your own minerals for your deer herd! (Note: Be sure to check and follow your state’s laws on use of attractants and supplements on private as well as public hunting land.

The N1 Outdoors N1 Minute: How To Make Your Own Deer Mineral Licks

In this edition of the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute, learn how to make your own mineral licks for deer. We show you a simple deer mineral recipe that you can make. We also give you some tips on where to place it. If you want to improve the overall health of your deer herd, then this is one of our must-see hunting videos. We give you the deer mineral recipe for whitetail success!

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Deer Mineral Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 parts trace minerals
  • 1 part mixing salt
  • 1 part dried molasses
  • 1 part dicalcium phosphate

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(How To Make Your Own Deer Mineral Licks video transcript)

Want to learn how to make your own mineral licks for your deer herd? We’ll show you how. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.

Today we hear from N1 Outdoors co-founder, Josh Wells, who gives us a recipe for success in having a healthy deer herd.

Hey, Josh Wells here with the N1 Outdoors N1 tip. We’re gonna make mineral licks today and what we’ve got here that we’re using for the minerals is trace minerals… we are putting two parts trace minerals, one part mixing salt, one part dried molasses and one part dicalcium phosphate.

Why the mineral nutrition is important for deer

What this is going to do for our herd is give the does that are now impregnated, more or less a prenatal vitamin. It’s going to give them what will be equivalent to our multi-vitamins. As the bucks are shedding their horns, they’re automatically starting to grow them back right now. It’s going to help increase their potential of growing big horns.

Where to put the mineral lick

There is a major trail on this side and a major trail on that side of this mineral lick. Now, you don’t want to necessarily put it in the middle of a trail. Put it close to nearby trails and they will find it. They’re not going to eat this like they would a feed or a protein feed or corn. They will come and use this as their body craves the mineral.

As you can see, just last night, there are some tracks in this mineral. So, they have already found it. That is because of the dried molasses.

The dried molasses has a strong, sweet, cane smell, and that is why they’ve already found this. We will check back on this in about two months and see how it’s going, and my supplement this mineral with some more material.

Thanks again for joining us for this edition of the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute. Be sure to visit N1outdoors.com, where you can read all about unforgettable moments outdoors. Also, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We hope you have a great week, and remember, “where the moment happen, we’ll meet you there.” We’ll see you next time.

black crappie flyrod picture

Black Crappie And White Crappie | Know The Difference

Whether you are a master at crappie fishing or just catch the occasional white or black crappie, they are exciting fish to catch as well as to eat.

But have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between the different species of crappie?

There are seven different species of crappie:

table full of black crappie
Crappie are considered by many as one of the tastiest fresh water fish. But, how do you tell white crappie from black crappie?
  • Triploid (Magnolia) crappie
  • Gold crappie
  • Stock hybrid crappie
  • Natural hybrid crappie
  • Black-nosed crappie
  • White crappie
  • Black crappie

The two types of crappie we will focus on in this article are black crappie and white crappie.

Basic Crappie Info

Before we explore the differences between white and black crappie, let’s take a look at some basic information about crappie.

Crappie are freshwater fish and are part of the sunfish family. They can be found in various waters in the US and Canada.

Crappie have a sustainable population due to the equilibrium that exists between their reproduction rate and the rate at which they are harvested each year.

Crappies love to eat smaller fish that exist in their habitat. When fishing for crappie, you can use a wide variety of baits, including minnows and jigs.

Although crappies can be found in smaller schools by anglers, they are typically known to move in large schools. 

Black and white crappie are similar in many ways, but there are some key differences that will help you differentiate between the two species.

Black Crappie

Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) are found in fresh waters, mostly in North America. They are typically found in bodies of water with very low current, where they hide under timber, thick weeds and other vegetation. When fully grown, it’s not uncommon for black crappie reach weights of two pounds. 

Here are some other interesting black crappies specs:

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Black crappie have a distinguishing darker pattern than white crappie.

Black Crappie Size

Black crappies that are caught will typically measure in length from 4 to 10 inches, but can get much larger. The current record for the longest black crappie is just over 19 inches. an be anywhere from about five inches to over 19 inches. 

Weight

Black crappies typically weigh ¼ lb to about ½ lb but they are also known to reach up to 4 lbs.

Food

Black crappies are known to feed in the early hours of the morning. They also feed during the midnight till about 2 am. They often feed on insects and crustaceans and larger black crappie will feed on other fish such as minnows and shad. 

Reproduction

Black crappies are renowned for their fast reproduction rates. Therefore, after each spawning season, black crappie population increases significantly in lakes and small ponds.

Female black crappie are known to produce at least 11,000 eggs and can produce in excess of 180,000 eggs. As soon is spawning is over, the male black crappies secure the nest for about two to three days until they hatch.

Habitat

Black crappies live in lakes, water reservoirs, and large rivers. They love to reside in low-velocity areas with clean water and love to have an abundant cover like vegetation. They also love sand bottoms which are located in freshwater bodies.

Life Expectancy

Black crappie mature at an age of two to four years, but the typical life span lasts about seven years. 

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White Crappie

Like the black crappie, white crappie (pomoxis annularis) are typically found in various freshwater bodies in North America. White crappie are also similar to the black crappie in terms of weight but tend to be slightly longer than black crappie. White crappie tend to be found in large schools and often hide under rocks or in areas of heavy vegetation. 

White crappies are known to attain maturity within 24 months and some reports reveal that they can survive for about six years on the average.

Here are some white crappie specs that might interest you:

white crappie picture
White crappie have a lighter color than the black crappie.

White Crappie Size

Mature white crappies typically measure in length from 9 to 15 inches. 

Weight

White crappies basically weigh ¼ lb to about ½ lb, however, according to the IGFA, the all-tackle world record white crappie is 5 lbs. 3 oz. 

Food

Juvenile white crappie feed on zooplankton and insects, but once they mature, will often feed on smaller fish, such as minnows, as well as crayfish.  

Reproduction

Spawning for white crappies occurs in the months of May and June at a water temperature of 56°F. Female white crappies can produce from around 5,000 eggs to over 90,000. Male crappies keep the nest secure by guarding it. 

Life expectancy

White crappie can live for up to nine years.

Habitat

You will mostly find white crappies in large rivers, water reservoirs, and lakes. White crappies have a very high tolerance for murky waters and can be spotted in areas which have low velocity like pools and also river backwaters. During the morning hours and in the evenings, white crappies are usually located in the open water. However, during the day, white crappies prefer to stay in waters that are quieter, shallower, with surrounding structure.

Black Crappie Vs. White Crappie (The Differences)

Now that we’ve covered some basics about both black and white crappie, let’s look at some ways that they differ.

white crappie dorsal fin spines
White crappie have 5-6 spines on the dorsal fin, whereas black crappie have 7-8.

Coloration:

Coloration is the most obvious difference between black and white crappie. Black crappie have a darker look while the white crappie appear lighter in color and this is the reason why they have those names. However, while many think that the “white” and “black” refer only to their appearance, it more specifically refers to the markings of each fish. 

Body Markings Of White Crappie And Black Crappie

The body markings on white crappie and black crappie differ. White crappie have vertical “bars” and have brighter stripes running directly from their upper body down to their lower body. However, black crappie have much darker body markings that do not adopt a precise pattern on its sides. The black crappie’s black markings appear to be more random, or speckled.

Length

What seems like a difference in length between black and white crappie is often more about shape. Black crappie typically have a more compact, rounder and flatter body while white crappie are more elongated. 

Dorsal Fins

The dorsal fins are a major determining factor. If you look closely, a white crappie typically have 5-6 spines on their dorsal fin, while a black crappie will have 7-8. 

Fin Position

The position of the dorsal fins from the head of white crappies is somewhat farther away, while in the black crappies, the dorsal fins are positioned nearer to the head of the fish.

crappie with damaged dorsal fin
Crappie themselves are predators, but they are also preyed upon. This picture shows a black crappie with what was probably an attempt by a blue heron or eagle to snatch it out of the water.

Habitat Preferences

Many experienced crappie anglers will say that there is a higher possibility of finding white crappies hidden in bodies of water that contain a large number of rocks or thick vegetation, while black crappies seem to prefer clearer water containing sand beds.

Mouth Structure

White crappie have a larger mouth than black crappie. Another difference in mouth structure is that the mouths of black crappie turn more upward than white crappie.

In Conclusion:

While any kind of crappie is both fun to catch and also delicious, we hope this article has provided you with some helpful information on how to tell the difference between them. Whether your crappie fishing adventures find you chasing white crappie or black crappie, we hope you get to put a hook N1 and have a “crappie” day!

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The Anatomy Of A Fish

It’s hard to beat the feeling (and the smiles that follow) when you put a hook N1. After all, who doesn’t love catching fish? But, when it comes to fish anatomy, they are as equally fascinating as they are to catch.

There are thousands of fish species all over the world. Fish are cold-blooded animals, which means that in most cases, their body temperature can change to mirror the temperature of the water they live in.  

A Fish’s anatomy can be divided into external and internal. Let’s start by examining the external anatomy of a fish.

External Fish Anatomy

The external anatomy of a fish includes the fins, scales, gills, eyes, nares, mouth, lateral lines and vents. Let’s take a look at each.

external fish anatomy diagram
External fish anatomy (smallmouth bass)

Fins

The fins of a fish are appendages used to move, steer, stop or position. The fins also give the fish balance in the water. The fins could be single fins (such as the anal fin, the back or dorsal fin, and the caudal or tail fin) or paired fins (they include pelvic or hip fins and pectoral or chest fins) along the centerline of the fish.

Certain fish, such as the catfish, have an adipose fin which is behind the dorsal fin. The purpose of the anal fin and dorsal fin is to help the fish conveniently roll over to their sides.

The caudal fin, on the other hand, allows for propulsion as the fish moves forward. Lastly, the paired fins allow the fish to steer, stop, and hover around.

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A lot of freshwater fish have spines that support their fins. These rigid spines can be very sharp, thus playing a defensive role in protecting the fish from danger. The catfish, for example, has sharp fins in the dorsal and pectoral area and anglers should be aware and careful when handling these fish.

In some species, the number of spines in the dorsal fin actually helps differentiate between two species, as is the case with white crappie and black crappie

Dorsal fins and caudal fins, on the other hand, have rays which are frequently branched and are less rigid.

Scales

Most bony fish have scales that are either cycloid or ctenoid, except for a few such as the catfish, which doesn’t have a scale, or the gar which possesses ganoid scales.

Cycloid scales have edges which are smooth and rounded while ctenoid scales have edges which are jagged.

To prevent infection, most of the fish have a mucus layer which covers the body. It is important that anglers who intend to return a fish to the water, be very careful with the way they handle the fish, so they don’t mistakenly rub off this mucus layer from the fish. Wetting your hands before handling the fish can help reduce the likelihood of damage to the mucous layer.

Lateral Line

fish lateral line
The lateral lines of a fish serve to help them sense other fish… predators as well as prey.

The lateral line in the fish is a group of organs that helps the fish sense the pressure of currents and movement in the water. It consists of a “line” of sacs filled with fluids. These sacs have sensory apparatus which open to the water by means of pores which creates a line along the side of the fish. The lateral line helps the fish sense other fish as well as prey.

The lateral line of a fish

Gills

Fish gills are very delicate and sensitive structures that allow fishes to breathe while they are underwater. The fish gills have a bright, red color because they are highly vascularized. The gills are protected by a gill cover (operculum) which is a flexible, bony plate. To breathe, the fish takes in water through the mouth, which passes through the gills and is removed from beneath the operculum. 

Eyes

Fish have well-developed eyes to detect varying colors. While mammals achieve focus by the changing shape of the eye lens, fish achieve focus in the water by the in-and-out movement of the lens.

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Nares

The nares are a pair of nostrils which the fish uses to detect odors in the water. These nares are very sensitive. Fish like catfish and eels have a sense of smell that is well developed. Fish that live in water that is dark or murky, tend to rely on smell more heavily than fish in clearer aquatic habitat. Fish can also use their sense of smell to detect chemicals in the water, which may indicate predators or even help a fish to locate a mate.

Mouth

The shape of a fish’s mouth can dictate the kind of food the fish eats. For example a fish with a larger mouth will tend to have larger prey.

Fish have a good sense of taste, and in some cases, they can taste their prey even before they swallow it. Some fish are omnivores, like many freshwater fish in Florida. Other fish are mainly piscivorous, which means they feed mainly on other fish.

There are also some fish, such as grass carp, that are herbivores, eating plant life. Depending on the species of fish, some may have teeth while others don’t. Some fish, such as the gar or chain pickerel, have canine-shaped teeth. Others, however, like the catfish have cardiform teeth, which feel like a rough area in the mouth.

Some have vomerine teeth, which are like tiny patches of teeth in the roof of the fish’s mouth. Others, such as the grass carp have pharyngeal teeth which are located in the throat.

The anatomy of a fish’s mouth can affect what type of hook to tie in fishing for particular species of fish.

Vent

In most fishes, the vent is in front of the anal fin. The vents are external openings which open to the reproductive and digestive tracts of the fish.

Internal Fish Anatomy

Internal fish anatomy consists of the spine, spinal cord, brain, swim bladder, kidney, stomach and intestines, vent, liver, heart, gonads, muscles and pyloric caeca. Let’s take a look at each below.

Spine

fish skeleton
The fish skeleton is the framework for the entire fish.

The spine serves as the primary structural framework of the fish. The fish anatomy as a whole is built upon the spine. The spine also connects to the tail of the fish at the rear and the skull of the fish at the front. Numerous hollow vertebra helps to house and protect the spine of the fish.

The skeleton of the fish can be made of either bones or cartilages.

Spinal Cord

The spinal cord of the fish is connected to the brain of the fish as well as to the rest of the fish’s body. It carries sensory information from the body to the brain and also relays instructions from the brain to the rest of the body.

Brain

It is in the brain that sensory information is processed. This is the center of control in a fish. In the brain, automatic functions such as respiration as well as other behaviors are controlled.

Swim Or Air Bladder

The swim bladder is a hollow organ which the fish uses to conserve energy. The swim bladder functions much like a human lung. The fish draws oxygen into the bladder that has been drawn from the water by way of the fish’s gills. The more oxygen the sac holds, the more buoyant the fish becomes.

Conversely, when the bladder releases oxygen, the fish becomes less buoyant, which allows it to sink to deeper water.

The fish can use the swim bladder to to suspend itself in the water, thus saving energy.

Because of atmospheric pressure difference between the water surface and deep water, fish which were caught from deep waters will need to have some air released from their body before they can return to the deep water.

Some species of fishes, however, do not have swim bladders and because of this, they can sink if they stop swimming.

Kidney

The kidney is a part of the fish anatomy that aids a fish in discharging waste from the body. Waste materials in the blood are filtered by the kidney and then removed from the body. The kidneys also help to regulate the concentration of water and salt in the body of the fish. 

Stomach And Intestines

The stomach and intestines of a fish play an important part in the fish’s survival. They help to break down ingested food and to absorb the nutrients. Some fish have short intestines because the food they take is easy to digest. Other fish, such as the herbivores, have longer intestines that help them break down the food they eat.

Pyloric Caeca

The pylori caecum is situated at the junction of the intestine and stomach. It has finger-like projections. Although the function of this organ is not completely understood, the organ has been known to secrete enzymes that help in digestion.

Vent

The vent is the site where waste is excreted from the body of the fish. During spawning, the vent serves as an outlet for eggs and sperm.

Muscles

fish muscle filet photo
Teh fish muscles are the powerful force behind a fish’s ability to swim quickly… and also what make them a tasty meal.

The muscles of the fish help the fish to move in the water. The fillet of the fish, which is generally the part of the fish that is eaten, is comprised primarily of muscle. Anyone who has ever caught a fish and had it flip out of your hand has experienced how powerful a fish’s muscles can be.

Liver

The liver is another important organ with various functions. The liver supports digestion by means of secreted enzymes which break down fats. It also helps to store carbohydrates and fats in the body of the fish. Old blood cells are destroyed by the liver to maintain the blood chemistry of the fish and the liver also helps in the excretion of nitrogen or waste.

Heart

The heart of the fish helps in blood circulation. Through the blood, various cells and organs of the fish receive digested nutrients and oxygen. Waste products are also transported by the blood to organs such as the kidney and liver for removal. This function is made possible by the heart.

Gonads

The gonads are the reproductive organs of the fish. They produce sex cells in the fish. Female fish produce eggs by means of paired ovaries while male fish produce sperm by means of paired testes. The gonads of the fish are located in the same general location. The eggs of some fish are considered a delicacy in certain parts of the world.

Conclusion

Whether you eat the fish you catch or practice catch and release, we hope you have learned a lot from this article about fish anatomy. And, of course, we hope you put a hook N1! You can also view fishing tips videos and read our articles on all types of fishing topics.

And, if you love reading about anatomy of wild game, be sure to check out our article on deer anatomy

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