I can still remember the first time I laid eyes on a white-tailed buck in velvet.
I remember I was riding with my Dad on our ranch, standing up in the front seat, eyes glued to the windshield, intently watching.
Being 6 years old. I loved doing that. But, what I didn’t know was the next curve on that road would change me forever!
The impact mineral sites can have on overall herd health and antler growth are precisely what’s needed for reaching full genetic potential. When combined with herd & habitat management the potential becomes astonishing. (photo credit: Colton Beam)
As we came around the back side of the pond, a young 9-point jumped out right in front of us. He was standing no more than 20 yards from the truck, not a care in the world, as if he knew we were no danger to him. He just stood there.
At that very moment, seeing his horns in full velvet and not understanding why they had fur on them, would spark an infatuation that would change my life.
As odd as it may sound, I never wanted to be a Fireman or Astronaut. I never wanted to play professional Football or Baseball like most kids my age. All I wanted was to do whatever I could involving white-tailed deer.
To say I was captivated from such a young age feels like a major understatement! The riveting fascination that took hold of me that day, thus far, has yielded a lifelong thirst for knowledge.
But enough about me, antler growth is what this is all about!
So, if adding a Mineral site to help increase antler growth in your bucks is what you looking to achieve, let’s talk facts! My goal is to simply shed some light on the benefits of utilizing minerals in antler growth, and more importantly, to explain the complexities of mineral nutrition in deer by putting it in layman’s terms, so everyone can understand.
Minerals, in a deer’s diet, are extremely important to overall health and productivity. First, you should understand there are multiple mineral requirements, some more imperative than others, depending on the situation.
Minerals drastically increase the quality of milk a lactating doe produces in Spring & Summer for fawns.
Some of the required quantities are so small, they don’t require special attention. Nevertheless, when it comes to the most evidential sources, Calcium and Phosphorus are the most important; these two minerals are the main constituent for bone and antler development.
There are also other minerals that serve a vital role, some not as evidential. Nonetheless, their role shouldn’t be disqualified because they aren’t as obvious, as it’s important to know them.
For example, Copper, Zinc, Sodium, Selenium, Iodine, Magnesium and Manganese are such minerals. Each serve important roles, but can become very complex when it comes to how much or how little of each is needed so deficiencies or toxicities don’t occur.
The need and requirement of minerals by deer change season by season, year to year.
Rain, or the lack there of, is a major contributor to the availability of natural resources. A quality habitat provides a nutritional foundation for deer that ensures reproductive success, herd health, support of healthy population numbers, and antler growth.
A diversity of forbs, shrubs, browse and some grasses provide a great food source for your deer. Certain regions can even yield impressive percentages in mineral and crude proteins.
Having well-nourished deer helps them achieve their genetic potential. However, in years of drought or low rain fall, these resources are drastically affected, and that is when a good mineral site becomes a vital resource for your deer.
It’s overwhelming how many mineral mixes are available these days, all claiming astonishing success or promising massive jumps in antler growth. So, how is someone supposed to decide on the right mineral and know they aren’t wasting their money?
Here are a few key points that will help in narrowing down your search for a quality product.
Make sure the list of ingredients on the bag has all the minerals listed above. None of them should be left out! Believe it or not, some on the market don’t even contain Phosphorus, which is key for antler development.
“Attractants and Flavors”– These are an industry gimmick, designed to make you, the consumer, think the product will perform better. Quality ingredients don’t need to be masked with artificial flavors or attractants for deer to want them!
Sodium (salt): While there is no doubt salt is crucial for deer at certain times, it is highly overused. First, if it says “Salt Mineral” or “Salt Mineral Lick” anywhere, walk away! If the percentage is greater than 35%, walk away! Anytime the sodium (salt) is 35% or greater it takes away nutritional value of everything else, including Calcium and Phosphorus.
(I’ll speak further regarding Sodium & attractant/flavors in upcoming blogs)
The “where,” “when,” and “how” of mineral sites is critical to know when getting your mineral sites started.(photo credit: Dwight Korenek, Burnt Oak Ranch)
Getting Your Mineral Sites Started
Where: Normally, having a site every 25-75 acres is key. But, you need to consider your property and the density of your deer herd, first. So, to start out, make it simple, start your sites close to where you know the deer are. The deer will tell you everything you need to know if you pay attention, trail cameras have made this possible, they allow you to not only monitor the activity but the deer’s desire/dependability for the mineral and the site.
When: This varies from state to state, so make sure to check your local game laws. I prefer starting at the end of winter (post-rut) through August. Starting early helps provide a jump on putting body fat back on the bucks Most importantly, does are pregnant and in major need of quality nutrients for not just themselves, but the development of the fetus, which is the future of your deer herd!
How, keep it simple! You don’t have to clear an area, dig down a few inches, and cover it back with dirt after you’ve added the product. While there’s nothing wrong with that method, I just prefer a “simplified” approach.
Mineral site placement doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply clear and pour on the ground.
Depending on the ground cover, I’ll clear a 3-4 foot spot, and then pour the mineral right on the ground. If clearing isn’t needed, that’s even better, you can just pour it right on the ground!
Another option I like that’s simple, is this PVC design. It works great in situations where your able to attach it to a stationary object like a fence post or tree.
This PVC mineral dispenser is attached to a feeder and positioned to touch the ground. The mineral is gravity fed through the PVC and positioned at a slight angle to help the product flow properly. The PVC also helps protect the mineral from weather and allows it to last longer.
Before concluding, I want to get you thinking about something I’ll talk more about in upcoming blogs. For starters, shifting your attention more toward your does and fawns.
Does are responsible for the development of fawns and fawns are the future of your deer herd. So, if you truly want bigger bucks, then you’ll learn the healthier your does are, the better start your fawns will get, which means your future bucks will have a better genetic potential.
I’ll also be discussing bioavailability, absorption, palatability and the importance of other key minerals your deer need in achieving better antler growth and overall health.
Fawns are the future of your herd! When they are provided with a surplus of minerals from day one, their genetic potential becomes greater, resulting in bigger bucks for the future. (photo credit: Colton Beam)
As I stated in the beginning, my primary focus was on the basic understanding of minerals and the role they play in antler growth, so everyone could understand.
With so many blogs and articles out there, mostly written toward a specific product a company is selling, I felt it was important to start this “series” strictly to share knowledge.
I undoubtable am a believer in “knowledge is power” and with the proper knowledge, I hope it helps you can gain the confidence needed to properly manage your deer.
If you’d like help managing your whitetail property, you can reach me at:
As I sat there 20 feet up in that oak tree, trying to figure out what happened, I heard something behind me coming down the same trail. I turned to catch a glimpse of a wide Kansas buck heading my way.
I couldn’t believe this was happening so soon after I had missed the other deer.
This time, I was even more determined to settle my pins and connect on this nice Kansas buck!
As I released the arrow, I watched intently as it found its mark and sent the buck bolting through the woods to certain death.
First thing you need to film your hunts: Video Equipment
Choosing the right equipment is going to be a critical piece of the puzzle for creating quality footage of your hunts. This equipment can be as expensive or as cheap as you would like, depending on what you are after.
Let me just assume that most of us are on a limited budget but would still like pretty good equipment to capture our hunts.
The below list is certainly not all of the things that you could buy for filming your hunts. However, these are all of the things that you should buy for filming your hunts.
These pieces of equipment will help you be able to effectively tell your hunting story verbally and visually.
There are five pieces of video equipment that are critical to getting started filming your hunts… and they won’t break the bank. Read on for specifics of each…
The Canon 6D Mark 2 is a good camera for capturing your primary video while filming your own hunts.
Obviously, you cannot film hunts without a camera, but what camera do you choose? That’s a great question that gets asked often.
First, It is very important that you choose a camera that is “High Definition” and has good low-light capabilities. The high definition will help you have clearer footage and the low light capabilities will help you get a few extra minutes of film time in the morning and the evenings. After all, you never know when you’re going to see something so rare that you’ll wish you had footage of it later on.
An external mic will help you capture sounds from farther away than if just using the mic on the video camera.
Every camera you buy comes with a built-in microphone, and they work decent most of the time. However, they are just not as clear or as sensitive as they need to be when capturing the sounds of the woods.
There’s just something special about being able to hear the leaves crunching under the deer’s feet when you are watching your hunt on TV or on social media. You will hear a lot less of those types of natural sounds without an external microphone.
Another problem with not having an external microphone is when you put distance between the camera man and the hunter. An external microphone will give you a lot more range of distance than your standard camera mic.
It is true, most people will watch bad footage with good audio before they will watch good footage with bad audio. Rode Mics offer a variety of microphones for most cameras.
Trust me when I say, you will want to get an external microphone!
The fluid head, as seen here attached to the tripod, helps you make smooth, controlled camera movements. The remote allows you to operate the camera with one hand, freeing up the other for your bow or gun.
Yeah I know, I thought the same thing when I heard about “fluid heads.”
So, what is a fluid head?
It’s an attachment that fits onto your camera arm that works by hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic fluid head allows you to make smoother movements with your camera. This creates better, higher quality footage for your viewing.
Pro Am has some very good fluid heads at reasonable prices. ($100-$300)
A remote control for your camera is very important, especially if you are self-filming. It enables you to basically do everything with one hand so you can use your other hand to grab you bow or your gun.
Most cameras have remote controls that can be purchased for them. I prefer to use the remote controls that are wired and plug directly into the camera.
Camera remotes are made to attach to your camera arm handle and can be a lifesaver when a deer walks into range. They help you minimize movement while your target animal is close.
Second Thing You Need: PASSION
Getting started videoing your hunts is not as expensive as you might think. There are many affordable options available for you to begin capturing those unforgettable outdoor moments.
Passion is nothing more than a strong desire for something. And, if you are going to film your hunts, you are going to need a strong desire to do so.
I promise you there are going to be moments when you will wake up and you are already late to your stand and taking time to get camera gear to the tree will make you even later.
Then, there will be times when you will forget pieces of equipment and the thought will run across your mind, “I don’t know why I even mess with this junk. I’m not doing this anymore.”
Possibly, even worse than that, you will have a big buck bust you because you were reaching for the camera instead of your bow. It’s during these moments that it will take passion to help you keep going.
To successfully film your hunts, the second thing you need is to have passion in the following three areas…
Passion for hunting: Passion for hunting is probably the most obvious one. You have to love the hunt! Passion for hunting is what is going to keep you in the woods experiencing all of the things that are film-worthy. If the idea of being perched up twenty feet in a tree with a bow in your hand anticipating a big buck coming near gets you excited, then congratulations, you have a passion for the hunt!
Passion for telling the story: I had a man tell me once, “You tell stories really good.” That’s because I have a passion about telling stories. When I tell a story, I want people to feel what I was feeling, hear what I was hearing and see what I was seeing. Being able to take your camera and video everything that you are experiencing in the woods is being able to tell your story. It gives the viewer an opportunity to see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel what you felt. You will need a passion for that in order to overcome the difficulties that come along with filming.
Passion for new challenges: It is an understatement to say that filming your hunts is a challenge. It is actually beyond a challenge to be able to put it all together and film a successful hunt, but it sure is fun trying. One of the hard parts is learning all of the new things that make you better at filming your hunts. Anything from positioning your camera to learning how to edit your videos. Each one of these things can provide its own set of challenges, so you will need to be excited about learning new things. If you have a passion for new challenges then you are going to love filming your hunts.
There are so many more things that can be written on the subject of filming hunts.
The further you dive into the process more questions will come about camera equipment, editing, producing episodes for social media, etc. However, if there was one more piece of advice I could give you on this subject, it would be to remind you to have fun.
The camera is just a great way to share the memories of the love of the hunt, it is never meant to replace the love of the hunt. Sometimes the pressure of trying to get it all to work out on film can rob you of the fun of the sport of hunting.
Make up your mind before you begin the journey that you will always love the hunt more than you love the camera.
Check out the FIVE archery video tips below to get valuable information on how you can be sure you have an arrow that’s “Just Pass’N Through!”
Bow Hunting Tips: #1 – Bow Maintenance | Avoid Freak Accidents Like This One…
When you see this freak archery accident, you’ll want to learn what you can do to help prevent the possibility of it ever happening to you.
Bow hunting is more than just flinging arrows. bow maintenance checks in the off-season, as well as before your hunt, are an extremely important part of being sure you are able to bow hunt safely and avoiding injury.
In the first of our bow hunting tips, we’ve got details on how to do preventative bow maintenance, so you can avoid unnecessary accidents like this one when shooting your bow…
If you watched the above video, you’ll understand why bow maintenance is an important part of bow hunting.
Some of you are shooting your bow year round, but some of you put it into storage during the off season and because the temperatures can change in those environments, it’s very important to check bowstrings cables as well as your limbs before shooting.
Here are some things you should check before you shoot your bow:
Be sure before every shoot that you check your strings and your cables for any signs of wear or fraying. Anything like that can be a potential for a broken string or cable during a hunt just like in the video above.
Be sure you check your limbs very carefully. You want to be sure there’s no signs of splintering, bubbling, or cracking. Extreme temperatures and sometimes even storage can cause limbs to weaken. And, you don’t want to have one of those limbs be damaged or break during a shoot.
Be sure all your screws and any bolts are tightened properly, so that you don’t have any of your accessories loose during a shoot.
Check your cams. Be sure you don’t have any nics or cuts that would affect your string in any way, whether it be to cause a fraying or a cutting of the string, or else damage to a cam, where your string may actually even come off the track.
Be sure your rest is aligned properly.
Check cam rotation and be sure the cams are not warped and that they both reach letoff at the same exact time.
Tip #4 – Hunting Stances Can Make Or Break A Bow Hunt [So, Know Them All!]
In the below N1 Minute archery tips video, learn about various stances that can help you in all types of bow hunting scenarios.
For those of you who have bow hunted any amount of time, you know that some things can happen during a hunt that simple target practice can’t prepare you for. The video above will show you some archery tips to help you be best prepared when your moment of truth comes.
Here’s a simple tip to keep those muscles active after hunting season and all it takes is a simple exercise band.
So many hunters put away their bows, after the fall, through winter, until turkey season. With, one of these exercise bands, you can practice your draw cycle throughout the winter and make that first draw in the spring a little easier.
Simply grasp one end of the band with your front hand and with your drawing hand, pull the band back to your anchor point. Repeat this ten to fifteen times and then switch hands. This will work both your back and shoulders. A few sets of this draw cycle exercise a day, and you’ll be ready to hit the mark on your next 3D shoot or Spring turkey hunt.
Tip #6: Guessing Is Gambling [Scout Instead!]
Everyone has things going on in life. Whether it’s work, family or other obligations, sometimes it’s hard to make time to scout. Then, before you know it, deer season sneaks up on you and you find yourself scrambling to grab your bowhunting gear and get in a tree or blind.
Or, maybe you’re just tempted to get in the same stand you always hunt and hope for the best.
Sure, there’s always a story of this happening… but the reality is you need to put in the work before the season ever starts to increase your chances of taking a deer or other game.
Don’t gamble when you bowhunt. Scout prior to the hunt so you can put yourself in a position to be successful.
Basic trailcams have become much less expensive in recent years, so save your pennies and get a couple of these helpful scouting tools and place them overlooking scrapes or on know travel corridors to and from bedding and food sources. Y
Trail cam pictures can you give you insight into deer patterns and how they coincide to time of day, time of year, weather and food/water source availability. This will help you make decisions on where to hang that deer stand or blind.
As discussed in our earlier tips, having properly functioning equipment and being proficient with it is critical. However, it can all be for nothing if you don’t practice scent control.
You will be hunting deer and other animals on their home turf. They have the upper hand and their noses are a big reason why. Not only are they at an advantage – but you’re bowhunting – so, you need to be able to get much closer to the animal than you would if you were rifle hunting.
So, the bottom line is that you need to smell as little like – well, YOU – as possible!
Don’t give a deer’s nose a reason to tell it to run away. Make every effort to be as scent-free as possible.
There are plenty of scent-free and scent-control soaps and detergents available at your local sporting goods store. You can also wash your clothes in baking soda. Then, store your clothes in a scent free bag or container.
On the day of your hunt, avoid coming in contact with any scent that would smell unnatural to a deer’s nose. Yes, that means you might need to skip the steaming hot sausage biscuit run or the pre-hunt cigarette before the hunt.
Tip #8: Entry And Exit Routes [They Can Make Or Break Your Hunt]
When you’re bowhunting, it’s easy sometimes to get focused on where you’re going to hunt.
But, you need to spend just as much time planning how you’re going to get to that magic hunting location that will put you in the best spot for a harvest. But, you need to spend just as much time planning how you’re going to get to and from that magic spot also.
So, if the deer or other game see, smell or hear “danger” as it goes to and/or from the magic hunting spot, they aren’t going to stick around and stand quartering away for you to put an arrow through the boiler room.
So, how can you avoid being busted on your way to and from your hunting location?
First of all, as we’ve already covered, you must do everything you can to be scent free and you must always pay attention to the wind direction. You don’t want your scent blown to where you expect the deer to be on your way in.
The same goes for exiting your hunting location. If deer bust you leaving your hunting location, they will associate that location with potential danger and you may not get another chance at them there.
So, be sure to plan your entry and exit routes so that you stay downwind of the where you know the deer or game to be. This can greatly increase your odds of slipping in and out as undetected as possible.
Taking an ethical shot is such an important part of bowhunting. Take a shot that gives you the best chance at a quick and clean kill.
This isn’t always easy when bowhunting. So, that’s why it’s so important to have followed the pre-hunt bowhunting tips in #1-5 that we covered, so that when the moment of truth comes, you know you are ready.
You don’t want the animal to suffer and you also want to be sure you are shooting at the deer or game so that you can have as quick and humane kill as possible.
We couldn’t leave out number 10, could we. After all, you’ve put in the work getting proficient with your bow and you’ve worked hard to get yourself in position to successfully take an animal. So, when you finally do it, you’ve got to celebrate the moment!
And, there’s no better way to do that than with family and friends.
Celebrate! It’s one of the best bowhunting tips we can give you…
That’s why we say here at N1 Outdoors: Where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there!
Happy hunting… we hope you have found our bow hunting tips to be useful in your quest to become better at your craft.