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?

hand holding antlers

Supplement the deer on your property with the proper nutrition and minerals to maximize antler growth!

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!

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!

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.


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Time needed: 10 minutes.

N1 Outdoors – How To Make Your Own Deer Mineral Recipe (and what ingredients you’ll need):

  1. Trace Minerals

    2 parts trace minerals.

  2. Mixing Salts

    deer mineral mixture
    Mix the trace minerals above with 1 part mixing salts

  3. Dried Molasses

    Mix the above ingredients with 1 part dried molasses.

  4. Dicalcium Phosphate

    Mix the ingredients 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 HOMEMADE DEER MINERAL RECIPE? SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO!

Homemade 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. 

maston boyd with whitetail buck

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.

Proper supplementation can also help give deer better resistance to devastating diseases like EHD and CWD.




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 Video: 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!

>> Join the N1 Outdoors Mailing List for news on all the latest products! <<

DIY 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.


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Dicalcium Phosphate for Deer (And some molasses!)

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 (It’s not just about big antlers)

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 deer 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.




Conclusion

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.

fruit of a chesnut tree

Deer Food | Building Better Mast Orchards For Your Herd

-by Bob Humphrey

People interested in managing their land for wildlife are continually seeking better and more efficient ways to improve the habitat so it can support more and healthier animals, particularly deer.

As is so often the case, nature has already figured out the best ways – sometimes it just takes us a while to recognize them.

Let me give you an example.

Hardwoods: Then And Now

Deer hunters head to the woods for many reasons, not the least of which is escape. And most of us, at one time or another, have lamented that perhaps we were born a century or two too late.

As we slip through the local woodlot, which is little more than a vestige of days gone by, we wonder what it must have been like before men and metal changed the landscape.

historic american chesnut with settler

The American chestnut, prior to the blight that nearly wiped them out.

The first Europeans that set foot in the New World, and those that followed for several centuries found a forest that, rather than being patchily distributed on the landscape, stretched on unending for miles.

Canopy openings that allowed sunlight to reach the forest floor nurturing small glades were sparse, and usually caused by natural events.



The understory beneath ancient towering hardwoods was much more open as less sunlight could reach the forest floor during growing season.

But, the biggest difference might well be what covered the ground after the growing season ceased.

Rather than the carpet of acorns we’re now accustomed to seeing in the fall, the forest floor of 120 years ago would have been littered with green pods that more resemble some spiny sea creature or alien spawn than the fruit of a plant. Inside each, one would find several chocolate-hued nuts.


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Chestnut Trees – King of the Forest

Prior to the turn of the previous century, and for millennia before, American chestnuts (Castanea dentata) dominated the eastern hardwood forests of North America. They could grow as tall as a 12 story building and as wider than two men could reach around.

The nuts they dropped in voluminous quantities were a vital food source for countless wildlife species, and later for humans, who could shovel up bushel baskets full of them in short order.



But, in roughly 30 years, the American chestnuts were wiped out by a blight.

Oaks ultimately filled the empty ecological niche once occupied by chestnuts, dominating the overstory and providing an abundant source of hard mast.

A 20-year-old chestnut can produce as much as 20 pounds of mast per year. On a per acre basis, that’s as many carbohydrates as corn, but without all the labor and expense of replanting every year.

Research has even shown that whitetails prefer acorns over just about any other widely occurring natural food.

The deer don’t know the difference, but as you’ll soon learn, this stand-in source of mast doesn’t quite stand up to their forerunners.

Fortunately, like healthy seedlings of the once mighty chestnut, hope springs eternal.



Back to the Future

In the early 1950s, James Carpentar discovered, in the state of Ohio, an American chesnut that appeared to be resistant to blight. It was large and very healthy.

So, Carpentar budwood from that tree to a well-known plant breeder in the state of North Carolina named Dr. Robert T. Dunstan. Dr. Dunstan began grafting, and later cross-pollinating, American grafts with a mixture USDA-released Chinese chestnuts.

Are acorns really a whitetail deer’s favorite? Keep reading!

After selecting individuals with the best hybrid characteristics, Dr. Dunstan crossed them back to both the American and Chinese parent trees, creating the Dunstan chestnut, a breed with the optimal combination of blight resistance and production of large, high quality nuts.



Today, Dr. Dunstan’s great grandson, Iain Wallace grows Dunstan chestnuts as well as a variety of other mast trees and shrubs at the family’s Chestnut Hill Orchards in Alachua, Florida.

The business started largely as a commercial chestnut orchard.

“Until fairly recently, most of the millions of dollars worth of chestnuts sold each year were imported because there were no commercial orchards in the U.S.,” said Iain’s father, Robert Wallace.



And like any start-up, they encountered their share of obstacles.

“We had deer in our orchard every night during harvest season,” he said.

He further elaborated that one of his biggest problems for commercial orchardists is deer eating the nuts before they can be collected. However, the elder Wallace quickly recognized it not as a problem, but an opportunity.

With help from friends in the outdoor industry, Chestnut Hill Orchards formed Chestnut Hill Outdoors as a subsidiary to market and sell trees to people interested in planting them to attract and feed wildlife.

a chesnut compared to an acorn

When compared side-by-side, the nutritional value of the chestnut dwarfs the acorn.


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The Chestnut… A Better Nut

Trying to compete with the mighty oak might seem a particularly risky business venture, until you learn about the chestnut’s nutritional superiority.

Chestnuts contain 4 times the amount of carbohydrates that a white oak acorn possesses. And, it has 2.5 times the amount of protein while only having a fraction of the fat found in acorns.

Chestnuts also have less tannins, making them a much sweeter, and thus more palatable (no-one ever wrote songs about acorns roasting on an open fire).



And though chestnuts have not been present on the land for more than 100 years, the ability to instantly recognize their nutritional superiority and palatability is still permanently encoded into the deer’s DNA.

They know a good thing when they smell, and taste it.

There are other advantages chestnuts hold over other mast trees that might be of particular interest to those looking to plant wildlife mast orchards.



Chestnut trees grow faster and bigger, sometimes bearing mast in as little as two to five years. A white oak, by comparison, might not bear acorns for 20 year.

Eventually, chestnuts can grow a dozen stories tall, becoming prolific producers of the caloric carbs wildlife like deer are so dependent on for their winter survival.

They also lack the bumper crop and bust that tend to be more common with oak trees. Chestnuts bloom later in the Spring as well, which makes them much less susceptible to severe mast crop failures that can be caused by late freezes.



Why Plant Trees For Deer?

Before we go further we should probably back up momentarily as some readers are probably wondering why you would plant trees instead of just building food plots like everybody else.

Regardless of what you plant, your goal should be not just to attract animals like deer during a particular part of the year (hunting season), but to hold them there as close to year-round as possible.

Why?



Because the more time they spend on your property, the more comfortable and habituated they become. And the best way to do that is by providing the optimal year-round habitat, the components of which include food, cover and water.



Building and maintaining food plots with annual or perennial herbaceous crops is a very popular way to increase available nutrition for wildlife, but can result in nutritional gaps during certain parts of the year. It can also be costly and labor intensive, particularly with annual crops that must be planted every year.

whitetail buck under chestnut tree

Mast orchards, like chestnut trees, help provide year-round nutrition for the herd and produce year-after year.

Your property will be far more attractive to, and beneficial for wildlife if you can strive to keep fresh food sources available for as long as possible throughout the year.


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Mast orchards represent an alternative or complement to your food plots, and after the initial investment and establishment, will provide increasingly more food indefinitely, and with a great deal less cost and effort compared to food plots or even feeders.

They also provide a means for landowners to fill potential nutritional gaps, ensuring there is plenty of the right food throughout the year.



The Chestnut’s Place On The Hard Mast Team

As previously noted, chestnuts offer several advantages over other hard mast sources by growing faster and larger, bearing fruit at a younger age and providing a more nutritious nut.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plant other species, like varieties of red and white oak. Variety is the spice of wildlife, and the more you provide in the way of food, the more attractive and productive your land will be. But don’t stop there.



All too often, landowner’s focus on fall foods and forget about the rest of the year.

As previously alluded to, the more deer and other species are present on your property in the spring, summer and winter, the more likely they’ll be there in the fall.

Visitors become residents as feeding areas become home ranges, and home ranges become core areas. And it shouldn’t be just about deer either.



Provide Well-Rounded Nutrition

You can further fill the void with species like grapes, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, at the same time attracting a broader spectrum of upland game and game bird species, not to mention non-game animals.

Again, you improve the habit quality over a wider time span by providing greater variety of soft and hard mast plant species, particularly those that help fill gaps in the nutritional calendar.



For example, plums provide fruit as early as May and June in southern regions, and a little later further north.

Pears, which ripen from mid to late July through August, depending on variety and location, can fill the next gap as herbaceous plants mature and lose palatability but hard mast has yet to fall.

Which Trees Should You Plant?

Next on the nutritional calendar come things like apples and persimmons, the latter of which come in early-drop and late-drop varieties and are an incredibly powerful deer attractant, particularly during ear to mid-autumn archery seasons.

By then, hard mast should start dropping and, if you’ve planted enough variety, will continue providing fall attractant and winter survival food at least through the end of the calendar year, and quite possibly through the winter.

persimmon fruit

Planting soft mast species like persimmons widens the window of attractiveness your property provides for wildlife. Persimmons are a prized treat for whitetail deer. (photo: Bob Humphrey)

Now that you have an idea of the types of mast-producers you’d like to plant, you need to select a variety of species from each group.

Chestnut Hill Outdoors offers an array of both soft and hard mast producers in several different size containers.

Furthermore, they will help you select the optimal varieties for your specific site conditions, including landscape level variables like plant hardiness zones and regional climate as well as local variables like slope, aspect and soil type and moisture regimes.


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And, they don’t stop there. In order to ensure you receive the maximum benefit from their products, the Chestnut Hill Outdoors staff also provide sound advice and instruction on proper site selection, planting and care.

They even continue seeking more effective and efficient ways to get products to their customers.

Planting larger, and thus older trees helps shorten the waiting period until your mast orchards produce fruit, but large trees can be expensive to ship.

That’s why Chestnut Hill Outdoors teamed up with Walmart to provide a more convenient and economical distribution hub for larger trees.



They now ship Dunstan Chestnuts and other mast orchard species to Walmart retail locations across the eastern U.S. And they are scheduled to arrive at the optimal time for planting in different regions.

When it comes to planting mast orchards for wildlife, about the only down side is that it will take a few years before you begin realizing the benefits of your investment.

The upside is that with little or no additional input from you, your initial investment will continue paying benefits indefinitely.

Short of buying land, it’s one of the soundest long-term investments you can make for yours and future generations of people who appreciate and enjoy wildlife.

For more on Chestnut Hill Outdoors products and how to care for them, visit www.ChestnutHillOutdoors.com, or call (855) 386-7826.

bob humphrey
Bob Humphrey. You can learn more about Bob at BobHumphrey.com
2 bucks large antlers

BIG Bucks | The Best Deer Minerals For Antler Growth

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!

buck in velvet in field

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.




two bucks in velvet

The difference in antler size is heavily influenced by proper mineral nutrition.



From fascination to education

Fast forwarding 30 years, that pursuit of knowledge has le me down many different paths, one being the Wildlife Biology program at Texas Tech University.

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 101

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.

deer at mineral site

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.                                                                                       



Which Deer Minerals To Buy

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.

  1. 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.   
  2. “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!
  3. 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

deer drinking with fawn

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.

deer mineral site directly on ground

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!



PVC Deer Mineral Design

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.

pvc design for deer minerals

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.

In Conclusion

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.



Buck and fawn standing in a dirt road

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:

Brandon Houston of H3 Whitetail Solutions
Brandon Houston of H3 Whitetail Solutions