Deer Minerals as a monitoring tool
Deer Minerals-1 mans "opinion"
I have been in the ruminant nutrition world since 1991 and from the first day in my career i've always used the words rumen efficiency and terms like pH. Every animal in confinement and the wild has different dietary requirements for it's basic needs, as well as overall health. Free ranging animals have maintenance requirements and growth requirements. They change based on a myriad of factors.
Where do they live?
What is their age?
What is their body size?
What is the current weather?
What is their current bedding quality?
What is their water quality?
What is their browse quality currently?
What is the distance of travel from bedding to water to food?
What are the current environmental stresses?What are their systemic challenges, examples being internal and external par
e a new stress is present. No matter the reason, it should make people scout your properties and animals. Look and see if there is flies, body weight changes, or other factors. It could be a quick fix, like clipping your food plots. It could be that it's fawning time and the does cannot uptake enough nutrients to sustain that nutrient filled milk. Did the does have 1 fawn, 2 fawns or 3. That does matter.
Genetics come into place. There needs way more nutrients to fill the tank for a 200 lb deer versus a 100 lb deer. If that buck has a genetic potential to grow a 200 inch rack, that requires way more protein, calcium, phosphorous and magnesium than a 100 inch buck. The age affects calcium absorption of browse. A young doe or buck will utilize calcium more fully than a mature deer. That 3 year old does will absorb the calcium in the browse better than that 6 year old doe. Same with 3 year old bucks versus 6 year old bucks. Think about what we see in antler decline as bucks age. Ponder the factors for this.
With 82% of the US short on sulfur, anyone who listens to me speak, will hear me discuss how that affects an animals performance. During the spring flush, most browse is very low in magnesium. That is a time where those with expertise with grass tetany, understand that animals will hit free choice minerals harder during this time.
In the end, let's consider free choice deer mineral not as non-essential but as a "monitoring tool." If they deer do not consume it, then great. If they hammer the mineral, then there is reasons for it and there is no harm unless that product was formulated improperly.
It's a tool. If it's not legal to use them or if you choose not to use minerals, then no worries, there are always solutions. The solutions are, reduce maintanance reqirements for deer, improve your soil so that no matter what you grow, it's more nutritious and lastly, research why John tests the types of forages he tests. Doing better is a process that doesn't have 1 silver bullet. It's te concept of sustainability with a plan for habitat management.
Food for thought..