In this blog series we?re looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter?s area. We?ve looked at food plots, selective harvest,deer surveying, and herd balance already in this series and in this entry we'll look into the concept of "mineral sites".
Mineral sites, in many cases, are one of the most overlooked and underutilized parts of a game management strategy. Mineral sites provide deer with great sources of vitamins and nutrients that they need throughout the year. We put in a lot of work creating food plots and we're selling ourselves short if we don't compliment them with mineral sites. Mineral sites are not too difficult to create and can pay big dividends in the long run.
Mineral sites provide similar benefits as food plots in that they help increase deer health which in turn helps them better survive the rut and the winter. Having a healthy deer, whether it be a doe or a buck, is great for the whole herd when it comes to breeding, reproduction, and survival. Most importantly for those seeking "monster bucks", mineral sites are great locations where bucks will get nutrients that aid in rack growth and development. A buck's antlers grow during the summer months and this is the time when they will really visit mineral sites.
It's a good practice to keep mineral sites in a consistent location year after year. Rain helps the minerals dissolve into the soil which creates a location that will be frequented by deer long after the minerals are no longer visible. Hang a game camera up over a mineral site and watch the pictures as time passes. The results may be surprising and this is a great way to survey your deer. Just ask anyone that keeps mineral sites year after year, the deer will literally dig a hole in the ground seeking out the minerals and nutrients.
It's a good idea to start mineral sites in April, refresh them in July, then again in October. Experienced mineral site managers say it's good to have mineral sites along a deer's travel route in a low spot that can hold moisture. Hunters who I know that are serious about game management keep minerals sites year round in various parts of their hunting properties.
One thing to clarify though, don't confuse simply putting out a salt-block with creating a mineral site, they are two different things! A mineral site usually has a mixture of nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, and several different types of vitamins which greatly benefit deer.
There are several mineral site products available for purchase and I'm not going to endorse any certain one because communicating the principal of why hunters should create mineral sites is my main goal here. Each product will have different methods for implementation so be sure to read the directions for whichever product you select.
Start a mineral site and see what happens!
As this season kicks off, I wanted to write a post about getting your links and information on our site. We?ve had inquiries from various individuals, groups, and organizations about getting their links on our site.
Aligning with the underlying principles of this site, we strive to share information for, with, and between hunters in South Carolina. So, if you are a hunting guide, deer processor, taxidermist, or a member of a group with a just cause, we will gladly post your information on our site. Just email it over and we?ll get it up with relative speed. WeHuntSC.com does not endorse one service over the other, but rather aims to get information out there so hunters can have access to it.
Companies who seek to advertise their products globally on our site do not fall in this category and should visit the Sponsor FAQ page for further information.
Regards, Clint Patterson
Hello everyone my name is Conrad McCall and I’m going to attempt to post a blog series here on WeHuntSC.com about RAKS Big Game Supplements. Before we dive right in though I’d like to give you some background on myself…
I grew up in Honea Path SC which is where I still do the majority of my hunting. I moved to Mauldin SC about 7 years ago and am married with a 6 year old boy and 1 1/2 year old little girl. I enjoy any type of hunting, but my main passion is Whitetails. I also love turkey and predator hunting. I have had the opportunity to do some bear hunting and hog hunting but have not been successful in harvesting either one yet. Ever since SC legalized crossbows I have done 90% of my hunting with a crossbow. I have always enjoyed writing and have been fortunate enough to have had an article published in Crossbow Magazine and an upcoming article to be published in the October issue of Buckmasters. This is however my first attempt at a Blog series, so I hope everyone enjoys it and I look forward to your feedback.
This past year I had the opportunity to become a member of the RAKS Big Game Supplement Field Staff. I have been interested in improving the deer herd on our property for the past 7 years. I have tried several different products and found success with some, but they acted as more of an attractant during the summer months due to the high salt content. When season got into full motion the high activity on the site dropped quickly and the deer completely changed patterns. Even though South Carolina ruled to allow baiting state wide starting last season I still wanted to provide a product that would improve the overall deer herd and not just act as an attractant with little nutritional benefit.
Since I’ve had a positive experience with the RAKS products I’ve decided to share my experience with everyone through a blog series. I hope to share photos showing the use of the mineral site along with trail camera photos from the past few months. I am also going to try and provide info on a different RAKS product during each upcoming blog entry. I decided to start the series by asking the owner of RAKS, Chris Edwards, to answer a few questions and give everyone some background and basic info about the company.
Here are 2 pics from RAKS sites I've created
Thanks for tuning in to the series intro and we’ll be updating the series with more blogs. Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts here in the comments. I look forward to hearing for you.
In this blog series we're looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter's area. We've looked at food plots, selective harvest, deer surveying, herd balance, mineral sites already in this series and in this entry we'll look into the concept of "supplemental feeding".
Supplemental feeding of deer is not a brand new concept, but the trend is gaining momentum in game management circles. Outdoorsmen who invest a lot of time and resources in hunting and managing game usually provide some form of supplemental feed for their deer. If you've ever seen a deer who's benefited from supplemental feeding then you'll understand why game managers put in the time and effort to incorporate this practice into their game management strategy.
Supplemental feeds are typically high in protein and game managers put them out all year long. Like many other game management practices, it's not a "quick fix" and will take time before the full effects can be noticed. Supplemental feeding is generally part of a habitat management program and requires a long-term commitment on behalf of the game manager.
It?s also important to note that these supplemental feeds are intended to be exactly what they are called, a supplement. Supplemental feeds are not intended to replace a deer's natural diet, but rather to add to it. Supplemental feeding is also not a magic cure for poorly managed deer populations. It won't give you monster bucks or a healthy herd overnight.
While I was investigating this topic I found a lot of high-level, scientific research regarding supplemental feeds. If you're interested in getting really in-depth info about supplemental feeding of deer there are several scholarly articles on supplemental deer feeding available online. This blog entry however is not "scholarly" in nature ;-)
I found some really good info on supplemental feeding at a web site called "BuckManager.com". I encourage you to investigate that site for more information on supplemental feeding if you would like to read from someone who's lived and breathed it for a while. One of the articles on that site discussed the notion of whether deer could live on supplemental feed alone. The author noted
"Regardless of what the current study finds, both scenarios end up proving that deer cannot live on supplemental feed alone. Even when supplemental food is provided free-choice, white-tailed deer still desire native browse plants in their diets. Not only are these plants important for food, but also for the shelter and screening cover they provide for deer and other wildlife species. And let's not forget that browse plants typically contain protein levels ranging from 15 to 35%. And that can feed your deer and really supplement your supplement, for a lot less money."
The bottom line is that deer will consume more than just supplemental feed regardless of how much is provided! As the author noted "Food preference is probably a function of palatability, digestibility, and overall nutritive value." Incorporating supplemental feed as one more available food source for your herd is the best approach.
What blend, location, and ratios of supplemental feed are suggested for game managers? The article on BuckManager.com prescribed that "The preferred method is to use a 16% to 20% protein pelleted commercial feed, fed free choice, from feeders distributed at the rate of at least one feeder per 300 acres located within or adjacent to adequate escape cover." This recommendation is similar to what I found on other sites and articles so it's probably a good rule to go by.
Depending on the product you choose, supplemental feeding of deer can be one of the more expensive facets of game management. We've chosen to use a supplemental feed that was designed with a deer's overall health in mind and that is reasonably priced.
BUCK YUM was started to provide hunters with a quality feed and supplement product that not only attracted deer but also provided them with the proper nutrition deer need to grow. The idea to develop and implement a feed and supplement product that accomplished this was the inspiration of the launching of BUCK YUM Products and the creation of BUCKYUM.
BuckYum is a feed and attractant mixture of peanuts, peanut chips, and corn that provides the proper balance of nutritional supplements that deer need to grow. BuckYum also contains a special blend of seed that grows as a permanent food source as well. When you pour it out you can really smell the odor of peanut butter in the air (and the deer can too!). Deer and other game will browse on BuckYum and when you return be prepared to see some green growing from the ground where you poured it out! BuckYum is very efficient in this manner because not only does game in the area eat the corn & peanuts, but they also love the forage that grows from this blend as well. It's like a 2 for 1 deal!
BuckYum Guranteed Analysis
Where can you find BuckYum to buy? http://www.buckyum.com/Dealer_Info.php
Information in this post cited from the following locations:
There is no doubt that providing deer with a supplemental feed can be beneficial for hunters seeking to ?Grow the Hunt? and have monster bucks on their property. The only question is, are you committed?
As deer hunters we often game-plan our hunts based on available food sources and rut activity, but we don't really factor in water sources that much. Not including water sources into the game-plan may be a mistake on our behalves. Think about it, food and water are the most elemental needs of a deer with water being the more critical of the two. Trying to look at deer hunting from a "water", perspective can prove beneficial,especially in drier areas.
Deer get water from a variety of sources, such as ponds, streams, and lakes. They also get water from the dew on plants and the water contained within plants. In some articles I read it was noted that, if lush forage is available, deer may be able to meet their body's water demand solely from the water within plants. This has not been scientifically proven, but it appeared to be a believed concept.
Also, typically the richest soil in a given area will be near a water source. The moisture in the water helps the soil be more fertile. This richest soil will grow the best forage and this provides deer with succulent forage to browse on along with providing great cover. These aspects of areas near water sources are very attractive for deer?naturally they will want to be near these areas.
Over the course of the Food Plot Journey we?ve been demoing the GroundHog MAX as well as planting a lot of Tecomate Seed. We?ve demonstrated that average Joes (and rookie food plot web people like myself) can even use these products and get a decent food plot to come up. All of the products that we?ve used can be purchased online, but recently a new outdoor store right across the NC line opened up that carries these products and more!
The Springs Wild Game Center is located in Mineral Springs, NC and is run by Bryan McCarver. The Wild Game Center is a sister company to the local Feed and Seed company in Mineral Springs. It takes about 25 minutes to get there from Pageland and is also not a bad ride from Buford or Lancaster. It sits right off of highway 75 just across the train tracks. The store is relatively new and is really nice. From cities like Pageland?s perspective, it beats driving an hour to Rock Hill or to a store in the Greater Charlotte area and it?s a nice ?country? drive along the way (Google Map to Springs Wild Game Center).
The Wild Game Center carries both fishing and hunting products and is also going to carry guns in the near future. As I mentioned, the store hasn?t been open too long and has some plans for some really neat things such as an archery course and even a 3d archery course?so it?s good now and will only get better in time. The Wild Game Center is also one of the few places where you can find another emerging product in ?BuckYum?.
We had some WeHuntSC.com decals up there earlier, but they?re out now. We?re working to get some vinyl decals offered permanently in the store as well. Best of all you can go there and pick up a GroundHog MAX or a McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag and even some TrueTimber camo! You can give it a look and touch/feel it before you buy if you want. Bryan and the guys at the store can also get any flavor of Tecomate Seed that you want.
If you?re on the NC/SC border then you ought to give the Springs Wild Game Center a look at some point. We like to use our site to promote good places and good people and this place definitely meets both of those criteria! If you go, be sure to tell them that you heard about them from WeHuntSC.com! Once the 3d range gets set up I?m going to go back and shoot some video of the place to give you a feel for what it?s like too!