Mineral Blocks, Trophy Bucks, Record Book Whitetails

The four-month antler-growing season has begun. To minimize injury to sensitive, blood-rich velvet which can dramatically arrest antler development, most mature bucks will spend the summer like hermits, feeding and watering close to their secluded bedding areas. According to a study I did in my first Minnesota whitetail study area between 1970 and 1989, placing 50-pound cattle-type mineral blocks (minerals with traces of salt rather than salt with traces of minerals) beneath trees on dry ground close to where you currently find fresh tracks 3.5–4 inches in length and/or fresh droppings 0.75–1 inch in length (made by bucks 3–6 years of age), you can increase the mass (the amount of water their antlers displace) of their antlers by 10–20%, turning some “trophy” bucks into “record book” bucks. Many yearling bucks destined to be “spikes” due to of a lack of calcium and other minerals in their diets will become “forkies” or better. Moreover, though perhaps not needed where you hunt, this will also improve the number of healthy fawns still alive in your hunting area next fall, having grown up on calcium-rich milk. Wherever you place mineral blocks, antlerless whitetails will always find them as well. After the end of August when antler growth is complete and fawns have been weaned, mineral blocks are generally ignored by whitetails, meaning, they will not make older bucks more vulnerable to hunting next fall.

Thank you,

Doc

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