NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR DEER
The 3 main factors that influence body size & antler growth of whitetail deer are: Age, Genetics, and Nutrition. Providing good nutrition on a hunting property is essential to attract, hold, and grow trophy class animals. Relying on the native habitat alone can severely limit the potential of the local deer herd. Mother Nature simply gives deer enough to survive 365 days of the year, and some years not even that. Let’s take a quick look at what a whitetail needs for basic overall maintenance and body function.
Adult whitetail deer require between 8-13% protein with fawns requiring 13-20% for basic maintenance and day to day functionality. There are times during the year that the native habitat just doesn’t supply enough nutrients. Food plots can help bridge this gap, but they are not a guarantee as drought, flooding, deep snow, ect. can eliminate them for periods of time. Many hunters believe that corn alone is enough, but corn only provides 6-8% protein with very little minerals or vitamins. Corn can be a good source of carbohydrates yes, but not even close to a complete nutritional food source. So what can you provide that is not susceptible to Mother Nature and provides maximum nutritional values?
The answer is a properly formulated for deer supplemental feed & mineral program. DO NOT fall into the marketing traps that litter the outdoor industry. There are no products that will produce huge bucks overnight. Consistently providing quality supplements year round (check local laws) or as much as possible will produce consistent results. Here is a chart from the University of Missouri showing protein requirements for deer: