I think you know what you are doing here... :)
Last week I was an exhibitor at the Buckarama in Perry, Ga. A vendor on another aisle was promoting supplements with medications claiming it not only killed parasites in the deer but also controlled ticks and biting flies.

It almost sounds too good to be true. Has anyone tried this and does it work? How do you measure the performance? Is the meat safe to eat after being medicated ?

I've looked into the science. There is no scientific evidence that mineral supplementation increases antler size or herd health in free ranging deer. All of the positive studies are on livestock and penned deer. Deer are browsers and they eat a huge variety of herbaceous plants as well as woody browse. Each plant has a unique mining ability for different trace minerals. Trees with deep roots have access to different minerals than shallow rooted plants.

Mineral licks congregate deer and increase the risk of disease spread. I stopped using them years ago. Minerals are almost never a limiting factor in free ranging deer. You just don't see it in necropsy studies and such, even in areas where deer are in poor health. Some folks thing deer seek out mineral licks because they need the minerals. The only thing they are seeking in the mineral lick is salt and/or sugar. Try putting out a mineral mix without either and see how much use it gets.

But I do use minerals...P,N, K, and any trace minerals my soil test calls for given my target crop. Plants are by far the best delivery system for minerals. Plants grow faster and are more nutritious when they have sufficient fertilizer. Deer not only get the minerals, more importantly, they get the protein and carbs from the plants which they need more during stress periods.

To be honest, I'm reducing my fertilizer use significantly over time. I've evolved over time to move toward a lower cost more sustainable approach. Folks interested should google "Ray the soil guy" and watch some of his USDA/NRCS videos. I'm slowly recovering from the damage I did with deep and frequent tillage. As my soil health is returning, I'm finding that improved nutrient cycling from the microbiology in the soil is reducing my need for adding fertilizer.

One could certainly put pesticides into some mix that would reduce insects, but do you really want to be feeding your deer pesticides?

That is my 2 cents for what it is worth.



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