Using a deer hunting supplement or an attractant are just two of the ways to improve herd health and attract more deer to a hunting ground, but it’s important to understand exactly what benefits each of these methods confers. They may seem similar at first glance, but they’re not quite the same. Read on to find out about the differences between mineral supplements and attractants.
The purpose of deer attractants is to lure more deer onto a piece of property or keep those already present around for the season. Attractants are usually either salt based or sweet and while they do a fantastic job of drawing in more deer, they do not provide much actual nutritional benefit to the herd.
Mineral supplements containing 30% salt or more are technically considered attractants rather than mineral supplements. After all, deer can only consume so much salt. That means that even if salt lick mineral supplements contain other nutritionally useful ingredients, it’s unlikely that the deer will end up consuming enough of them to make much of a difference.
Sweet attractants usually contain sugar, molasses, corn, or a combination of these ingredients. They’re more like candy than a hearty meal, and work great to lure deer to a specific area. However, they confer pretty much no nutritional benefits upon the herd.
Actual mineral supplements contain a carefully formulated balance of both trace minerals and macro minerals. They are specifically designed for maximum benefit to a deer’s health and growth, encouraging lactation in females and antler growth in males. They also aid in bone growth, tissue growth, energy, hormone function, digestion, cellular balance, and many other essential functions.
There are five macro minerals that should be considered essential in any supplement: calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and sodium. It’s important to choose a supplement that is not high in sodium, though, as an excessive salt content will decrease the amount of supplement the deer will consume.
Supplements should also include trace minerals such as zinc, copper, iodine, manganese, and selenium. Unlike attractants, mineral supplements can be used throughout the year for maximum benefit. Just be sure to read the nutritional information prior to purchasing any supplement.