Keeping whitetails hydrated and providing nutrients during the summer is a critical part of deer management.
I often get asked what is the most important tool when it comes to deer management. My answer is twofold: water and nutrition. As a land manager, I grappled for years with a way to effectively provide those vital parts to a deer herd simultaneously. I asked my team at Banks Outdoors: Can we provide deer with water and minerals at the same time?
That simple question is what spurred Banks Outdoors to conceptualize our revolutionary Wild Water Supplement, a mineral additive designed to mix into water, providing your deer with not only year-round hydration, but the minerals they need to stay healthy. It pairs perfectly with our Wild Water trough delivery systems, but works with any container.
In the middle of summer, proper hydration is a crucial aspect of a whitetail’s health. I’ve rarely found deer to stray too far from a reliable water source at any time of the year. And providing the many nutrients deer need, whether through mineral sites or supplemental feeding, strengthens the herd. This is especially true in the spring and summer when fawns are developing and bucks are growing their antlers.
The added bonus is that in addition to being beneficial to a deer’s health, Wild Water Supplements also act as an attractant. Through our own testing, we’ve found that by adding Wild Water Supplements to our favorite watering holes, we were able to lure in more deer to that location and keep them coming back consistently. This was echoed from numerous hunters in the field throughout the course of the year. The deer on their property were consistently visiting water sources infused with Wild Water Supplements, just as they would a food plot. Many of them quickly found they could hunt these locations – and quite a few found success in doing so.
How Does it Work?
What makes our supplement addictive is primarily the sodium concentrations. Salt is an important mineral deer need in the summer, but it also adds flavor they can’t resist. There are no flavor additives in our mineral content beyond that. The ingredients also include calcium, manganese, copper and zinc.
In the warmer months, deer lose water through their urine, droppings and breath while panting. When the temperatures rise, their need for water increases. A whitetail needs about two to three quarts of water per day and per 100 pounds of body weight. In hotter climates, it could be more.
At the same time, watering holes are prone to drying up. Of course, deer are gaining some water through their plant-rich diet, but that may not be enough to fully quench their thirst. Some plants contain less moisture than others. In desert environments or areas stricken with drought, as has been common in several parts of the country in recent years, supplementing water is key to whitetail survival. A water trough located near a bedding area or a food source is an ideal place to ensure your herd is properly hydrating.
Due to a deer’s plant-rich diet in the warmer months, they’re lacking sodium, and will actively search for sources of salt in the soil. The typical way to provide sodium is through a salt lick. Of course, most salt licks contain minerals like calcium to further increase nutrient intake. Sites are typically established in the spring and come in three forms: granular, block and liquid, which mix into the soil. Often, this requires bulky bags to cover an area enough for multiple deer to utilize. And if you’re interested in providing water, that’s another project you’ll have to take on.
The one liter pouch of Wild Water Supplement we offer will treat 100 gallons of water. Pour the recommended amount into your watering trough and call it a day. Your deer will stay hydrated and consistently intake the minerals they need throughout this crucial growth period. No ground mineral sites are needed. By monitoring your watering troughs, you can ensure your herd is getting the nutrients they need.
Benefits of Supplying Minerals
Spring and summer is a time of replenishing after a long winter and a key growth time for whitetails at all stages of life. Bucks are growing their antlers, which are comprised mostly of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. Lower concentrations of these key minerals in a buck’s diet can lead to delayed velvet shedding and antler growth. When bucks are provided with Wild Water Supplements, this can aid in their growth, as well as their immune and digestive systems.
It’s not just bucks that benefit from supplementary minerals. Does need calcium throughout the duration of their pregnancy, continuing when they give birth in the spring or summer. Wild Water Supplements aid in a doe’s bone growth, milk production and metabolism. Fawns and yearlings benefit from calcium as their skeletal system develops. Providing them with supplemental minerals in accord with active habitat management can ensure your deer herd is taking full advantage of the nutrients available to them.
Deer are more likely to consistently visit a trough that’s between their bedding areas and food source. In certain situations, this can be one of the most consistent patterns deer will take during hunting season: bedding to water to food. Again, as Wild Water Supplements act as an attractant, the deer will readily visit these sites, just as they do a food plot. From countless hunter observations, we understand that deer prefer to drink from a safe and consistent water source. Natural watering holes are anything but reliable in the summer. Providing a place for them to drink means you have the ability to always keep the whitetail herd hydrated.
The Wild Water trough delivery systems, which are capable of holding up to 300 gallons of water, supplies a clean and consistent source year-round, even when natural ones have long dried up. For landowners without reliable watering holes, troughs are invaluable. Having the ability to move them is also a key advantage.
While Wild Water Supplements can beneficially impact your deer herd, you still have to incorporate well-rounded management practices to your off-season routine. Don’t expect mineral supplements to grow your bucks’ antlers into trophies overnight. This is simply another tool in a wider picture involving habitat and herd management.