Harvesting mature deer isn’t easy, in fact it’s one of the most difficult challenges for any whitetail hunter. Whether you’re someone who has limited access to hunting land or someone who owns their own land, letting a whitetail deer grow to maturity isn’t easy, but it is always worth it. When stating the term “mature,” I’m not referring to an animal having a really large set of antlers necessarily, but instead a deer that is 4 1/2 years of age or older.
A Born and Raised Virginian, this is always a subject of hot debate, as many people think, “deer don’t grow that big in Virginia.” For many folks that have hopes of growing big deer, it can be very difficult, due to hunting pressure surrounding their chosen piece of hunting ground or the simple fact that the property they hunt isn’t very large. I can tell you from personal experience that it is very difficult to control others habit’s or acquire a large tract of land to own or lease. But there are some steps you can take to shift the odds in your favor. Deer need food, cover and water to survive and thrive…if you can offer those three things on your property it will go a long ways to providing the necessary habitat to harbor mature whitetails. In addition to providing cover and water, there are resources out there that can help you to grow mature deer. The resources I’ve used successfully are Antler King food plots, minerals, and supplements. Over the last three years, Antler King has helped me turn my dreams into reality through producing the elements needed in order to grow big deer in any state. Through intense management, providing minerals and offering food sources in the spring, summer, fall and winter my properties are beginning to produce mature Pope & Young whitetails in Virginia. I’ve utilized an Antler King management program for 3 years now and the last two seasons I have been able to harvest three Pope & Young deer.
In order to grow a mature whitetail, you have to provide year round food and have supplements available for several reasons. First, you can utilize minerals such as Apple Burst Mineral or Trophy Deer Mineral to give your deer herd the important minerals, nutrients and vitamins needed to maintain health, prevent disease and allow a deer to maximize their genetic potential.
Secondly, supplements and protein such as Hi Protein Big Buck Blocks, Apple Burst Attractant or Deer Irresistible provide premium nutrition and improve protein and nutrient consumption providing deer key nutrients that can be difficult to find in their environment on a year round basis. High protein and nutrient rich diets will help your deer maximize body and antler growth and lead to a healthier overall herd.
Lastly, you need year round food available on your property, so your resident deer herd doesn’t have to travel to higher pressure adjoining properties in search of food. In order to reap the rewards of your management program and keep deer on your property, it will require a variety of food sources to fulfill a deer’s needs on a year round basis. As the weather and seasons change, so do the needs of your deer herd. During the Spring and Summer deer will seek food sources high in protein and minerals. Providing perennial food sources like Trophy Clover Mix or Game Changer Clover will add premium nutrition and maximum forage to your arsenal of spring and summer time food. These types of high protein, highly digestible perennial forage mixes will provide deer the necessary nutrients to maximize body and antler growth and will provide deer food for almost the entire year. As weather shifts and Summer turns to Fall a whitetails diet will change to foods that are higher in energy (fat). Deer do this to pack on weight for the up-coming breeding season and the winter that follows. Some key food sources I utilize to provide the necessary Fall/Winter nutrition and attraction are: Lights Out (Oats/Turnips), Slam Dunk (Radish/Peas/Rape), and Honey Hole (Turnips/Rape). These high forage, high energy food sources will offer your herd the nutrition they desire from September through February. This total food plot program will provide the necessary food on your property for 12 months and give your deer no reason to leave your property in search of food.
In addition to the proper nutrition and habitat it takes a lot of will power to pass up really nice young deer. But what I’ve found is that if you can trust in your program and pass up that deer, it will lead to you seeing more and bigger deer in the future. There is also a lot of hard work and time involved to consistently provide a supply of much needed resources for your deer herd. If you are serious about harvesting a mature whitetail within your home state or out of state, these important steps are needed in order to be successful. Antler King has done more than imaginable to provide the resources needed for me to be successful. Now the question lies within you, can you commit to providing premium food and habitat and passing the younger deer, so they can grow to maturity? The answer isn’t always easy and the road to success can be even harder…but when you get there you’ll be happy you did. There is nothing more rewarding than committing to your deer management program, putting in the work to provide year round food, cover and water and then harvesting a Mature whitetail. I hope you make the commitment and see the success for yourself.
Best of luck this Fall and happy hunting!
Hunter Jacobs l Virginia l Antler King Pro Staff