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Every Month Matters

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Balancing Act

Deer nutrition is a balancing act of fats (lipids), proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals that varies throughout the year. Each season brings specific needs for bucks and does, crucial for their health and maximizing their potential.


Seasonal Game plan

Spring: Restoration / Anticipation


The arrival of spring signals a new cycle for deer. Bucks, which can lose up to 30% of their body weight, prioritize rebuilding muscle mass after enduring the harsh conditions of winter and the rigors of the rut, necessitating a high-protein diet. Does prepare for nursing, necessitating energy and protein for fetal development and lactation. Lush spring browse increases sodium intake. The green up complemented by

high-protein supplemental feeding and mineral access is needed to support overall herd health.

Summer: Rapid Growth / Future Arrives


Summer brings new challenges with high temperatures and nursing fawns. Bucks hit peak antler growth, requiring fat and protein as well as calcium and phosphorus. Does replenish nutrients for fawn growth, emphasizing the importance of high-quality, high-protein food sources like summer plots and supplemental feeding. Digestible energy is crucial, and high-fat intake plays a key role. With 2.5 times more digestible energy than protein, high-fat supplemental feeding ensures sustained nutrition throughout the summer.

Fall: Breeding / Transition


In fall, deer activity rises as bucks gear up for breeding, does recover from fawning, and fawns build fat reserves. Energy from carbohydrates and fat becomes vital for winter survival. Acorns, mast crops, and strategically planted food plots provide deer with essential nutrients. Transitioning your supplemental feed from the high-fat and high-protein combo to a high-fat and high-carbohydrate combo ensures your deer's nutritional needs are met.

Winter: Survival  Mode


Winter is a survival season for deer, relying on fat and carbohydrates from agricultural remnants, woody browse, and supplemental feeding. During this time, deer often face energy deficiencies, leading to reduced activity aside from essential foraging efforts. Snow cover can hinder access to food plots, making careful management of supplemental feeding crucial for maintaining overall health during lean months.


The Essentials




Energy: Derived from fats (lipids), proteins, and carbohydrates, energy fuels essential functions such as metabolism, reproduction, and activity. Seasonal variations in energy requirements peak during late summer and fall, with stored fat reserves crucial for winter survival when food sources diminish.


Proteins: Essential for tissue building and maintenance, proteins play a crucial role in antler growth for bucks and milk production for does. Fawns require 13-20% protein, while lactating does may need up to 18%. Adequate protein intake is vital for optimal growth and development across all age classes.


Minerals: Calcium and phosphorus are essential for bone and antler growth, with antlers containing about 22% calcium. Sodium and other trace minerals play critical roles in overall metabolism and health, although specific requirements remain less understood.


worth the wait

Antler growth comes down to genetics, age, and nutrition. Genetics are fixed, age is only semi-manageable through selective harvesting, but nutrition is a variable we can directly influence. Nutrition is essential for maximizing deer health and productivity. Improving habitat, seasonal planting, and supplementing feed can greatly impact herd health. Meeting a deer's nutritional needs year-round is crucial for their health and survival in different environments.


We advise that when you begin supplemental feeding, you’ll notice a near immediate boost in buck density. Visible results typically become evident after two off-seasons of consistent feeding. However, it's around the five year mark that the real magic happens. By then, your mature bucks, having received optimal nutrition since they were fetuses of healthy does, will reveal unprecedented growth and quality.


What & When


**Calendar varies depending on region. Showing Southeast.**

**Chart inspired by North American Whitetail article by Matt Haun.**

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