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Thread: Pourous Antlers

  1. #1

    Pourous Antlers

    I had a brief read of shooting times this week and one of Richard Prior's ever knowledgeable comments struck a chord.

    He seemed to suggest that deer exposed to high levels of artificial sources of protein/ nutrients may grow large, but not necessarily dense antlers.

    We've been experimenting with nutrient licks on ground that also holds a pheasant shoot. Last winter we put down some rumevite blocks.

    We've definately seen an improvement in the body weights and antler length/thickness. However, actual weights of the cleaned heads have been disappointing. For example, the buck in the photo, which is away for measurement, is unlikely to even scrape a bronze.

    Has anyone else experienced similar, or have their own thoughts on factors that can cause an increase in antler density or pourosity?

    Cheers

    Novice
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC_0385.jpg   DSC_0391.jpg  
    Last edited by novice; 18-10-2014 at 17:56.

  2. #2
    I shoot a fruit farm ... Not management ... Farmer won't have deer on the ground ... Once they get into berries they love them, think it was an article with Richard prior I read that said that deer that have feed predominantly on fruit can be very porous .....
    Don't know if that's the case but I've read it somewhere .....

    Paul

  3. #3
    That's interesting Paul. These deer almost certainly don't have access to soft fruits in any quantity.

    Can you recall where you saw the article by Prior?

    Novice

  4. #4
    No I can't .. & now it's annoying the hell out of me!!!!
    Think I'm going to have to re-read the few books I have see if I can find the reference

    Paul

  5. #5
    I feed supplements to several species of deer. The europeans will use a solid lick or block if I want to get extra minerals into them, but I can't get the asiatics to use a solid, they love a liquid though. Typically I use a 44 gallon drum (300kg) of blackstrap molasses each week, & apart from the extra calories its a great medium to supply the extra minerals. Typically my mix is 3% garden lime, 3% salt & 3% urea in a 50/50 molasses/water mix (mix the urea well). I have ran control herds to monitor this & still have the shed antlers from these deer to compare. It's very noticeable. Naturally the animals on the mix do much better than the animals without it, particularly if its dry & they aren't getting the nutrition to do their best. Body score index aside, the density of the antlers from the animals on the "lick" are very noticeably heavier (yes they will be a bit larger too because of the nutrition, but its the density we're discussing) If an animal is already getting all its nutritional needs from its pasture, I doubt & haven't noticed the supplements making any difference.

    IMO "light" or weak & brittle antlers would most likely be a result of something missing in their diet. Supplements like I have described only make a difference if something is missing, it won't suddenly turn an average stage into a "Frankendeer".

    I think the comments in the OP support the idea that high protein diets are great for ruminants, but fails to understand that many sources of protein don't survive the rumen in their original form. Sure, the microbiology in the rumen love all the protein as another source of energy & will consume it & increase their number numbers & activity, however its non protein nitrogens which really get the process moving quickly. IMO I get more protein (not calories) at the true stomach from 1kg of urea than 900kg of grain when feed out wisely. Of course the grain is a great source of calories & urea is empty of any.

    Very interesting topic.

    Sharkey

  6. #6
    Thank's for the obviously well informed input sharkey.

    I've used mollases as an attractant over the block to increase the deer's initial interest in it. I'll look to source some urea at this end and give it a go over the winter.

    Novice

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by novice View Post
    Thank's for the obviously well informed input sharkey.

    I've used mollases as an attractant over the block to increase the deer's initial interest in it. I'll look to source some urea at this end and give it a go over the winter.

    Novice
    Cheers Mate. This understanding just happens to be the difference between success & failure in my own life. I first noticed the importance of non protein nitrogen when looking into rumanents in developing countries (particularly Asia) where protein was too expensive/scarce to share with animals. This led me to look at the research into NPN's (there is lots) & then the penny dropped & it all made sense. I'm glad it did because it's all that has saved me from going under in times of drought.

    I'm glad you're looking at this for protein, but please, may I also suggest you look at balancing calcium & phosphorous & also give a though to copper.

    Again, great topic. How cool are deer!

    Sharkey

    PS. If you'd care to send me a Po box or any postal address I'd be pleased to send you a "Men who stare at deer" cap, as a kindred spirit.
    Bob

  8. #8
    Wow.... Someone's been doing plenty research!!!! I've just started thinking bout putting out licks etc & started reading a bit ... But most of that was way over my understanding as yet !!!!!!!!

    :-)
    Paul

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by sauer View Post
    Wow.... Someone's been doing plenty research!!!! I've just started thinking bout putting out licks etc & started reading a bit ... But most of that was way over my understanding as yet !!!!!!!!

    :-)
    Paul
    I guess I'm a bit of a tragic when it comes to deer & I suppose after 40 years of addiction I'm hopeless cause.

    Just to add to the current topic. I moved some well marked/taged stags between the groups that were fed with the supplements into the groups that weren't supplemented in following years. The density of the antlers didn't confound my theory, it supported it. i also have "antler trees" from these same individual stags with the variations in the density, marked against their supplements within these casts.

    Sharkey
    Last edited by sharkey; 20-10-2014 at 10:35.

  10. #10
    I know that my father-in-law's stalker says that for stick dressing you need sheep's horns from an animal that has had poor feeding (stayed out on the hill.) Too good feeding plus mineral blocks means the horn is light and porous. However antler is quite different than horn of course..

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