Selecting the most appropriate feed for your free-ranging deer will depend on the season of the year (antler growing or hard rack) and your environment.
Antler Growing Season
If it is antler growing season, then the most ideal products are those that have adequate protein, mineral and vitamin content to supplement native forage to support antler growth. The products that are appropriate for most of the U.S. are Purina® AntlerMax® Deer 20 Climate Guard® and Purina® AntlerMax® Water Shield® Deer 20 Climate Guard®. (Table 1). In the majority of the United States, these 20% protein diets should be fed from late winter to early fall while antlers are growing. In areas with very high-quality native forage, Purina® AntlerMax® Deer 16 Climate Guard® could be used or in areas with very poor-quality native forage, Purina® AntlerMax® Deer 24 Climate Guard® is a good choice. An alternative would be Purina® Antler Advantage® Deer 20 ARS. While much of the focus is supporting antler growth, supplemental feeding through the antler growing season also benefits the doe through the last two-thirds of pregnancy and lactation.
Table 1. Purina® AntlerMax® deer feeds for the antler growing period and hard antler-post-rut period of the year1
1 Not all products are available in every market.
2 Regulations for feeding of game animals vary from state to state. Check with your State Game and Fish Department or the Department of Natural Resources for guidelines on the proper use of these products during different seasons of the year.
Antler Are in Hard Rack During Rut
When antlers are in hard rack during the rut (early fall to late winter), one of the Purina® AntlerMax® Rut & Conditioner Deer 16 diets would be the perfect choice. These 16% protein diets are lower in protein for this season of the year to match the lower protein demand of the bucks since the antlers are no longer growing. Additionally, the Rut & Conditioner diets have higher fat content to help deer regain weight and body condition that may have been lost during the rut. Supplemental feeding during this season of the year also helps the doe during the breeding season and fawn growth as they transition from the doe’s milk to dry feed.
Technology Inside AntlerMax® Diets
The Purina® AntlerMax® deer feeds contain the AntlerMax® By-pass Protein Technology, the AntlerMax® Mineral Technology, and the Climate Guard® Supplement to support deer during climatic stress. Products with Water Shield® Technology are ideal in areas where there is high humidity due to its ability to provide a moisture resistance process to help pellets repel moisture. The pelleted diets are ideally fed in a covered trough or gravity feeder. If you are not ready to purchase a feeder, there is the 33.3 lb Purina® AntlerMax® Deer Block that contains all the technology of the AntlerMax® pellets. The Purina® AntlerMax® Premium Deer Mineral can be fed alongside any of the pellets or blocks.
To allow deer to reach their genetic potential for antler growth, Purina® AntlerMax® Premium Deer Feeds are the choice to provide supplemental feed all year where permitted.
Ready to support the genetic potential of your deer for antler growth?