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Sex-Specific Patterns of Mineral Lick Preference in White-Tailed Deer

Todd C. Atwood and Harmon P. Weeks, Jr.
Northeastern Naturalist
Vol. 10, No. 4 (2003), pp. 409-414
Published by: Eagle Hill Institute
DOI: 10.2307/3858657
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3858657
Page Count: 6
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Sex-Specific Patterns of Mineral Lick Preference in White-Tailed Deer
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Abstract

While sodium (Na) is likely the element sought at mineral licks, little is known regarding the influence of other minerals [e.g., sulfur, (S); calcium, (Ca); magnesium, (Mg)] in attracting white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). To determine whether deer display a preference for minerals when visiting licks, we monitored visitation rates with remote-triggered cameras. We recorded a total of 620 deer-visits to licks (i.e., natural seep, salt, mineral mix) in southern Indiana between April and September of 1999. Females preferred mineral licks in the spring and salt licks in the summer. Males preferred salt licks in the summer. In areas where mineral concentration of forage is below dietary requirements, the presence of artificial licks may ameliorate potential negative impact of mineral demand on antlerogenesis and lactation.

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