Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Mark K. Johnson


A commercial mineral mixture for deer was used to evaluate the effects of broad-spectrum dietary mineral supplementation on white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) growth, antler development, and tissue mineral content. Forty-two artificial mineral licks for deer were established on 3 study areas in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. All licks were monitored monthly, recharged to original level if used, and mineral consumption recorded from May 1988 through December 1989. Consumption data were converted to estimated average per deer values based on population estimates. Effects of artificial lick mineral consumption on free-ranging deer were examined by comparing deer harvested during the 1988-89 and 1989-90 hunting seasons from areas on which licks had been established to deer from similar areas with no artificial licks. Two rations were formulated to assess the effects of broad-spectrum mineral supplementation on growth and antler development of captive deer; a treatment ration containing 3% commercial mineral by weight, and a control ration similar in all respects but lacking mineral supplementation. Rations were fed in 2 feed trials to captive adult bucks (n = 31) and young deer (n = 34). Consumption of mineral mixture from artificial licks averaged 47.22 $\pm$ 5.65 kg monthly among study areas, was influenced by month of the year and study area, and differed among seasons. Estimated monthly mineral consumption over the study period averaged 538.0 $\pm$ 70.8 g per deer among study areas. No differences in growth, body weight, antler development; or tissue water, lipid, or mineral (calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, magnesium, sodium, copper, potassium, zinc, cobalt, aluminum, manganese, iron) concentrations related to supplemental mineral consumption were found for free-ranging deer or captive deer: Composition of metacarpals and phalanges from harvested free-ranging deer differed primarily due to deer age. Composition of livers from harvested free-ranging deer differed primarily due to the sex of deer.