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For most experienced hunters, deer hunting comes with its fair share of responsibility. And one who cares about their environment and deer habitat will feel the need to feed and improve the deer herd to get the best buck for preparation of the hunting season.
As an outdoors person and a hunter, getting the right environment and habitat for the deer are a way to get them healthy and also scout their movement in their natural habitat. The deer need salt and other minerals for healthy development and growth. Salts and other minerals help to grow their antlers and promote different aspects of life, including pregnancy.
Salt is useful to deer, and mostly they will crave it. In an environment where it’s scarce, mineral blocks and salt will lure deer to the hunting spots that you lay them. Even though deer will need salt all the time, the time varies for each species. For example, the whitetail deer needs salt during spring and summer to help grow its antlers. It is also the time deer will need more nutrients because it coincides with the birth of new fawns.
Mineral blocks and salt licks are also crucial during the cold season of winter for all deer. It will make the deer’s bodies cope and adapt to the cold weather.
Understanding the Reasons Deer Crave Mineral Blocks and Salt Licks
Even though deer crave salts and many minerals for their growth and development, not all salts are suitable for deer herds. The reason hunters need to know more about mineral blocks and salts is to give the deer the best nutrients at the right time.
A rookie mistake people always make is giving cattle or horse salts and minerals to deer. The best way to have a healthy deer population is by getting the right licks intended for deer only as they will have the proper balance of nutrients for the deer herd.
When Do They Need Them?
During the warm times of the year, deer will need more minerals and salt licks. It is because, during the warm weather months, deer forage for foods rich in potassium and water. As a result, there is a salt deficiency. And deer will spend most of its time looking for salts because their body craves for it.
Providing deer with salt is not merely enough as their bodies need other minerals as well. It is not what does will need when they need to give birth to healthy fawns and milk production. For the bucks to have a healthy antler, the minerals need to provide the correct balance of both phosphorus and calcium.
Studies indicate that deer antlers have 11 minerals, but most of them only take a fraction of the antler’s growth and development. More than 60 percent of the antler weight comes from both calcium and phosphorus, while the rest of the minerals that make up the 40 percent are proteins.
But when the antlers are in the growing stage and are still velvet, the antlers will comprise 80 percent proteins and 20 percent calcium and phosphorus. Most hunters that know this information will proceed to place different mineral blocks and salt licks in different habitats for deer during the period between spring and summer. You must also understand that no amount of mineral licks will magically grow deer antlers overnight. It is a management puzzle that must be fulfilled at the right time.
How Many Mineral Lick Sites will One Need?
It depends on the area of the hunting site you are scouting and the size of your property. As a rule of thumb, one site after every 100 acres will distribute the salt and mineral licks well to the deer population. With such a spread, the deer will have access to minerals, and it will also ensure that most of the deer population get the vital nutrients for their growth and development.
Preparing mineral sites is not a one-time event but rather an activity you must maintain all through the year. As long as you keep feeding deer minerals in the same spots, they will keep getting attracted to those zones. An advantage of maintaining mineral sites is that it makes hunters know popular areas to set stands when hunting deer during the open season.
Types of Mineral Licks Suitable for the Deer Herd
Mineral salt licks come in only three forms, either granular, liquid, or as a mineral block. There is no one product better over the other, as each has its downside and virtues. Hunting deer using minerals and salt licks is not merely enough to keep deer attracted at one site. And hunting is not as natural as providing these salts and waylaying the deer population as they feed. The program is intense, and this is what you must know.
If you are a hunter in an area where you receive lots of rainfall, then using more lasting minerals and salt licks will work. You will find that minerals blocks take time before they begin to seep into the ground.
Most hunters prefer using a block as salts as they last longer than the other forms of minerals and salt licks. There is a variety of mineral blocks that include salt blocks or a mixture of salts and other minerals that make it difficult for deer to resist.
Most mineral blocks comprise more salts but may have some flavor and additives to make it sweeter for the deer and more nutritious. When using blocks, hunters can prefer ones that can easily blend into the environment. The reason is to dissuade other hunters from taking your feeding site and making a stand there. Popular disguises include rock and log shapes that camouflage well but still attract deer to your feeding sites.
Minerals and salt licks come in granular form as well. Other companies manufacture fine granules to a powder-like state. Some hunters prefer granules because they are more discreet and mix well with the soil to attract deer to your feeding site.
When you sprinkle granular salt licks heavily into the soil, you must mix it up well. Such a site will feed deer for a long time as well without needing to replenish frequently. Granules not only contain minerals and salts as they can have a blend of popular der food like acorns. Once deer establish a feeding site, they will frequent it to paw and lick it from the ground. It will give a bow hunter the time and space to take a better aim during hunting season. Success varies for different granules, and you should try out different granules. Try to establish the primary food of the area you are hunting and provide the feeds that are not readily available but essential for deer growth and development.
Granules and powders may diminish quickly, and you might need to replenish sites that deer frequent regularly. When mixing granules with water, never use water that has chlorine but rather distilled water only.
Liquids same to granules and powder seep quickly into the ground. However, liquids tend to wash away faster in places with heavy rainfall. Though they are discreet and hardly noticeable to other hunters, they will not last long. When using liquids, you must choose the dry season and visit sites regularly to add on lost flavors.
Most hunters find the granular minerals and salt licks to be more productive. And most will also combine all three kinds of salt and mineral licks all through the season. The idea is to use granular then to establish a feeding site then back it up with a mineral block since they are long-lasting even during rainfalls. Finally, when visiting feeding sites, liquid licks are the best for reactivating old feeding sites.
Where You Should Place Your Mineral Licks
There is no guarantee that your feeding sites will attract deer. There is no cast in the stone formula as well to make deer frequent one site over another. The best you can do is to experiment with different techniques and feeds and choose the ones that work for your site.
You should gather as much information about the property you are hunting in and establish food and mineral spots where deer will find them and consume them. Deer do not like to be exposed when feeding, and though they find the mineral licks irresistible if they are not safe, they will not feed.
Scouting the Area to Choose the Best Location
Choose an area with a high deer population, and usage is an excellent idea before establishing a site. Go on foot and identify popular deer spots and trails. You can place your salt licks in the areas around an active funnel.
It is essential to make deer feel safe, so instead of placing the mineral licks into the deer paths, consider putting them just beside.
Never Disturb the Area
After the scouting and establishing of hot deer spots, never litter the area with the packaging of your mineral licks. Experienced hunters know the importance of leaving the place undisturbed as it may alert deer of human presence and may never turn up again in that area.
It isn’t easy to know how many salt licks and minerals are enough for a particular area. Since there is no formula, hunters must depend on their knowledge of topography, intervention from other animals and humans, as well as the habitat diversity.
Though not everybody can afford it, to understand deer movement and feeding habits, you may need a trail camera. Select a camera that can operate in the outdoor environs without fail and leave it on deer trails and mineral sites. Trail cameras are useful in feeding you information like the time deer spend on each of your salt lick sites.
The Best Mineral Licks for Deer
While some people are the Do-It –yourself kind and will make their own salt and mineral licks, some will prefer a ready mix. There are many deer salts and minerals available, and finding the best may be challenging for novice hunters. The following is a list of the best minerals and salt licks available in the market today.
Evolved Deer Cane is among the best block salts that cover all the bases. It is rich in proteins, and this makes it excellent for use during the early season. During this season, bucks look for minerals that make them grow healthy and develop enough strength for the coming rut.
The Evolved Deer Cane Block also has minerals and vitamins that will promote the antler growth and carries sweet molasses that keep the deer attracted and coming for more feed. It is a high protein formula that gives young bucks stability and encourages growth, which is beneficial for both the deer and hunters as the rut approaches.
The downside to hunting deer with a protein block is that it does not favor the hunters using public land. Hunters on private property can maintain sites hidden and use them for a long time all year round. However, it is the best option when you are managing a herd as it keeps the does and fawns healthy and stable as well. Bucks in that area will also grow big, strong, and develop healthy antlers.
Hunters who care about the deer herds they are maintaining will know the contents of the feeds they give to them. All Evolved Deer Cane Blocks have all the ingredients listed so that you can see the ratio of the mix and directions for proper use. It comes in a 25-pound bag, and most hunters find it as an affordable option as well.
- High in proteins and also rich in other minerals and vitamins
- It has attractive flavors
- It is excellent for early season
- Excellent for deer herds
- Long-lasting compared to other salt and mineral licks.
- Not suitable for use in public land
The pink Himalayan salt lick is getting lots of attention as the best product for all deer herds. Most people who use this product attest that deer like it for the great taste and health benefits it brings to the deer. It is also the best for nature salt lick that makes hunters enjoy a hunting trip since deer frequent these feeding sites.
Compared to ordinary salt, using the Pink Himalayan salt has more hunting advantages. Between the rich flavor and the smooth edges of the blocks, deer won’t hurt their tongue as they feed. It makes the deer like it more and can easily make your mineral one of their feeding sites leading to a predetermined stand for hunters.
There are many reasons why hunters will also prefer the Pink Himalayan Saltlick, it is durable and, therefore, longer-lasting than ordinary salt. It is best for wet environments that experience regular rainfall. It will not melt quickly, even in bad and rough weather.
The one disadvantage that hunters have to contend with is that it takes a surmountable amount of rain to trigger the release of an odor that will attract deer to your site.
The color of the Himalayan mineral salt block is pink because it is a blend of so many minerals. There are 84 preset minerals, and all are essential for the healthy growth of deer herds.
Healthy deer have strong antlers, and hunters need a good salt lick to attract deer into their property. Giving deer the right nutrients also invites them to where you want them for the open season.
- Inviting flavor for all deer
- Has smooth surfaces to protect the tongue of the deer
- Long-lasting and durable
- It comprises 84 natural minerals necessary for the healthy development of all deer.
- Takes lots of rain pounding to make it release its aroma that attracts the deer to the site.
These salt licks are just rocks, and this makes them excellent for natural deer growth. They are also 100% natural as they are mined from Redmond, Utah. The harvesting process of the salt licks is blowing them using dynamite, which produces huge chunks of natural salt and mineral licks for deer.
Most hunters prefer a more natural solution to attract deer. It is because they are looking to feed them on nourishing solutions for healthy growth and development of deer coming into the rut season. It is a simple solution that attracts deer to your feeding sites as well as the best choice as it contains natural properties essential to the deer.
The advantage hunters have over other salt licks is that the Trophy Rock salts are more than just salts. They have other minerals that include phosphorus and calcium, which are crucial to healthy antler growth.
Fawns also find the Trophy Rock salts beneficial as it promotes the overall growth of a healthy future herd. Deer will also find these rock salts faster as they are attracted to its scent, especially during wet weather conditions.
Using the Trophy Rock Salts licks also helps build healthy herd habits and allows hunters to track deer movements in their natural habitat easily. It is legal to use it as an attractant to most public land hunting, but you must first check with your local authority.
It is versatile and is purely authentic; however, it may attract a higher price range than most salt and mineral licks for deer. It is the best for herd management, observation, and hunting.
- It is 100% natural salt lick product for deer
- Has a high attractive scent for all deer especially in wet conditions
- It is also rich in both calcium and phosphorous which are the primary elements deer need to build healthy antlers for the rut
- Versatile and readily available
- Slightly comes at a higher price range compared to other minerals and salt licks.
What to Look out for When Buying Salt and Mineral Licks
No all minerals created are equal, and therefore you cannot purport to use similar salt licks for cattle and horses for the whitetail deer. Antlers have roughly 20% calcium and 10% phosphorus, which is more than that of cattle and hence will need more composition of particular minerals.
Bucks need more sodium during spring and summer as it is time they are developing their antlers. Deer will, therefore, use more salt licks at given times of the year. However, there is a misconception that you can determine when deer use salt licks. Though whitetail deer use salt licks all through the year, it is not true that it is all it takes to lure them to your feeding site.
To improve a buck’s antlers and size, you must feed it the right nutrients at the right time. You will not see an overnight growth of antlers as you need to know more about genetics, age, and nutrition of the deer. You cannot control genetics, but you can determine the age and nutrition for the herd you are managing.
Choosing the Right Product
Depending on the topography and weather patterns, you can decide on either of the three forms of salt licks available. The block minerals salt licks are the best in rainfall areas as they are durable and not wash away faster.
Some products like the powder and granular salt licks require that you mix them with water to make them durable and produce a scent that attracts the deer to the feeding site. The best time to mix your minerals is while on-site, and you should never do so at home or camp.
When using salt licks for hunting, the best way to maintain a site for more extended periods is using granular, then adding a block salt lick at the same site. Liquids have a shorter lifespan and are the best for logs and tree stumps.
Choosing the Ideal Location
Similar to choosing the minerals suitable for all deer, you must select the right location. A keen observation of deer feeding habits will make you identify the missing elements of a deer’s nutrition. Once you know which minerals are found where you can establish sites to provide the missing minerals in other locations.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.