With antler growth on the rampage this time of year, deer need adequate mineral and salt during this crucial time of their development. Hot weather makes it demands on the whitetail’s diet and salt helps the deer stabilize water retention. Mineral is essential for good antler growth. It can be said that mineral supplements “supercharge” the growth rate of potentially good antlers. It has been found that although we give them plenty of mineral, growth will seldom exceed genetic potential. The calcium and phosphorus in the mineral we put out for them helps them to replenish their bodies’ demand of 43% which is drawn naturally from mainly rib bones and cartilage.
The attractant I use is DEER CANE MIX. It contains sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, monosodium glutamate and natural sweeteners. It essentially contains up to 40 % sodium (salt). My choice of mineral is LUCKY BUCK. It is 12.5 % calcium, 65 % salt, infused apple flavoring and sweetener, and other balanced ingredients. It is recommended that you become very familiar with the nutritional needs of deer and always read the label on the product you are buying to assure you are giving them what they need.
When preparing a mineral site or salt lick in your favorite hunting location there are some basic things to take into consideration in order to make the lick “work” for you.
Become familiar with your woods location and how the deer are moving in your hunting area. Start this process in early summer. I put out salt first and give it some time to be hit. Once I see evidence of use at the lick, it is usually where I add attractant and mineral. Normally it takes no more than a few days.
- Scout out the corridors of travel
- Pay attention to thermal drafting…thermals travel upward in the mornings and downward in the evenings. Make sure your tree stand selection works with the thermals.
- Pick your tree in relationship to the mineral placement.
- Try to find an old log or stump to place the mineral by.
- Check prevailing wind direction…compass or GPS will give you this accurately.
- Make sure your direction of entry to the stand works wind direction in your favor. Try to have two directions to enter to your stand as an option.
- Check current sunrise and sunset positions and compare to where it will be later in the season by referring to lunar and sun charts for the year for your area.
- Acquire a good a good topographical map and pinpoint your stand with the travel corridors.
After you are comfortable with the above criteria, pack your mineral and attractant and a jug of water and head to the woods. I usually take a trusted friend to help carry the goods! Once we are at the site, I dig out around the stump or log to loosen the dirt and scoop out a pretty good hole about to 10 inches beyond what is already there. This allows me to put a layer of attractant or mineral in the bottom of the hole and then cover it with about 3 to 4 inches of dirt and then start another layer, doing this all the way to the top of the hole. This allows for the mineral to permeate the soil down deep and when water is added or natural rainfall hits it, that mineral goes deep and keeps the deer digging all season!I then set up my camera position about 15 yards from the lick and in close proximity to a tree I have chosen to place my stand later in the fall. If you will notice in the photo background, you can see my camera already in position. The tree I have chosen is 20 yards from the lick, offering an open shot from any angle. From this point on, all you need to do is check your camera once every other week and always take a little extra mineral with you to doctor the lick, keeping it fresh! Always remember, it may be troublesome to carry mineral and water into the lick, but all of that extra effort will most likely pay off during regular season. It also is a boost to your confidence level, knowing you have done all you can do. Good luck!