It wasn’t too many years ago that a deer hunter’s herd management plan included nothing more than throwing out a salt block or two on the property they hunted. Some hunters would keep these salt licks off-limits for hunting, while others hung a treestand within easy reach and hunted it like a bait site. But times have certainly changed, and there are now more products for your deer herd management than you could possibly ever use in a lifetime.
But one question I often hear is, “Are mineral licks actually any more effective than using a pure salt lick?” So here’s a look at some of the facts that may help you decide what you want to offer the deer in your neck of the woods in the days ahead when it comes to a mineral lick VS. salt lick.
“Whitetail deer get most of the nutrients and water their diet requires in the spring and summer months by ingesting succulent plant growth,” says Mike Rex of Heartland Wildlife. “The increased water and potassium uptake create a sodium deficiency which causes them to crave salt. However, the attractiveness of salt diminishes greatly during the fall and winter months rendering pure ‘salt licks’ ineffective to the hunter.”
The bottom line? Salt is just salt. Yes, deer will dig a crater in the ground to get it, but they do need more if you want to maximize these lick sites year-round. Mineral licks provide more for growth than salt alone.
So what’s the best bet when it comes to mineral licks?
Why not make your own?
HSS sales manager, Joe Laseter, has a proven recipe he’s been using with incredible results on the properties he’s hunting. Below is a look at what Joe had to say about this D.I.Y. mineral lick concoction.
As mentioned above, salt alone is not enough to maximize results year-round. That’s why your mineral licks should include more.
“The mix I use includes 3 different ingredients,” says Laseter. “They each come in 50-pound bags which are available at most Co-Op or Ag stores.”
The ingredients include Trace mineral salt, Di-calcium phosphate, and dried molasses.
“I take a 5-gallon bucket and use 1/4 Di-calcium phosphate and divide the rest 50/50.
The Trace Mineral salt has all the different minerals which deer need after a long winter. Di-calcium phosphate is what promotes the growth of antler inches, but you don’t want to add too much. “Adding too much can make it too bitter and deer won’t use it,” says Laseter.
The dried molasses gives the mix a sweet taste which keeps them coming back throughout the year. “The good thing I’ve noticed is that the deer will continue using this lick even during hunting season,” says Laseter. “It’s not a season mix that only use at particular times of the year.”
The cost of this D.I.Y. mineral mix is about $65 and will do about 4 spots on the properties you hunt.
Add better mineral licks to your hunting property this year and see if it doesn’t result in more bone in the woods - and on your wall.