A salt lick also known as a mineral lick is a location where animals can go lick the much needed minerals and nutrients from salt deposits. They are either natural occurring or artificially made. One of the popular animals that go around looking for salt licks is the deer. There are various reasons why deer go hunting for these minerals and why humans want them to do so. If you are looking to create a deer mineral lick to attract deer to your land, then here is the ultimate guide on the best salt lick for deer.
Why Deer Hunt for a Salt Lick?
Deer have been scouting for natural mineral licks for ages. Contrary to the belief of others, they love salt not just for the flavor but rather for good health! Salt is needed to create the hydrochloric acid, which is essential for digestion of food in the stomach. This is true even for deer.
Deers need salt year round, and their requirements vary depending on the season. The white tailed deer needs salt more during summer and spring because their antlers are growing during these seasons. These two seasons are also the periods when Deers are giving birth as well as nursing their fawns. They need more nutrients than usual since they are eating for themselves and the fawns. The salt helps in producing more milk for the youngsters.
Deer also need salt and mineral licks during the winter and fall months. They need it just as much then so their bodies can adapt to the cold winter months.
Finding the Perfect Salt Lick For Deer
Yes, deer need salts for proper nutrition, growth, and survival. This is why information on salt licks is so important to their survival. However, one must take note that not all salts will do. Some people make the mistake of buying minerals licks intended for horses or cattle ranch to attract deer. This is incorrect as not all salt licks are created equal and beneficial to a deer. If you are on the lookout for salt licks, then do not choose just any from a store. It is best to look for salt lick for deer rather than a product intended for other animals.
There are several things one has to consider when choosing the best salt lick for deer.
- Know the form of the popular mineral licks to choose.
There are three mineral forms available on the market, namely, block or brick, granular and liquid and each has its virtues and downside.
- Block Salt Licks
Block salt licks are preferred by many landowners whose land are with the high amount of rainfall. The block salts last longer compared to other mineral forms. However, this kind of salt lick requires more time before the mineral begin to seep in the land.
- Granular Salt Licks
The granular kind can be smoothly blended and mixed to the soil. Some of the granular salts require water for mixing while others do not. One has to take note that the water for the mixture should be non-chlorinated and distilled water.
- Liquid Salt Licks
The liquid salt lick is highly similar with the granular given that it can also seep quickly into the soil. Most users of liquid salt place such in the logs. It has, however, a downside as it does not last as long as the block salt but can still provide the needed nutrients and can attract deer to the land.
Many landowners and experts prefer to use the granular kind first and followed by the block mineral placed in the same location. This is because the granular salt can blend easily to the soil. This is followed by the block salt as it can last longer than the granular especially during the rainy months and summer. When its already late summer and early fall, landowners then refresh the land with salt deposits using the liquid type. Luckily, plenty of product manufacturers produce all three kinds.
- The technique is not cast in stone.
This normally works well for some land, but it may not for other locations. It is best to find what is best for the property by experimenting and taking note of which technique works best.
Where To Place the Salt Lick
It is not enough to know the different kinds of salts licks as well as the best technique to use for a particular site. It is equally essential to find out the best location for these salt licks. It is wrong to think that any part of the property would be an ideal site for these minerals. One has to take the time and effort to know where to place them.
- Find areas of high usage by deer.
Choosing the best location starts by going around the property by foot to scout for active edges or funnels. This is important as the deer can easily find these spot as well as feel secure to stop by them. When placing the salt on the deer trail, make sure that it is placed just near the trail but not exactly on it.
- Do not disturb the area.
When scouting for the perfect spot for the salt lick, avoid disturbing the natural habitat. Do not leave packaging of the mineral just everywhere or other items as it is best to leave the area exactly how you found it.
Just like deer feeders, knowing how many salt licks to place on the property can be quite tricky. Some experts recommend placing a mineral area for every 80 to 100 acres of the land. However, this is not a sure formula as it would depend on a variety of factors like the topography of the land, habitat diversity and intervention from humans.
One of the best ways to know the effectiveness, the number of salt licks to use and the pattern of the deer is to install a trail camera. Camera recordings, after all, are helpful in knowing the movements of the deer.
Just place the trail camera in the area nearby the mineral deposit you have created and make sure that it is appropriate for the location and it can withstand weather disturbances. Deer cameras are fun to use to see the deer movement, actions and time spent at each salt lick.
Lastly, make sure to make minimal changes to the the area where they will be located as it is essential to cause the least amount of disturbances.
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