So many hunters out there ask the question, “What kind of mineral block or lick should I use?” There have been many articles written on this subject and there have been many different opinions both positive and negative about whether or not this type of mineral lick works, and whether or not it is healthy for deer consumption. I have seen some good results so I wanted to share with you what I do. Here is what I have found through several years of trial and error.
First of all let me say that I like to mix my own ingredients in a ‘lick area’ rather than just using a store bought mineral block. I believe it produces better results.
INGREDIENTS: Here are my own approximate ingredients that I like to use:
- DiCal Phosphate (25 lbs)
- Mineral Salt (25 lbs)
- Plain Salt (25 lbs)
You may have to search a little, but you can generally find these ingredients at your local feed mill.
I use approximately equal parts of the salts and DiCal but you can use more of the DiCal if you like, to give the lick more punch for antler growth. The DiCal is really what the antlers need more than anything to really see a difference in growth from year to year. I have used different combinations of each ingredient but have found that the more DiCal I have used, the more deer traffic the spot receives.
LOCATION & PREPARATION Step by Step:
- Choose a Spot For Your Deer Lick
I like to choose a spot where the soil stays wet to damp just about year round. For what ever the reason, the deer will use the wet spots over a dry area.
- Prepare the Area
First thing I do after I pick my spot is to prepare the area. I will dig and loosen an area of soil about 6’ x 6’ and loosen the soil down to about 1 foot deep.
- Mix It Up!
At this point I will pour the ingredients on top of each other in the middle of the area and mix them thoroughly on top of the loosened soil. Next I will mix it all together with the loosened dirt.
- Saturate With Water
Finally I will dump several 5 gallon buckets of water in until it almost soup like. This seems to dissolve the DiCal very well. It doesn’t take long for it to sink into the ground, and then you should be left with a mud puddle type consistency.
- You’re DONE!
After observing these areas that I have prepared, I have found that the deer will come in, then put there nose in it for a while, give it a few licks and kicks with their hoofs, and they will walk out of the lick and spend as much as 10 minutes licking their hoofs. (Which, I thought was quite smart on their part) After several months the licks just keep getting wider and deeper. And in the month of January I will put the same amount of ingredients in again. From what I know about antler growth, these minerals need to be in the deer’s system several months before the antler growing season. But they must need/desire it year round because they use it year round. And I have seen a difference in the overall size in the antlers the last several years. We now have deer with stickers on the points and off the beams that I have never seen before!
I hope this information will be helpful in your quest to grow healthier and larger deer, BECAUSE that is what we do!
Good luck in the up-coming season. Its time to get ready!