Mineral or Salt Licks can improve the quality and health of your local deer herd. “Lick Love” works best to keep deer on your property and attract fresh genetics to your area. Here’s how to best use Licks in your hunting area.

The one thing to remember is that there is never just one thing! Every hunter wants to harvest a heathy Big Buck! Most will try anything legal to ensure this outcome. Food plots, baiting, Timber improvement, water and land management, are all good ideas. Licks can also help.

Mineral and Salt Licks are most popular. The best time to place your Licks is NOW! For best results, Spring Greenup is best. Bucks have shed their old racks and immediately begin growing the next generation of antlers.

Lick Love will work best if you have control over your hunting property. One well located Lick Site is best for every 100 acres. After learning your property, find an area that is near the center. Water or bedding areas make for good locations. If you have Natural Licks on your property, enhance these areas. It may take years to get deer to regularly pattern to your new Lick Sites.

Common mistakes made by Lick Lovers are to place them near their hunting stand. Other critters will use your Licks and can ruin a hunt. Hunters also tend to visit the Lick Sites too much. This only leaves your scent, disturbs the deer, and defeats the purpose of placing licks. Smart hunters do not disturb bedding areas and Lick sites.

Most Lick Love happens at night. Check on your deer using a deer camera. This will give you an idea of what your deer herd looks like. Lick Love happens when conditions are dry and hot. Spring to August is prime Lick Love season. Placing licks during hunting season will impact next year’s herd but not the current population. Lick manufacturers will argue that Fall use is good but… their goal is to sell a product.

Deer Love Licks because they offer salt. Minerals are bitter and will not attract deer. That’s why some Lick additives include apple, molasses, and sweeteners to improve taste and mask the mineral flavor. Salt is also found naturally and may be why some areas have great deer herds. Farmers also use Licks for cattle and other farm critters. Deer will also visit these areas.

11 Minerals are found in deer antler. Calcium and Phosphorus make up about 60 % of the antler. 40 % of antler is protein. When antlers are in the Velvet growing stage, this changes to 80% protein and 20 % minerals. As the antler grow up to an inch a day, and deer can use minerals for proper nutrition. Salt helps with overall health and wellness. Once the Velvet dies, in mid-August, the lick no longer serves a purpose for antler growth.

All deer and natures critters are attracted to Licks. The salt and minerals will help with all of their general health needs. Licks serve more as a vitamin supplement for health than antler grower.

Sportsmen are always looking to do things on the cheap. One Allegheny County hunting friend used to dump a cheap 50 lb. bag of road salt into a stump on his hunting property. The deer would eat the stump apart to get to the salt. A huge crater was left when the deer ate the dirt beneath the stump. Each Spring, he would drag in a new stump and repeat the trick. For over a decade, the Hunting camps harvest was great. When he passed, no one kept up his salt stump chore. Harvest declined and the club folded.

Here is a smart way to make your own Lick Supplement.


One 50 Lb. sack of Dicalcium Phosphate

Two 50 Lb. sacks of Trace Mineral Salt (this will contain additional minerals such as zinc, manganese, and iron)

You can find these materials at a Farm Store where feed and fertilizer are sold. Agricultural animals benefit from many of the same nutritional needs. The Dicalcium Phosphate will cost $25-30 a sack. The Salt will be $12-15 a bag.

During the hot summers, deer are looking for salt. Locate a spot on your property where there is water. After salt, deer need water. Bedding areas are a good idea. Deer trails will show you where deer travel but place the Lick Site several feet ff a trail. Pick an area that will be left as a sanctuary. Once you apply the Lick, it will not need attention for 6 months. If you must visit the site, use a Camera that you can access digitally.

Clear an area that is 5-6 feet across and shovel up the dirt. Mix the Lick Love in a ratio of 2-1. Salt masks the bitter taste of the minerals so twice as much is needed. One lick per 100 acres is all that is a rule of thumb. Too many Licks is less effective. Dump the lick material over the cleared area and stir It with the shovel. A bucket of water will help set the powder and keep it in place.

It may take a few seasons to really notice a difference in your deer herd. Attracting other deer will enhance genetics. Heathier does will reproduce healthier overall deer. Larger branched antlers will become more common. The results can be monitored using your deer cam images. At the very least, you will be enhancing local overall deer health.

Take time to add some Lick Love to your hunting area!

Montana Grant

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