Are Mineral Licks Good For Deer? – Foundry Outdoors
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Are Mineral Licks Good For Deer?

If you find yourself in a situation where you want to attract more deer to your property, you may be considering using a mineral lick or salt lick as our grandparents' generation would have called them.  Before you go out and purchase one you need to ask if they are good for deer in the first place. 

Mineral licks are both safe and beneficial to deer on your hunting property. They provide helpful nutrients that deer may not be getting with their regular diet. Mineral licks also attract deer to your property and create travel patterns, improving the number of deer you are seeing regularly.   

Keep reading to better understand why these mineral licks are beneficial to your hunting area as well as a major caution before putting them out.  

Mineral Licks Provide Needed Nutrients 

Human beings often will take multivitamins to ensure that they are getting needed vitamins and minerals daily.  In the same way, a mineral lick, or salt lick, provides deer with needed nutrients to ensure good health, the ability to fight off disease, and strong antler growth.

Depending on regional differences, some minerals such as sodium, are in lesser supply from the deer's natural food sources.  Basically, the farther your hunting land is away from the ocean, the more likely it has a deficiency in sodium.  This means it can be very beneficial to their health and growth to supplement this mineral into their diet.  

Does will need the extra nutrients during the months when they are giving birth and raising fawns in the spring.  At such a critical stage in growth and development, they must be given everything they can.   

Bucks will also be seeking nutrients during this time as it is when they start growing back their antlers.  Antlers are a combination of protein and various minerals.  Male deer will shed their antlers early in the year and begin the growing phase sometime around March or April.  Having mineral licks out early in the year will benefit this process.

The best way to create a mineral lick is by buying a premixed bag from your outdoor store.  These bags have been premixed to offer the best combination of nutrients for your deer population.  They also have likely been mixed based on regional differences ensuring the best outcome possible.      

Mineral Licks Create Huntable Movement Patterns

Another aspect to consider when creating mineral licks for your deer population is that they can create travel patterns.  These patterns can make it easier to hunt the deer as they get into a routine. 

Now it is true that deer will take advantage of a mineral lick less during the fall as male deer are not growing antlers and female deer are not nursing.  That being said, I have found that by having them out throughout the year, deer get used to them and will frequent them regularly. 

By placing a hunting stand or blind on a path from the bedding area to the feeding area, you can increase the likelihood you will see deer. 

Another benefit to adding mineral licks is that it will simply attract more deer to your property.  One lick to around 80 acres of land seems to be the best number, according to Mossy Oak.  As you attract more deer, you again increase the likelihood that you will have them on your property come hunting season. 

Now that being said, you need to make sure you have other reasons for deer to visit your property.  They will not stick around solely for minerals.  Rather, they will come and go if you are not also providing food sources, water sources, and bedding areas. By using all of the above, you create an optimal environment for deer.

Make Sure Mineral Licks Are Legal In Your Area

Now while it may be beneficial to your deer population and hunting season to use mineral licks in your area, it is very important that you make sure they are legal to use.  Some states have very strict regulations on what is allowed and what isn’t when it comes to hunting.  There can be very strong fines for breaking the rules. 

Usually, the regulations fall into one of three categories.  The best way to ensure you are following the rules is simply to look up your state’s Department of Conservation and find the regulations on baiting.  But generally, they will be one of the following.   

No Regulations

Some states do not have regulations on baiting.  These states allow baiting both during the off-season and hunting season.  Even if this is the case for your state, it is best to find this out in writing before putting out minerals.    

Allowed During Off-Season

Other states will allow minerals to be put out during the off-seasons, mainly during the spring and summer months.  By doing this, the deer can receive the benefit of additional nutrients without unnaturally creating movement patterns.  These mineral licks then either have to be covered over or taken up before the fall seasons begin.    

Not Allowed

A few states do not allow any type of baiting at all.  Usually, this is due to the idea that the best way for deer to grow and flourish is to get what they need from nature.  Some species of animals have indeed been negatively impacted due to human interference.  Whether you may agree with it or not, I do not recommend going against your state’s hunting laws.  


Creating mineral licks provides additional nutrients to the deer population which helps with baby deer growth as well as antler growth.  By creating these sites, deer are not only attracted to your property but they also create movement patterns that may translate into more deer seen during hunting season. 

If done correctly, using the recommendations of the mineral lick you choose, you can end up with a healthier deer population and a better hunting season during the fall months. 

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