Some of my earliest memories were putting out salt licks with my grandpa. I was so little back then I could barely see over the grass in the clearing where his deer fed. Those outings were one of my favorite things as a kid. The blocks of salt seemed like hard candy for deer, and I won’t deny that I snuck a lick at least once.
Things have come a long way since then.
You’re a hunter. You’re an outdoorsman. You care about your animals, and you want them to be healthy. You also want to have the right habits and movements in place when it comes time to harvest that big buck. The new generation of mineral blocks helps with all of that: herd development, scouting and, of course, hunting. We’ve found four specifically that really do the trick, and we’ve laid out some tips to help you use your mineral blocks to their full potential.
Do deer like mineral blocks?
Deer love mineral blocks. It might seem strange to you at first, but imagine how good salt tastes when you’re craving it. Now imagine if it were incredibly scarce in your environment.
Well, salt is just one of the minerals deer need to stay healthy. There are dozens of others that promote everything from pregnancy to antler growth. Deer crave these nutrients and consume them whenever they find them.
Mineral blocks vs salt licks
Most mineral blocks contain a large amount of salt. This is because deer crave it, and it’s an important mineral for their health. But unlike pure salt licks, mineral blocks also contain other vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy herd.
Another benefit of mineral blocks over pure salt licks is how long you can use them. Deer especially crave salt in the spring and summer when water and other minerals are plentiful, but come fall, they won’t want it as badly. Unlike pure salt licks, mineral blocks can be flavored to attract deer year round.
Why would you use a mineral block?
Most hunters use mineral blocks to manage herds on private land. They definitely round out a food plot. If a herd can find food, treats and nutrients all in one spot, they’re likely to come back repeatedly. Hunters can place trail cameras near mineral blocks to watch their herd’s habits and see where they go most.
Mineral blocks also keep the herd healthy. The nutrients keep the animals strong, help the does get pregnant and give birth to healthy fawns, and get the bucks ready for the rut. Most importantly, they promote big, beautiful antlers.
Some mineral blocks have strong attractant properties, so you can theoretically use them on public land if it’s allowed, maybe even for single-day hunts. This is not really their primary purpose, though.
Where should you put a mineral block?
Your best bet for placing a mineral block is along a trail towards a food source, possibly your own food plot. This way you can set up trail cameras and see which way the deer are coming into the feeding area. Come hunting season, these will be some of the best spots to hunt. Just make sure to check your local laws on mineral blocks to see if there are distance restrictions when hunting near them.
Can you make a mineral block?
If you’re a DIY kind of person, you can definitely make your own mineral blocks. It’s difficult to pack all the nutrients into them that you’ll find in our top picks, but it’s doable. Check out the video and recipe below.
The above video includes a great recipe. You can usually find fortified grains which will help your deer get the nutrients they need. Still, we decided to take this recipe a step further and add some minerals for maximum herd health and attraction.
- 1 c. molasses
- 1 c. brown sugar
- ½ c. vegetable oil
- 3 ½ c. grains (oats, barley, corn, etc.)
- ¼ c. salt
- ¼ c. dicalcium phosphate feed additive
- Preheat your oven to 350℉.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, then fill two non-stick bread pans with the mixture.
- Bake the mixtures in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and stir the mixtures. Put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the mixtures and let them cool. Place the cool mixture into a large mold and press the mixture repeatedly with a spoon until it’s well packed.
- You should now have a firm block. Let it rest overnight, then take it out to the woods.