How to Create a Successful Deer Mineral Site
During early spring and into summer white-tail are actively seeking minerals, which means it’s a perfect time to establish a new deer mineral site or refresh an old one on private lands.
Minerals are the building blocks of life and supplementing can help herd health in important ways. During spring, bucks are still recovering from the rut and previous winter and starting to grow new antlers, which means their demand for minerals is high. Does are also nearing fawning and need minerals to support fetal growth and nursing.
Supplementation can ensure your deer population has the nutrition it needs, and as this University of Nebraska paper suggests, also enhance trophy potential and attract deer to specific locations you choose. Before creating a mineral site, however, check local regulations and restrictions on baiting and supplemental feeding.
So how do you establish a successful deer mineral site? Let’s cover the basics.
Choose Your Minerals
Minerals are everywhere on our lands—in soils, water, forage, brush, trees. Some areas are particularly rich in minerals, but most have at least some deficiencies. Since deer obtain most macro and trace minerals through browse and plant consumption, they’re likely to have similar deficiencies as exist in your soils. As hunters and managers, we can supplement these minerals.
Choose a Balanced Mineral Package
While wildlife experts are still unsure which specific minerals, and in what amounts white-tail need, studies show calcium, phosphorous, copper, zinc, selenium, and sodium play important roles in certain physiological functions. To learn more, read this article on the importance of deer minerals.
White-tail need these minerals and more for complete year-round nutritional support. In choosing a deer supplement with a full and balanced mineral package, you’ll be meeting the mineral needs of your entire herd four seasons of the year.
Find a Location
You’re now ready to choose the location for your mineral site. Just throwing out a rock or loose minerals near a food plot won’t necessarily make a successful site. You need a location that has good attraction and trail camera potential and where deer feel safe and comfortable. Here are three tips to help you pinpoint that perfect spot.
- Keep it off the beaten path. Choose a secluded spot away from vehicle traffic, but somewhere that also has easy access. This limits disturbance to the area when setting up or revisiting your site.
- Pick a spot where deer will find and use it. Choose a small, open area on the edge of cover. Staging areas or near bedding or main trails usually work best.
- Make sure it can be hunted over. If you’re planning to nab a buck in the fall near your site, make sure the location is conducive to your method of hunting.
Set Up Your Deer Mineral Site
It’s time to put out your minerals. Deer minerals supplements come in three basic forms: rocks/blocks, granular, and liquid. For this article, we’ll focus on rocks and granular minerals.
If you’re setting out a mineral block or natural mineral rock like Trophy Rock, keep it elevated. Place the rock on a stump, stand, post, or another large, flat rock. It will last longer in the field, and deer are more relaxed when they can lick on it in a less defensive posture.
If you prefer granular minerals, Redmond Four65 delivers all the same balanced mineral benefits as Trophy Rock, just in crushed form.
When starting a new site using Four65, dig a 1×1–foot hole at your mineral site and pour in minerals. (Check out this one-minute video to see application.) This will keep a healthy amount of minerals in the soil below your site where deer are inclined to dig.
Tip: For Trophy Rock, use 1 rock per 80 to 100 acres. For Four65, use 1 bag per 80 acres. If you have a higher deer density, use more rocks/crushed minerals.
Place a Camera
This is where the real fun begins. Placing a trail cam at your site can provide exciting and helpful information. First, it allows you to see if deer are actually visiting your site. Second, it helps you track movement, antler growth, catalogue unique deer characteristics, and spy on that monster buck you’ll be tailing in the fall. And as a bonus, you’ll likely catch some other interesting critters on camera too.
Here are a few tricks to ensure you snap all those awe-worthy moments in their best light.
- Position your camera approximately 15 feet from your mineral site. Anchor the camera about four feet up a tree, or eye level with deer visiting your site.
- Orient the camera facing north or south to avoid sun glare.
- Angle the camera towards woods to give pics a better backdrop.
Manage Your Deer Mineral Site
An effectively managed mineral site will provide nutrition for deer and other wildlife for years to come. Sites get better with age, so keeping it in the same location year to year will help deer to know where it is and keep using it. But mineral sites do require some upkeep to stay viable.
A block or rock will generally need to be replaced when it diminishes to the size of a softball. You should never let it run out completely. And if you use granular minerals, we recommend recharging your site every three months. Most sites require 30 to 50 pounds of mix per recharge.
And that’s it! You’re ready to create a successful mineral site on your property that works as a great hunting and herd management tool. You’ll feel good providing your white-tail population better nutrition, capture some awesome photos, and have more success observing and tracking your herd’s development.
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