A brief science lesson (told by a true redneck):
Deer have been using natural salt lick’s since the dawn of time (or at least since the creation of the whitetail). A deer’s need for salt varies by season. Salt is most needed by whitetails in the spring and summer. In this time of the year,buck’s are growing their antlers and need as many nutrients as they can get. At the same time,Doe’s are birthing and caring for their fawns,which means that any time they get to a food source,they are eating for two,since a doe uses much of her nutrient intake to make milk for her fawn/fawns. Deer also draw to salt during the fall/winter months. The reason’s vary from rut drawing energy out of both bucks and does,as well as the cold weather making it increasingly hard to find food,not to mention the amount of energy it takes to just survive in sub freezing temperatures. Here are a few tips on how/where to place salt lick’s,pulled from my personal experience.
Where: This is the first thing you will have to determine when considering placing a salt lick. The general rule says to put your lick somewhere close to where you know deer are traveling on a regular basis. This generally means putting it on a heavy trail,on the edge of a field,or even next to a pond (I’ve seen great success for this particular method).
How:The key is to not set the lick smack dab in the middle of a trail. Deer are creatures of habit,and disturbing their travel routes this much may make them consider moving elsewhere. Instead, place the salt about 5-10′ away from the main travel route. Deer will generally smell that salty goodness,and find it more quickly than you might think. One thing that has helped us recently when setting up a new lick, is to put some liquid attractant into the salt lick when you first put it down. This helps deer find that salt much more quickly,as the liquid puts off a stronger aroma.
Other Tactics: Another method we have employed lately is a “Licking stump”. This is where you pour some sort of thick molasses attractant and let is soak into the stump. I’ve seen deer actually eat the stump because it tastes so good. This is also a GREAT way to get trail cam pictures,which is how we’ve used this method.
Be sure and check with your local hunting regulations,as using salt licks is considered baiting in some places. Good luck,and good huntin’!