How to Start a Deer Mineral Site that Delivers Results
April 19, 2022
Follow 5 steps to make your own deer mineral site. Also learn why deer crave salt and minerals, what minerals work best to attract deer, and where to put them.
Ah, spring. It's the much-anticipated time when nature finally puts winter to bed and hunters again trek into the woods to wake up old mineral sites or start new ones on private lands. Early March is a prime time to evaluate your hunting ground and herd's needs. Deer are coming out of winter hungry. Bucks have shed antlers and are ready to refuel on nutrients and grow their next big rack. And the landscape is flush with high-quality forage and new growth. At last, deer are able to pack on weight and prosper again after a lean winter.
Spring green-up provides a wealth of nutrients and protein-rich foods whitetails need to rebuild. But it takes more than succulent grasses and forage to fully support pregnant does and healthy antler growth in bucks. That's where minerals—and proactive hunters and conservationists like you—step in. Minerals are the building blocks of life, and providing deer a quality supplement can improve the health of your entire herd.
Setting up a mineral site is simple and requires relatively little maintenance. In this article, we'll arm you with five easy how-to steps, and discuss the best minerals to put out for deer.
Why a Mineral Site is Important
So why do deer need additional minerals—or do they? They're already everywhere on our lands—in soils, water, forage, brush, and trees. If you're lucky, your property is rich in a variety of minerals. Most, however, have at least some deficiencies caused by erosion, runoff and leaching. Since deer obtain their nutrients from the land, they're likely to have the same deficits that exist in your soil. And that's why maintaining a mineral site—especially through spring and summer—is a great way to provide your deer population nutrients lacking in their natural diet.
March through August is a critical growing period for both bucks and does, and the most important time to intake minerals. Bucks are in the peak season of antler growth. Does are supporting growing fetuses and nursing fawns. And an ample supply of balanced trace minerals can really aid these important life phases. If you want to delve a little deeper, read more about the importance of deer minerals in this blog.
A mineral site doesn't just benefit the herd, however. Here are additional perks it brings hunters:
- Attracts deer to specific locations you choose
- Increases herd health and density
- Enhances trophy and antler growth potential
- Supports does through gestation and lactation to create healthier deer moving up through the ranks
- Allows you to to scout and monitor deer through trail cameras
5 Steps to Create a Mineral Site
Setting up a mineral site is really pretty simple. Let’s cover 5 basic steps to get you started. (Before establishing a site or putting out minerals, first check your local regulations for any restrictions on baiting or supplemental feeding.)
1. Use Minerals Deer Need
While experts are still unsure of all the minerals whitetails need, studies show calcium, phosphorous, copper, zinc, selenium, and sodium play important roles for both bucks and does. Whitetails have a natural craving for salt (sodium chloride) and actively seek it out in spring to balance high water content in green grasses. This makes it a very effective carrier to deliver other beneficial minerals they need for optimum health. If you visit your local outdoor retailer, you'll find deer mineral salt supplements in these three basic forms:
- Natural rocks/manufactured blocks (learn the differences between deer rocks and blocks here)
- Granular minerals
- Liquid minerals
Each mineral site is unique, and which supplement works best for you, your property and specific purposes may be different from the hunter next door. The most important thing to remember? Pick a quality product with a complete spectrum of balanced minerals. Redmond has you covered on that front. Our Trophy Rock deer licks and Four65 crushed both deliver 60+ trace minerals and electrolytes balanced by nature to support deer health during every season and life phase.
2. Where to Put Out Minerals for Deer
You’re now ready to choose the spot for your site—but just throwing out a rock or granular product anywhere likely won't deliver results. Success is all about location. So where should you put a deer mineral site? You need an area with good attraction and trail camera potential and where deer feel safe and comfortable. Here are three tips to help you pinpoint the perfect spot:
- Keep it off the beaten path. Choose a secluded location away from vehicle traffic but that you can also easily access. A quick entry limits disturbance to the area when setting up or visiting your site to recharge minerals or check your trail camera.
- Pick a spot where deer will find and use it. Want more four-legged traffic at your site? Choose a small, open area on the edge of cover. Staging areas or locations near deer bedding, food plots, or main trails usually work best.
- Make sure it can be hunted over. If you’re planning to harvest a buck in the fall at or near your site, make sure the location works for your method of hunting.
Once you've determined where to put your site, keep it there! Mineral sites get better with age. And deer will continue using it year after year if it's in a good location and they know where to find it.
3. Set Up Your Deer Mineral Site
You can always use a rock, granular product, or liquid individually at your site. However, combining two will also deliver great results. Follow these two simple steps to put out deer minerals using a Redmond Trophy Rock lick and/or Four65 loose minerals:
- Set out your rock. Set your Trophy Rock on a stump, stand, post, or another large, flat rock. Keeping it off the ground helps it last longer in the field. Deer will also feel more relaxed licking it in a higher, less defensive posture.
- Add granular minerals below. Deer will eventually begin to dig a hole below your rock as some of the minerals leach into the soil. When this happens, simply pour a bag of Trophy Rock Four65 into the hole. The granules will incorporate into the soil and maintain a healthy amount of minerals for deer to lick. If you're starting a new site using just Four65, simply dig a 1x1-foot hole and pour in the product. (Watch the one-minute video below to see a quick application.)
Quick Tip: How many mineral sites for deer per acre should you have? Use 1 Trophy Rock per 80 to 100 acres of land. For Four65, use one 30-pound bag per 80 acres. If you have a high deer density, use more product or establish another mineral site.
4. Monitor Your Mineral Site With a Trail Camera
This is where the real fun and intel begins. Placing a trail camera 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, see antler growth, catalogue unique deer characteristics, and spy on that big buck you’ll be tailing in the fall. As a bonus, you'll likely catch some other interesting critters on camera too.
Here are a few simple tricks for placing your trail camera to ensure you snap visiting wildlife 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 pictures a better backdrop.
5. Manage and Maintain the Site
An effectively managed year-round mineral site (yes, winter minerals are also important!) will provide valuable nutrition for deer and other wildlife for years to come. Your site will require some upkeep, however, to stay viable. Here are recommendations for how often to replace or refresh minerals:
- Replace Trophy Rock when it diminishes to the size of a softball. You should never let it run out completely.
- If you're using granular minerals like Four65, recharge your site approximately every three months. Most sites require 30 to 50 pounds of mix per recharge.
We don’t recommend moving your site if you don’t have to. As mentioned, most get better with age. And if deer are hammering your site, that means they’re comfortable with its location and relying on it for what they need. If you start to see a decline in activity, you might consider relocating. A drop in activity usually suggests deer patterns have changed or they're finding what they need somewhere else. But as long as deer are using your site? Don't change it!
Want more tips and tricks? Watch the Redmond Hunt "Beyond the Rock" video below for insider info on how to set up a successful mineral site using our products.
You’re now ready to create a mineral site on your land that works as a great hunting and herd management tool. You’ll feel good providing your whitetail population better nutrition—and you'll also capture some great photos along the way and have more success observing and tracking your herd’s development. Just remember to choose a supplement with an array of balanced minerals, carefully pick your location, add a trail cam, and refresh minerals as needed to keep your site active. Click below to shop natural and balanced Redmond Trophy Rock and Four65 minerals now!
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