Putting your salt lick in the right area can help you to hold onto deer that you have been watching and ensure their health during tough conditions.
However, to get the best use out of your salt lick you need to find the best placement for it, this is usually around bedding areas or drinking spots.
Best Places to Put Salt Licks
A salt lick is usually used to attract deer to your hunting spot, but that means you’ll need to find a good hunting spot. It’s a common but mistaken belief that any spot can be used to attract deer if it contains a salt lick.
The truth is that a hunter has to identify an area that deer will congregate in first, then strategically use salt licks to entice the deer to stay longer.
Hunters looking to put salt licks on public land will have a harder time finding places than those with private land. First, it may be an area you are not familiar with. Are you sure it holds deer?
There are a lot of things to consider first, this is why you should do some scouting before looking to place salt licks.
You may also want to check the regulations to make sure it is legal to put out salt licks.
This is a handy pocket guide you can bring with you to the field. It will take you step by step on how to field dress big game animals
Once you are sure of the regulations and have done your scouting, these are the best places to put the salt lick:
- Water pools and small streams: Deer have to drink regularly, which means that they will eventually have to come regularly to a water pool, pond, or stream.
Look for locations that have a high amount of ground cover.
Setting up a salt lick near an area like this will ensure the deer benefit from it. After drinking water, they will need salt. Deer will also go looking for water immediately after getting salt.
By the way, place the salt lick in an area where it will not get wet. If you’re setting up near a stream or pond, consider how high the water will get after a rainstorm.
While a salt lick will not totally dissolve in a single rainstorm, it will dissolve if it is soaked or submerged in water.
- Bedding areas: Deer tend to have a particular or “favorite” area for resting. Typically, it is best to use mineral licks near these areas.
Of course, figuring out where the deer are resting is extremely difficult. Deer tend not to use areas that they don’t feel completely safe in.
- Game Trails: If you can identify a game trail that is being used by deer (usually by setting up trail cams near possible trails), try to get a salt lick near one. If you can, avoid placing the lick directly on the trail.
By setting up a salt lick a few feet from the trail you’ll be able to ensure that no natural habitat is compromised. The deer will find the lick via their strong sense of smell, and the trail will still be able to be used by a multitude of other animals.
Setting Up a Natural Placement Salt Lick
Once you’ve identified a good spot for your salt lick, it’s time to get it set up. While it is possible to simply place a brick of salt in a location, the best salt licks are designed to blend in with the environment.
To create a natural-looking salt lick, start by digging a series of shallow holes about six inches deep.
Fill these holes with salt mix granules, then cover them with a light layer of dirt no more than half an inch thick. Sprinkle a handful of salt on top.
This will create an area where the deer can smell the salt, but there will be no appearance of a salt lick to a passerby.
Another option is to dig a hole about a foot deep and three feet wide. Fill the entire hole with salt, then cover with dirt as before and sprinkle salt on top.
Both of these methods will create a salt lick that will last for about six months, even in heavy rain or snow.
Part of choosing a location is determining how well it can disguise or hide a salt lick. While it’s fairly easy to leave a salt lick out in the open, the fact is that any passerby will be able to see it.
Hunters walking through the area will know that this area is a good spot for finding deer; essentially, the salt lick will give away the location of any hunting spot. For this reason, many hunters choose to disguise their salt licks.
A good granule salt lick will need an area about three feet in diameter to set up. This area will need to be surrounded by cover in order for deer to feel safe enough to use it.
That means looking for an area with a small clearing, but not so large of a space that the deer won’t approach the lick.
Block Salt Licks
If you hunt on private land, you have no need to disguise your salt licks. That will free you up to use salt blocks instead of granules.
You will need to follow the same rules as granule salt licks when finding a location to place salt licks, but blocks can more easily be placed on the ground or at “deer level” in a tree.
Be aware, of course, that placing a block of salt in a tree will, over time, do a lot of damage or even kill the tree.
Deer are also not used to looking for salt in a tree (since it does not occur naturally), but because they are attracted to the scent they will usually come up to the bait anyway.
Deer will naturally find salt on the ground or on a rock, but because they are attracted to the smell there is no reason to stick to these locations.
If you don’t have to hide your salt lick, you have a lot more options in location. Place it in a location that is most convenient for you. As long as the deer can access it safely, they will use it.