If you happen to see a salt block, rest assured that you can either find a deer or two roaming close by waiting for the opportunity to snack away. Yes, this salty treat is among the deer’s favorite things to consume and can be a hunter’s very best friend. But why are these critters so drawn to these unusual treats?
Why Do Deer Like Salt Blocks?
Simply put, deer like salt blocks because they taste good, nourish them, and make them feel happy.
Deer are often drawn to salt blocks or salt, in general, because its consumption triggers a biochemical reaction in their brains that makes them happy.
When deer consume salt, it triggers their brain to release dopamine or what is commonly called the “happy hormone”. The release of this hormone is often associated with rewards, pleasure, and motivation.
As a result, deer often flock towards salt blocks or consume salt whenever they get the chance. Some would even say that these critters are pretty addicted to the stuff.
It’s not just deer, too. Even humans can experience a similar form of biochemical reactions upon consuming salt. This is why we are often drawn towards salty foods such as chips, fries, and the like.
In addition to that, salt blocks aren’t just things that deer like to consume. In some ways, they need to consume them because of the many benefits and nutrients that it provides the creature — nutrients that are very much necessary for its continued survival.
Are Salt Blocks Good For Deer?
Aside from being a great treat for deer, salt blocks can also contain several nutrients that support the deer’s overall growth, well being, and survival if consumed in a regular basis.
While it may not be able to sustain the deer alone or completely replace this creature’s natural diet, salt blocks can provide the deer with certain forms of nutrients that are necessary for the deer’s overall health.
Aids in Digestion
The salt that salt blocks provide allow deer to form hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is found in our stomachs and is responsible for the proper breakdown of food and absorption of its nutrients.
Aside from the obvious sodium, salt blocks also often contain numerous other minerals such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and more. These minerals supplement the deer’s and other animals’ diets.
Supports Antler, Bone, and Muscle Growth
The nutrients obtained from salt blocks are also especially crucial for certain body functions such as bone and muscle development of growing deer.
This is especially true for bucks as they consume a lot of salt during the warmer seasons as it helps them grow their antlers out and develop stronger muscles.
Aids Pregnant and Nursing Does
Doe, on the other hand, also consume a lot of salt during spring and summer in order to provide nutrients for herself as well as her young.
Pregnant doe consume the most salt because it is trying to get enough nourishment to support her growing baby. Salt consumption assists in strengthening the doe so that she may be able to safely deliver her fawn when birthing time comes.
After birth, she continues to consume large amounts of salt to aid in lactation to ensure that she has plenty of milk to feed her fawn.
Sustains Them Over Winter
While they may not consume them with the same fervor as they would in warm weather, salt blocks also play a crucial role in helping deer tide over the cold weather.
The consumption of salt blocks during the cooler seasons of fall and winter provide deer with the necessary nutrition they need to survive the colder climate.
What Kind of Salt Blocks or Deposits Are Best?
One can have many options of salt blocks to choose from. Commercially made salt blocks can come in various flavors and scents to attract deer and can be infused with various nutrients and supplements to ensure the creature’s health and growth during regular consumption.
Given the many options available, people can often get confused which one to get. To assist you, here are some examples of different kinds of salt deposits:
- Pressed Salt Blocks
These blocks are plain, old blocks of sodium chloride that have been manufactured and heat-pressed into the form of a rectangular or square block.
They don’t have added minerals or nutrients and are good options for those looking for cheap blocks without the added frills.
These blocks work well for warm seasons such as spring and summer but have been found to be less attractive to deer during the colder seasons.
Despite being hard, heavy blocks, these salt deposits are susceptible to rain and humidity that can cause it to dissolve.
- Mineral Blocks
These blocks are essentially salt blocks with around seven to ten more added minerals to it. Because of the added nutrients, these blocks are a little bit better at nourishing the deer as well as supporting and increasing its overall health.
Sometimes they may even contain artificial scents and flavors to be able to generate greater success rates in attracting deer. Some flavors and scents include apples, sugar beet, sweet corn, and a lot more.
While this option can contain more nutrients, it can also contain more harmful items in the form of the synthetic scents and flavors that can be detrimental to deer health when consumed in excess.
Much like regular salt blocks, these blocks are also susceptible to rain and humidity that can cause the salt deposit to dissolve.
- Mineralized Salt Rocks
Unlike your conventional manufactured salt blocks, these salt deposits are pure, natural rocks sourced from USA mines with ancient salt deposits.
Because they are naturally-sourced, they contain all-natural minerals, salt, and electrolytes that you can’t really get from processed alternatives hence making them a greater option.
These salt rocks also blend much better in the environment so deer don’t really draw suspicion to their presence and are more likely to approach them without caution. This added discretion also allows you to hide your hunting spot from rival hunters much better.
These salt deposits are also much more resistant to rain or humid weather as opposed to commercially produced salt blocks.
- Powdered Salt/Mineral Mix
Salt in powder form can also be a great option for those who are not interested in lugging around a salt block to a designated area. They are lighter and thus much easier to carry around and transport as opposed to the weighty salt blocks and rocks.
It is also a little bit more discreet and can attract deer to a certain location without raising suspicion or tipping off any rival hunters who may be looking to swoop in.
This salt form is also extremely versatile and can be used in many different ways.
You can simply sprinkle it on the ground or construct your own personal, concealed salt deposit with it.
To construct a salt deposit with powdered salt, just dig a hole deep enough to hold your salt, pour the salt or mineral mix in, cover it with dirt, and voila! You have your very own concealed salt deposit.
Make sure to sprinkle a little bit of the salt or mineral mix on top of the deposit to attract deer to the location.
You also have the option to mix it in with protein powder or other powder supplements for deer in order to be able to provide a bit more nourishment for these creatures.
Since it is in powder form, you can spread it around much easier and therefore cover a greater amount of land with it. However, this makes it a lot more susceptible to the elements as wind and rain can displace or dissolve it easier.
- Liquid Salt
An even more discreet way to deposit salt into certain areas is through the use of liquid salt. Its liquid form allows it to be absorbed into soil and trees much better allowing you to turn virtually anything in the deer’s surroundings into a “salt block” of forms.
However, much like the powdered form, it doesn’t last as long as blocks and can be a much easily affected by wet weather and other elements of nature.
If you plan on attracting or just helping out deer in your area by placing salt deposits for them to chow down on, you may want to place them near stumps or common bedding and grazing areas so deer can have an easier time getting to them.
Also, before utilizing salt deposits for any purpose, make sure that you check with local officials with any regulations that may be in place regarding their placement or use as some states consider the use of salt deposits illegal.
Deer are attracted to salt blocks because they taste good, make them feel good, and provide lots of necessary nutrients and minerals for their survival and growth. This natural behavior can and the utilization of many different kinds of salt deposits can be of great help for scouts or hunters looking to locate deer at any point of the year.
However, always remember that salt blocks can sometimes be regulated or considered illegal in some areas so make sure that you check with local officials before utilizing salt blocks in any way or form.