Some of my earliest memories were putting out salt licks with my grandpa. I was so little back then I could barely see over the grass in the clearing where his deer fed. Those outings were one of my favorite things as a kid. The blocks of salt seemed like hard candy for deer, and I won’t deny that I snuck a lick at least once.
Things have come a long way since then.
You’re a hunter. You’re an outdoorsman. You care about your animals, and you want them to be healthy. You also want to have the right habits and movements in place when it comes time to harvest that big buck. The new generation of mineral blocks helps with all of that: herd development, scouting and, of course, hunting. We’ve found four specifically that really do the trick, and we’ve laid out some tips to help you use your mineral blocks to their full potential.
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Do deer like mineral blocks?
Deer love mineral blocks. It might seem strange to you at first, but imagine how good salt tastes when you’re craving it. Now imagine if it were incredibly scarce in your environment.
Well, salt is just one of the minerals deer need to stay healthy. There are dozens of others that promote everything from pregnancy to antler growth. Deer crave these nutrients and consume them whenever they find them.
Mineral blocks vs salt licks
Most mineral blocks contain a large amount of salt. This is because deer crave it, and it’s an important mineral for their health. But unlike pure salt licks, mineral blocks also contain other vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy herd.
Another benefit of mineral blocks over pure salt licks is how long you can use them. Deer especially crave salt in the spring and summer when water and other minerals are plentiful, but come fall, they won’t want it as badly. Unlike pure salt licks, mineral blocks can be flavored to attract deer year round.
Why would you use a mineral block?
Most hunters use mineral blocks to manage herds on private land. They definitely round out a food plot. If a herd can find food, treats and nutrients all in one spot, they’re likely to come back repeatedly. Hunters can place trail cameras near mineral blocks to watch their herd’s habits and see where they go most.
Mineral blocks also keep the herd healthy. The nutrients keep the animals strong, help the does get pregnant and give birth to healthy fawns, and get the bucks ready for the rut. Most importantly, they promote big, beautiful antlers.
Some mineral blocks have strong attractant properties, so you can theoretically use them on public land if it’s allowed, maybe even for single-day hunts. This is not really their primary purpose, though.
Where should you put a mineral block?
Your best bet for placing a mineral block is along a trail towards a food source, possibly your own food plot. This way you can set up trail cameras and see which way the deer are coming into the feeding area. Come hunting season, these will be some of the best spots to hunt. Just make sure to check your local laws on mineral blocks to see if there are distance restrictions when hunting near them.
Can you make a mineral block?
If you’re a DIY kind of person, you can definitely make your own mineral blocks. It’s difficult to pack all the nutrients into them that you’ll find in our top picks, but it’s doable. Check out the video and recipe below.
The above video includes a great recipe. You can usually find fortified grains which will help your deer get the nutrients they need. Still, we decided to take this recipe a step further and add some minerals for maximum herd health and attraction.
- 1 c. molasses
- 1 c. brown sugar
- ½ c. vegetable oil
- 3 ½ c. grains (oats, barley, corn, etc.)
- ¼ c. salt
- ¼ c. dicalcium phosphate feed additive
- Preheat your oven to 350℉.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, then fill two non-stick bread pans with the mixture.
- Bake the mixtures in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and stir the mixtures. Put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the mixtures and let them cool. Place the cool mixture into a large mold and press the mixture repeatedly with a spoon until it’s well packed.
- You should now have a firm block. Let it rest overnight, then take it out to the woods.
Our Top Picks In Detail
Pink himalayan salt has got a lot of press recently for its health benefits and great taste. The Himalayan Nature salt lick lets you use this trend for hunting too.
This salt has a lot of hunting advantages over ordinary salt. For one thing, deer tend to like it a lot more. The flavor is a little richer. (You can try food-grade Himalayan salt from the grocery store to see for yourself.) Plus, the blocks are much smoother, so they don’t hurt a deer’s tongue.
You have reasons to like this lick more too. It’s harder than a normal salt block which makes it a lot more durable. It doesn’t melt as easily in rain or rough weather, so it lasts a long time. Although, the one disadvantage of that is that it takes more rain to produce the strong odor that attracts deer over long distances.
Finally, Himalayan salt is great because it’s pink. It’s pink because it contains more minerals than just salt. In fact, this lick specifically contains 84 other minerals. It’s healthy for deer and helps them keep strong and grow large antlers. If you track a herd on your property, this is a great option for helping them get the nutrients they need while attracting them where you want them at the same time.
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- Attractive flavor
- Smooth surfaces
- Long lasting
- 84 minerals
- Aroma not as strong as others
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Monstermeal Protein Block
For a block, Monstermeal covers all the bases. It has high amounts of protein which makes it great for the early season when bucks are trying to keep strong for the coming rut. It also has vitamins and minerals that promote antler growth and sweet molasses to keep the deer coming back for more.
The high-protein formula also encourages herd growth and stability. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really help out public-land hunters, but if you’re maintaining a herd on your property, consider this option. It helps the does stay healthy and give birth to more and healthier fawns. It also helps your bucks get big.
If you really care about your deer, you want to know what you’re feeding them. The Monstermeal Protein Block has all the ingredients right on the front of the package so you know what you’re getting. Plus, for a big 25-pound bag, it comes at a great price.
- Great for herds
- High protein
- Vitamins and minerals
- Attractive flavors
- Great for early season
- Low price range
- Not great for public land
AntlerMax Premium is made by Purina Mills, a company that knows how to feed animals. More than anything, though, this deer block wins for its convenience and special features that you might not find on your everyday block.
You get a lot for your money. Twenty pounds, that’s great. Even better, though, you don’t have to worry about awkwardly carrying it. The carrying handles make it easy to take even through dense wooded areas to get the block to the best spot to attract your deer. We also love the WeatherGuard that protects the block from degrading in the elements.
As the name suggests, AntlerMax is designed to get you the most out of your bucks this season. It has high protein and mineral content with ratios calculated specifically to maximize antler growth. Deer usually prefer protein and vitamins in the pre or early season, but this block is acorn flavored which keeps them coming year round. Deer like acorns in the late season as well because of their high fat content.
This block is great for anyone who’s really focusing on trophy hunting this season. If you have big bucks on your property, this is a good way to keep them strong and get them the nutrients they need to grow the best rack possible.
- A lot for your money
- Carrying handles
- Formula for antler growth
- Acorn flavor
- Usable year round
- Not great for public land
These licks are really just rocks. And that’s awesome. They’re 100% natural, mined out of Redmond, Utah. The salt is blown out by dynamite, and the chunks are sold as licks. It’s about as simple as that. If you want an all-natural solution to both attract and nourish your deer, this is a great choice.
Of course, being all natural, this lick isn’t just salt. It has a variety of minerals including calcium and phosphorus, two of the most important elements for antler growth. These minerals also promote healthy fawns, strong herd development and the overall well-being of your deer.
Deer are also attracted to the scent. Especially in wet conditions, they can smell it from a long ways off. This is great for building herd habits and tracking their movements, but it also means you can potentially use this as an attractant on a single-day public-land hunt if you’re legally able.
Trophy Rock is a quality product and comes in a higher price range for its weight. It’s American made, though, and you’ll be supporting American industry. It’s versatile too. It says right on the package you can use it for hunting, herd management and observation.
- 100% natural
- Attractive scent
- Variety of minerals
- Promotes antler growth
- Higher price range