Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
In this blog series we?re looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter?s area. We?ve looked at food plots, selective harvest,deer surveying, and herd balance already in this series and in this entry we'll look into the concept of "mineral sites".
Mineral sites, in many cases, are one of the most overlooked and underutilized parts of a game management strategy. Mineral sites provide deer with great sources of vitamins and nutrients that they need throughout the year. We put in a lot of work creating food plots and we're selling ourselves short if we don't compliment them with mineral sites. Mineral sites are not too difficult to create and can pay big dividends in the long run.
Mineral sites provide similar benefits as food plots in that they help increase deer health which in turn helps them better survive the rut and the winter. Having a healthy deer, whether it be a doe or a buck, is great for the whole herd when it comes to breeding, reproduction, and survival. Most importantly for those seeking "monster bucks", mineral sites are great locations where bucks will get nutrients that aid in rack growth and development. A buck's antlers grow during the summer months and this is the time when they will really visit mineral sites.
It's a good practice to keep mineral sites in a consistent location year after year. Rain helps the minerals dissolve into the soil which creates a location that will be frequented by deer long after the minerals are no longer visible. Hang a game camera up over a mineral site and watch the pictures as time passes. The results may be surprising and this is a great way to survey your deer. Just ask anyone that keeps mineral sites year after year, the deer will literally dig a hole in the ground seeking out the minerals and nutrients.
It's a good idea to start mineral sites in April, refresh them in July, then again in October. Experienced mineral site managers say it's good to have mineral sites along a deer's travel route in a low spot that can hold moisture. Hunters who I know that are serious about game management keep minerals sites year round in various parts of their hunting properties.
One thing to clarify though, don't confuse simply putting out a salt-block with creating a mineral site, they are two different things! A mineral site usually has a mixture of nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, and several different types of vitamins which greatly benefit deer.
There are several mineral site products available for purchase and I'm not going to endorse any certain one because communicating the principal of why hunters should create mineral sites is my main goal here. Each product will have different methods for implementation so be sure to read the directions for whichever product you select.
Start a mineral site and see what happens!