Steps for a Great Mineral Site
There are countless mineral products on the market. The purpose of mineral is to enhance a deer herd with the aim of providing whitetails with a full balance of minerals needed both for health and rack growth. When creating mineral sites it is wise to create them in concealed areas where deer have cover. Mature deer are much more likely to enter a place with cover. The best approach is to mix minerals with dirt. Deer naturally prefer to eat dirt in mineral rich areas, by mixing the mineral with dirt the natural occurrence of minerals has been duplicated to some degree. It is also worthwhile to consider putting a water source near the mineral location if possible. Some individuals prefer to put minerals on old stumps. This can also be an effective way to use minerals as the deer will eat the old rotting stump.
I recommend using trail cameras over mineral sites to get deer inventories. It is quite effective to check the trail camera the as little as possible. Human scent is typically a negative for mature deer activity. Most mineral products last long enough that they do not need to be refreshed all that often.
Developing multiple mineral sites on larger properties is a smart approach to holding deer and providing adequate nutriments for the year round needs of whitetails. Here is a phenomenal Realtree video on how to make mineral areas with two of the products listed below. I’ve slightly changed my formula from the recommendations in the video to using equal parts of Producers Pride General Purpose Mineral and American Stockman Big 6 Trace Mineral Loose Salt (if you’re willing to spend more money by all means use more General Purpose Mineral than Loose Salt). It can be effective to get a shovel out and mix the mineral and dirt throughly, but this is not necessary.
If your goal is to create a permanent mineral site for long-term use then the more mineral used the better (consult state regulations before determining how much to put out). However if you’re looking to cover numerous areas with 100 -150 pounds of mineral created by mixing these bags of minerals mentioned in the video plan to only use anywhere from 1/2 a gallon to 1 gallon of minerals in each location. This will allow you to split the 100-150 pounds of mineral across a number of different mineral sites.
The mineral mix of Producers Pride Mineral combined with American Stockman loose salt, Trophy Rocks, and American Stockman salt blocks are the only minerals I’ll likely ever use again unless someone proves to me something works better and is more affordable then these options. I’ve had tons of success with these more affordable options. Trophy rocks or American Stockman salt blocks are great for locations you’ll rarely ever visit since they last a long time (the American Stockman blocks are big enough to be split in half). Loose minerals are better for locations that you eventually refresh and I’d use them in combinations with a block in your best mineral locations.
According to Dr. Deer (James Kroll) these are the macro nutrients that are critical to an effective deer supplement: Calcium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Sulfur. Calcium and Phosphorus are the two most important minerals that any supplement needs. Notice the Producers Pride mineral contains a substantial amount of Calcium and Phosphorus. Mineral products that lack in those two critical ingredients are likely selling you salt. A prime example of that is Trophy Rock. While it is a great product, it is primarily salt. The value in trophy rock is it’s all natural and it last for some time. Attempt to find the right balance of mineral to salt. Deer love salt, but also need these other nutrients for antler growth, fawn production, lactation, and general growth needs.
Mineral Product Guide (in order of preference):
- Producers Pride General Purpose Mineral: By far the most effective product for the cost. This product mixed with American Stockman salt below. It is affordable and very effective. Sold at Tractor Supply Co. ($14.99 for 50 lb. loose mineral)
- American Stockman Big 6 Trace Mineral 50 lbs Loose Salt: This product mixed with Producers Pride General Purpose mineral is a great mineral mix found at Tractor Supply stores or general farm stores ($5.49 for 50 lb. loose mineral).
- Trophy Rock Mineral: This products attracts both buck and does. Without a doubt this is one of the best minerals on the market. Found at nearly any hunting store or farm supply store. ($12-15 price range for 12 lb. block)
- American Stockman Big 6 Trace Mineral Salt Block: This product is effective for those looking for a deal on a mineral block and is found at tractor supply or a local farm store. ($5.99 for a 50 lb. block)
- Evolved Habits Rack Up: The evolved habits line offers this complete mineral from a well known company. This product can be found at many hunting and farm supply stores. ($8.99 for 6lb. loose mineral)