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Are deer stalking salt licks any good?

Deer stalking expert

Like a lot of things in life, I’m afraid the answer is: “It all depends…”

Deer licks are expensive so you need to see a real benefit to both you and the deer in order to justify the outlay.

If, for example, farm livestock have access to the ground it is likely they will take the lion’s share of the minerals and you will have to replace the licks with distressing frequency.

Also, if your deer are healthy with good body weights and the bucks /stags grow good antlers, it is probable they are already getting a balance of vitamins and minerals from their grazing and browsing.

In which case, they don’t need any supplements. Need, of course, doesn’t always equate to desire.

For example, I don’t actually need a dram of an evening but those who know me also know exactly where I will be, sitting comfortably with glass in hand, when the clock strikes to indicate the beginning of the Second Dog Watch (1800 hours): and the same will apply to your deer if they are attracted to a lick, even though they don’t actually need the contents.

Many years ago, when on leave from my ship, I used to accompany Gerald Springthorpe, a doyen of woodland deer management. I would help him collect the cleanings from the sides of the salt tanks at a Cheshire salt mine.

They were chock full of assorted minerals. In addition to the salt they were broken into pieces and put on tree stumps where they were washed by the rain.

The salt and minerals trickled into the stump so that there was still something there for the deer, even when the lick itself had gone.

So it may be worth trying a lick or two, or salt cleanings if you can get them (NOT road salt!!), or even a bit of sugar beet, or a few carrots to see if it helps the deer and/or helps you find them.