Good hunters are always trying to find legitimate ways to bring the deer to their hunting spots. Not only can attractants bring the deer to you, but they can also help them stay healthier and help bucks develop larger racks.
My uncle and I both use mineral licks on our properties because we have seen them work. In this article, I will cover a few options to help you pick the best deer lick attractant product for your property.
Summary: Top 5 Deer Attractants
|Evolved Habitats Rack Up Deer Attractant Review||Granular||Highest mineral content|
Molasses, and fruit flavoring
|Rack Snack Deer Attractant Bait Salt Lick Review||Granular||Large bag|
Low salt content
|Imperial Whitetail 30-06 Mineral/Vitamin Supplement Review||Granular||Protein content|
|Evolved Habitats Deer Cane Apple UV Deer Attractant Review||Granular||Glo-Cote UV enhancement|
|Not as consistent, Price|
|BB2 Deer Nutritional Supplement / Attractant Review||Granular||Price|
|Lack of mineral content|
Lacking draw power
May rot in site
How Do Deer Lick Attractants Work?
First, we must all understand that the type of minerals provided is more important than the brand we purchase. One of the reasons that we use mineral licks is to help our bucks grow bigger racks.
You may think that straight salt or any other mineral used for cattle would be fine. However, deer antlers are comprised of a large amount of calcium and phosphorus. These minerals must be present to achieve the desired growth.
Be sure not just look for minerals that help with antler growth. Find a product with trace elements including cobalt, copper, iodine, magnesium, manganese, sulfur, and zinc. These all help with the development of any deer regardless of sex or age.
Sodium is another mineral that bucks need for growth. This is why salt licks do attract deer. However, the main time of year they go after sodium is spring and summer. A good attractant will work year round.
The truth is that mineral licks can help all deer, not just bucks. Young deer need these minerals for growth and for lactating. You are benefitting the whole herd with the right attractant.
How Do I Build A Mineral Site for Deer?
Mineral sites are inexpensive and easy to install, but there is a proper method. You want a combination of products that allows you to get immediate action but also that will last all year. Be aware that most mineral lick brands will offer the same product in a block, granule, and liquid form.
Here are some steps to help you get an ideal mineral site going:
- Purchase a product. For this type of site, I suggest both granular and a block.
- Find a location. Look for an area with deer trails, rubs, scrapes, and droppings. However, do not build your site directly on a trail or scrape.
- Clear away leaves and dig out an area about three inches deep and a few feet across.
- Mix loose soil with a granular product and put back into your shallow hole. You may want to add water to get the site going faster.
- Place a block on top and leave the area without further disturbing the site.
Be aware you will want to do this in the early spring if possible. Also, a game camera is a great way to see which deer are using your lick. However, try to avoid disturbing the area as much as possible.
How Do I Maintain My Mineral Site?
You have already done the hard part, but ideally, you want to keep your site as fresh as possible. The block you placed on top will last a while, but there is a good chance that it is not as rich in calcium and phosphorus as the granules.
Here are some steps you can take to keep the site fresh:
- Every three to four week apply a small amount of liquid to the site or rake in a small amount of granules in the top layer of soil.
- Always do this in the middle of the day around noon. This will help to avoid spooking the deer.
- Try to refresh your site on weekdays. When everybody else is tromping around the woods on the weekend the deer may use your site as a refuge.
- Use your trail-cam to verify that the site is being used and move it if needed.
- Wear cover-up scent on your clothes and boots when you refresh the site. This will ensure that the deer do not know you were there.
When Should You Not Use A Deer Attractant?
There are really only two scenarios where a deer lick attractant should not be used. One would be based on the regulations in your area. Obviously, do not do it if mineral attractants are not legal in your state. Most states do not consider mineral licks to be baiting.
The other would be if a chronic wasting disease is prevalent in your area. I know there are counties in my state which require you to bring in your deer for testing if you take one during the first two days of the season. However, I hunt several hundred miles from those counties.
We still do not know much about the disease other than that is causes whitetail deer to waste away and die due to neurological deterioration. It is transmitted from animal to animal by saliva, urine, and feces. The disease does make the meat unsafe to eat, so it is a real concern in some areas.
If the disease is present in your area, you do not want several deer all licking the same block. This could just speed up the spread of the disease.
We do not yet know how big an issue CWD really is. All I know is that if I spent the last 30 years planting food plots and managing my land for healthy deer, I would not want to risk anything that could ruin it.
Reviews of the 5 Best Deer Lick Attractants
Editor’s Choice: Evolved Habitats Rack Up Deer Attractant Review
This product is a granular attractant with the proper weight for one good mineral site. The primary reason we like this product is because of the mineral content. It has the highest content of Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium that Evolved has ever put into a product.
These are the primary minerals that deer use in the spring and summer to develop antlers. However, Evolved research has shown that deer draw from excess calcium and phosphorus reserves stored in their bones when they develop antlers. This means that minerals sites high in these minerals are important year round.
Jason Campbell from Evolved reminds us that “genetics, age, and nutrition will always be the most important factors in producing large-antlered bucks”. However, Phosphorus levels have also been known to affect body size in bucks as well. The minerals found in Rack Up also help with bone development in bucks, does, and fawns alike.
This product contains some additional ingredients to entice bucks. The minerals are blended with Buck Co-Cain to help draw in deer. In addition, molasses and fruit flavoring add a sweet smell that may draw better than the minerals themselves.
If you are not familiar with Evolved Habitats, attractants are all that they produce. They started out in 1992 with a single mineral attractant and have grown to over 40 products since then. They are widely regarded as producing some of the highest quality attractants on the market.
Pros: Highest mineral content, Buck Co-Cain, Molasses, and fruit flavoring
This product is also granular, but they give you a little extra in an eight-pound bag. Rack Snack is proud that they only use 26% salt leaving ample room for the Phosphorus, Calcium, and Magnesium that deer really need.
Another point to make about this product is that it is moisture activated. This means that it will smell like a new mineral site each time that the product gets wet. After each rain, you should have solid deer activity.
The two things that all attractants strive for is proper nutritional content and the ability to draw in deer. This product seems to have a good balance, and some users have gotten over 200 pictures a week off of their trail-cams.
The product has been around for over 10 years and customers absolutely swear by it. It is a bit more expensive than other products, but in some ways, it is worth it.
Pros: Large bag, low salt content, moisture activated, good balance
This granular product is a bit different than the others. Imperial Whitetail has focused on some ingredients that you do not see in other attractants. They have also scaled back to a 5 lb. bag which is still fine for a single mineral site.
The real difference is that they have added a 10% protein content to this product. The added protein specifically helps with muscle development, so deer develop more body mass during the spring and summer. This adds benefit for bucks, does, and fawns that take advantage of the site.
This product delivers essential macro and trace minerals along with vitamins A, D, and E needed for a healthy herd. While it appears that this product may sometimes struggle in enticing deer to the site, they will be healthier once they start consuming the product.
Despite the fact that they use the proprietary Devour scent in their product, the draw results were sometimes lacking. It was noticed that 30-06 must be put in the perfect location or you may struggle to get activity. On several occasions, users built a site in an initial location and had to move it because of lack of deer traffic. However, after making the adjustment the users were successful with the product.
This product is getting to the pricey end of our range coming in at twice that of Rack Up for only 5 lbs.
Pros: Protein content, additional vitamins
Cons: Expensive, inconsistent, small bag
Evolved is really stepping out to try some new tactics on this product. It has the same important minerals as all of their products, but the UV attractant is designed to appeal to the sight, smell, and taste of the deer.
This product is also moisture activated. It is suggested that you mix the product with water before applying. Then each time it rains the apple and mineral scents will become just as strong as when the product was first applied.
While it is a bit expensive at twice the cost of their other products, this deer attractant is the first we have seen that is visually attractive to deer. With the Glo-Cote UV enhancement, the product emits an ultraviolet glow that can be seen by whitetail deer from quite a distance.
It has long been known that deer can see well into the UV spectrum. Unlike humans, deer can use this UV light to navigate in dark and low light conditions. By creating a product that emits this same UV light, deer can notice the mineral site without having to rely solely on their noses.
That being said, this product has switched it up and relies heavily on apple flavoring and scent to draw in deer. While this was very effective in some cases, we also saw situations where a more conventional mineral site would work better. The cost is a bit prohibitive, but it truly provides a unique alternative.
Pros: Glo-Cote UV enhancement, moisture activated, apple scent
Cons: Not as consistent, expensive, small bag
This attractant is very different from the others we reviewed as well. There are much lower mineral content and larger amounts of fiber, protein, and fat. For example, the standard formula contains 21% crude protein, 9% crude fat, 9% crude fiber, and 2% calcium.
In most cases, this product still drew in deer and helped with antler development. However, the experiences were more mixed than the other products we reviewed. In many cases, deer would walk right past it. In some cases, they would eat corn or other products instead of the BB2.
Another issue that was mentioned is that the product does not remain effective for very long once it is applied to a site. In most cases, attractants are eaten within a few weeks. Even after the product is gone, the deer often gnaw and scrape at the soil trying to get the last few bits. This product seemed to rot after a while and started to emit a foul odor.
The best news is that you can get a 20 lb. bag for the same price as a 5 lb. bag of a competitor’s product. For that price, it may be worth a try.
Pros: Price, protein content, large bag
Cons: Lack of mineral content, lacking draw power, may rot in site
In the end, we found that the Evolved Habitats Rack Up Deer Attractant was the best value of the five products that we reviewed. This product has the highest mineral content, which we found to be vital. After all, the purpose is not just to draw in deer but to make them larger and healthier.
The product did include the Buck Co-Cain attractant. However, they also added molasses and fruit flavors. We found that this would more frequently draw deer. It also would make your site more likely to be revisited in the future.
This product does not use gimmicks to attract buyers. They use solid nutrition along with effective attractants and sell it at a reasonable price. We find that this is often the case with Evolved Habitat products.
However, the experience could be different for anybody depending on the details of their property and herd. Please take the time to give us some feedback once you select and try a product. We would love to hear what works for you and what you think of our review.
More guides: Hunting Binoculars