Every time my wife, Nicole, and I set up a stand in a tree or on the ground, we look for ways to make that location the best it can be. We try to enhance each stand location by making sure there are one or more calling cards available to deer.
By Pat Reeve
What is a calling card? It’s some type of object or contrivance that will entice a deer to come close to your stand and offer you a shot. Because we bowhunt so much, we have to get close. A calling card can be natural or man-made, visual or airborne — such as scent. Sometimes, one calling card is all you need. Other times, it might be smart to have several.
There are many examples of calling cards: waterholes, rubs, scrapes, licking branches, small interior food plots, minerals, apple trees and other fruit bearing trees, and decoys. Nicole and I use most of these throughout the season, and we’ve had enough success to know they work.
Minerals and Mineral Licks
Just like licking branches and mock scrapes, minerals and mineral licks are great calling cards. There are numerous mineral supplements on the market that attract deer. Most hunters and landowners who manage their property for big bucks will establish several mineral licks per hundred acres. These mineral licks are just part of the overall nutritional program.
When you establish one or more mineral licks on your property, deer will visit these sites year-round. We usually put out our mineral supplements as soon as the snow starts melting in early spring.
Mineral licks are excellent locations for trail cameras because the licks regularly attract so many deer. It’s hard to say how much some of these minerals and vitamin supplements help antler growth, but they can’t do any harm to deer.
Some of the sweeter tasting deer attractants on the market don’t have much, if any, nutritional value, but they attract deer into specific locations. In some states, certain commercial deer attractants could be construed as bait, so check local laws carefully before you use these products.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an excerpt from “Trophy Whitetails with Pat and Nicole Reeve: Tips and Tactics From the Driven Team,” which is available at www.shopdeerhunting.com.
Keep Those Pesky Bugs Away!
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