I wanted to share some of my tips for creating successful mineral sites for your deer herd. You can learn more about my products at http://bioplots.com/, but these tips will also work with most of my competitors.
1. The ideal time to begin a mineral site is late winter through mid-spring.
2. Consider camera placement when choosing your site. Locate a good tree to set up on approximately 15' away from the site. Ideally you want the cam to be facing north for the least amount of sun interference.
3. Clear out a spot approximately 6' in diameter and rake it down to the bare soil. Apply the mineral evenly over the area. A light coating is ideal, just covering the soil. You can mix it in yourself or wait for rain to work it in for you. Piling it up should be avoided.
4. In the woods, choose locations near water sources. Trail intersections near creek beds are great. Anytime you can blend in nearby cover is good.
5. Near fields, focus on locations near warm season forage. Secluded corners of soybeans are perfect. Also food plots like cowpeas, lablab, jointvetch, red clover, etc. are great. Expect mostly night pics, but lots of them. I actually prefer this method so that I do not enter the deers comfort zone any more than necessary. A spooked big deer aint no fun to hunt in the fall... IF he is still in the neighborhood.
6. If possible, look for clay soil to start a mineral site. The attractant (typically salt) will last much longer on clay than sand. You can expect up to three months on clay soil.
7. Refresh your sites on sandy soil monthly, as the salt will leach out quickly. Vitamins also break down relatively quickly and benefit from being replenished monthly. The calcium and phosphorus do not leach nearly as fast, but they will not be consumed without the salt as bait.
8. Read the label and understand what you are getting in a mineral supplement. Biologists recommend a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus plus vitamins to aid in absorption of the minerals. Salt is required as bait, but it shouldn't be the main ingredient. There are many products marketed as "minerals" that are not much more than salt blocks.
9. Leave the site alone! Checking cams every two to four weeks is OK, but please do not go in there every other day.
10. Mineral sites offer a great way to ensure that your deer are not short on any bone building nutrients and watch them grow throughout the summer, but do not expect them to replace good herd management, lack of habitat, food plots, or especially those 2 young bucks that your neighbor shot last year that would have been NICE this year!