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Find Salt and Mineral Licks to Hunt Warm Weather Deer

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Editor’s Note: Professional deer hunters and biologists know the old adage that bucks don’t move in hot and warm weather isn’t true. Bucks have to feed, bed and water, regardless of the temperature. Bucks just move very little in warmer weather. As the world experiences global warming, some of us will have to learn to hunt for hot and warm weather bucks during bow season. In Alabama, my home state, often at the first of bow season in mid-October, the temperature will hover around 90+  degrees.

During hot and warm weather, deer have a need for salt and minerals they don’t have once the weather cools-down. Therefore two places will provide warm and hot weather honey holes for the archer – old smokehouses and mineral springs. Throughout the nation, early pioneers preserved their meat by smoking and salting it. They brought their meat into a smokehouse, packed it in salt until it was dehydrated and then smoked it to add flavor and help preserve the meat. The salt pulled moisture from the meat, and the mixture from the salt and the juices from the meat dripped into the ground. Because old homesteads passed down from generation to generation, later owners often found the ground under these old smokehouses totally saturated with salt after several decades. After the old smokehouses deteriorated, the salt remained in the ground for the deer to find.

So, look for a site in the woods with an old home place and a smokehouse to pinpoint a honey hole for warm weather bucks. The deer will come into these salt licks from many directions, paw the ground and get the salt from the earth. Some of the salt licks I’ve seen may be as much as 4- or 5-feet deep with the ground pawed-up all around them. Don’t try and hunt these salt licks after the weather turns cool, because then the deer rarely will utilize these spots. But deer will use a mineral lick in warm weather.

“Once I found a site in the woods where several trails came together at a very-small spring on the side of a dried-up creek bed,” Larry Norton, a longtime deer hunter and guide from Butler, Ala.,  recalls. “At first I thought the deer had come to the spring to get water during the warm weather. But as I investigated, I saw the deer had pawed-up the ground around the spring. Apparently, this spring came from deep inside the earth and brought minerals to the surface the deer needed in that warmer weather.

“I found three distinct trails leading to the spring, which made it an ideal bow site. I hadn’t spotted the spring before, because it was 30-yards off a main road and down a bank. No one would expect deer to move that close to the road or come to a mineral lick that near highway traffic. However, after I discovered this spot and told some friends, those who didn’t mind listening to road noises took several nice-sized bucks there that came in to get minerals from this spring.”

To learn more about hunting deer, see John E. Phillips’ book at for Kindle, print and Audible books, as well as some Nook books.

Tomorrow: Watch the Pea Patches and Hunt Water in Warm Weather for Deer

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