Deer Mineral Stations

Want to get more trail camera images than you've ever gotten before? Want to chronicle antler growth from leathery nubs to full velvet crowns? Want to find a way to make the thrill of deer season last throughout the spring and summer? Mineral stations are the ticket — not just for providing your local deer herd with a boost in nutrition, but also for maximizing your off-season trail camera opportunities.

WHERE AND HOW MANY?

The first step to establishing successful mineral stations is identifying the right number for your property and the best locations for them. Personally, I like one for about every 20 acres or so. As for specific locations, choose what works for you. As long as there are deer in the area, they'll find your mineral stations.

My personal preference is to choose a location that's about 40 to 50 yards inside of cover near a destination food source such as an ag field with a nearby water source. History has told me what areas attract the most deer traffic, and I'll simply establish my mineral stations near those areas.

HOW TO DO IT

Moultrie Deer Magnet Liquids

This is where things get technical. First, open a bag of Moultrie Deer Magnet Earth. Next, dump it on the ground. That's it.

I like to scrape out the area with a stick to remove leaves and debris, though doing so isn’t critical. Some folks like to pour the mineral on an old stump or in a depression. Either way, the mineral will work itself into the soil over time, and after a few weeks the site will become well defined.

Deer Magnet Earth has a bit of an enticing smell, but to really enhance the site and its initial attractiveness, I like to top it with a liquid attractant. Personally, I’ve had great success with Green Apple, though Acorn and Persimmon are potent and effective as well. All of these liquid attractants contain valuable minerals as well.

WHY MINERALS?

Aside from creating ideal conditions for capturing a ton of quality trail cam images, mineral stations can provide much-needed minerals and nutrients during a key period of the whitetail's year. Lactating does need calcium, salt, phosphorous, and other trace minerals while nursing fawns, and mineral stations can help provide those.

During antler growth, bucks can benefit from additional supplies of those same nutrients. And all deer need a bit of a boost coming out of a hard winter. Mind you, mineral stations aren't going to add 80 inches of antler to a yearling buck. But they can help put deer in optimal condition for maximum production, be it in fawn rearing or antler growth.

NOW WHAT?

With the mineral stations established, it's time to hang cameras and enjoy the fruits of your minimal labor. You should see deer hitting the sites quickly — sometimes the same day they are established. I'll charge each site as soon as the frost leaves the ground, then every six to eight weeks through September. Be sure to check your local regulations to determine if/when mineral sites are allowed and if they must be removed prior to hunting season. Tony Hansen

About the Author: Tony Hansen manages for and hunts mature whitetails in his home state of Michigan, where sweating the details is the only way to succeed. When not hunting his own properties, he can be found pursuing deer on public land throughout the whitetail’s range. Tony’s writings have appeared in Outdoor Life, Traditional Bowhunter, North American Whitetail, and Bowhunter.