Why Deer Love Mineral Licks After a Rain

mineralsThe smart deer hunter is always observing: Why do most of the bucks travel E-W in a patch of woods…why do does and fawns like a particular corner of a plot…why do deer flock to mineral licks after a heavy rain?

We’ve had a lot of heavy rain this summer, and an hour or so after each rain ends (no matter the time of day) my Spartan Camera app blows up with images of deer with their heads stuck in water-filled mineral holes. Must be something to it, so I reached out to biologists and mineral experts, most of whom had observed the same thing.

While we’re not sure why this occurs, we theorize that heavy rain roils a mineral site, pulling certain minerals off the soil and suspending them in water, where deer can “lick” them easily. As the water recedes, suspended minerals settle on the topsoil, again easily consumed by the deer. Water also causes leaching of the minerals, and perhaps that’s a factor.

Anyhow, check your cameras after a rain and see what you’ve got.

4 thoughts on “Why Deer Love Mineral Licks After a Rain

  1. Question for you Mike. Is it possible for either EHD or CWD to be spread in mineral sites like the one you posted the pic of?

    It seems like every year, we hear more about both diseases and the things we should/should not do and I wondered what you thought.

    • Jim, not EHD, that’s caused by bugs biting deer. CWD is another thing, some scientists believe that bait or minerals that congregate deer can cause the spread because prions from the saliva/droppings, etc. from CWD-diseased deer could be picked up by deer who come to east/consume food or minerals. That’s why more and more states, most recently Missouri, have banned feeding deer in CWD known areas.

      • I understand that it’s the bite of a midge that causes EHD.

        Point being…I’ve seen some mineral sites in the woods that are as large as a truck hood and almost a foot deep. Could the mud surrounding these sites stay wet for long enough periods of time allow for the midges to hatch and bite the deer that frequent the site?

        • I don’t think that’s an issue, the midges that carry EHD and the disease are typically worse in dry to drought years.

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