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Thread: Deer Licks

  1. #1

    Deer Licks

    Despite the title I'm nor sure which is the appropriate slot for these comments

    Some years ago I bought a pallet of Rumevite deer licks ( round, 22.5 kg) from a local animal nutrition factory as he gave me a good price on them.
    I've used them intermittently since on sika and reds and thought that I wasn't getting very good results from them. I tried tipping food grade salt on them to make them more palatable with no apparent results. When I brought 2 KNZ blocks home from Scotland signs of use were much more obvious, but I haven't overcome the transport costs yet. In both cases there are sheep (without permission) on the ground and I did what I could to keep them out of reach. I did not want to give the woolly maggots a treat or be accused of poisoning them. I think it's the copper levels that are wrong for sheep.

    Anyway I have recently acquired a piece of private ground in Sligo for fallow, where I felt safe to try out my new game cam, and the results have made me rethink my original opinions on the use of licks. I put out the lick in an old bog wood with peaty soil which is quite dry and crumbly under shelter, so no mucky clay where animals congregate. Because of fencing there are a number of defined deer paths and I went close to one of these. I cut half a dozen lengths of ivy off the trees and used them to as bait for the deer. Over a three week period the cam took over 300 images, of which about 30 were overexposed because I faced the camera south. You don't think of these things when you don't see the sun for weeks on end.

    When I looked at the lick after 3 weeks my initial reaction was that there had been minimal use -a little wear round the edges and a few unidentifiable teeth marks on the top. The ivy needless to say was long gone. I scraped the top with a sharp stick hoping that might scatter a few crumbs to interest the deer, shook out a bit of rock salt that I had acquired, cursed, changed the SD card and went home to see if the images on the SD card were the result of tree shake or whatever.

    To my surprise and pleasure a lot of the images do show fallow working on the lick, for up to 10 minutes at a time. Most of them are working on the edge of the lick or the ground around it. I'm used to domestic livestock having a noticeable effect on licks, whereas the deer seem to have a much more delicate approach. I had not really stopped to think that smaller size of animal and stock numbers would be reflected in signs of use. I've learnt a lesson there.

    If I've got the pic's right the first two show the same doe on the lick for about 15 minutes just to illustrate the length of time some of them spent there.
    The 4th pic shows the lick pretty much as I saw it after 3 weeks use. The 3rd pic shows the best count of deer, 5 in total. The 2nd pic is the middle of a sequence of a doe with her muzzle on the lick

    The bulk of the fallow are Melanistic. Numbers have only built up recently. Body weights are good, but foot rot is endemic as there is a lot of low lying wet ground.

    I thought I'd share these thoughts as without the camera I would have have had a much more pessimistic view of my investment in the licks. By the way the site is in the same area as a high seat, but can't be shot over.


    Sorry folks , resubmitted pic's without ID. No 5 should be first . It's taken me an hour to edit. I've gone for a liedown!
    Last edited by ion; 07-02-2013 at 14:11. Reason: operator incompetence!

  2. #2
    There is much advice on licks, but I think they work better if they are on a stump or something and trickle down over it - if that makes sense. Give the guys on is forum time to get home from work and you'll get it all chapter and verse. I'm in the middle east just now so a different time zone.

  3. #3
    These rumevites are about 2 foot across and you wouldn't believe how difficult it can be to find the right stump in a 30 acre wood!
    A friend, (thanks S) has pointed out that I left the name of the location on the pic's and in the interests of paranoia I will edit and resubmit.
    Last edited by ion; 07-02-2013 at 13:16.

  4. #4
    Not sure what answer is with the big blocks. Then again you are talking to the man that -

    a. Carried a two pack ( 10 kilos each block ) out to first stump and the remain block all the way back
    b. Scoffed at suggestion of sawing a block in two - because you'd have to drill another hole

    But have found animals much prefer to lick leached minerals than touch blocks direct. a stump of circa 4 foot high seems to work well, once rain has carried down the minerals both red, roe and sika seem to love the stumps and I've watched then divert 3/4 mile just for a quick visit.
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  5. #5
    If it wasn't for fallow buck antlers I'd use a haynet to suspend them. Might try drilling through the centre and use a single rope with a large stop knot. So far the only use my nice new Monarch roe sack has had is carrying 22.5 kg licks in comfort. Not so handy with salt- dead weight at bottom of bag pulls open top tab unless you tie a slip knot in the draw cord of the liner bag.
    Still making heavy weather of removing ID from pic's. No child of 10 in this house to help incompetent 10 thumb operator!

  6. #6
    if you are going to drill them and suspend them on a rope cut a piece of plywood and drill that too , those blocks will crack across, the ply would support them from underneath
    a barony original

  7. #7
    good thinking. Ta!

  8. #8
    I use a piece of 4" x 2" approx 3' long, put a point on it, then drill a hole in the lick and use a 6" nail to hold in place. As suggested you can put a piece of ply cut to size under the lick for support, this also means you could use 2" x 2" or any other sturdy timber. The beauty is you are not restricted to any particular location, and everything can be prepared before you go out, all you need is a club hammer.

  9. #9
    I fancy trying some of these on my patch. Put them there at end of hind season and let them get used to them over the summer in the hope I can ambush them later. Any idea where I could get some?

  10. #10
    I'm using the rumevite because that's what I could get locally. They came in as part of a mixed load so I did not have to pay any extra carriage costs. They are roughly the size of a small car tyre i.e flat and round which is what is making them a bit awkward to site off the ground. They are developed more with farmed deer in mind I think, and are bulked out with barley and molasses. Try for more details.
    KNZ are advertised fairly frequently in BDS magazine and others. I looked into the carriage costs a few years ago and they were a bit steep into Ireland.Their blocks and many others are solid square salt/ mineral licks which are much easier to mount. Most licks are quite corrosive which means that metal only mounting probably isn't a good idea.
    I'm tempted to try some straightforward livestock licks from the local agri merchant, at least I won't have to worry about the woolly maggots then.
    I think you'll find that there is unanimous agreement that you should not shoot deer on the licks, but pick a spot on their line of travel to and from the licks.
    I'll be checking the game cam next week and I'll be interested to see if the addition of rock salt to the site made any difference.
    My point in the original post was that despite use the results were barely noticeable. I was a bit optimistic to expect a quick fix.

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