08-29-2003, 09:13 AM
by Allen “horntagger” Morris

This was passed to me from a private land conservationist from Missouri Department of Conservation in the county I have land in. This is just one example of how working with any game and fish department can benefit you. So now I am passing it along to you. You will be amazed on how well this works.
The ultimate goal of mineral supplements in deer management is to increase antler size and improve overall health of deer herds by providing minerals or trace minerals that may be lacking in a given area.

Although the jury is still out on effects of mineral supplements on wild deer populations since most studies have been on pen raised deer. Studies on wild population have been inconclusive and to a degree the same on pen raised deer due to other variables such as supplemental feeding that takes place in these areas. The direct benefits will probably be far greater in certain regions that lack certain trace minerals in the soil and plants.

One mixture or home recipe of deer minerals we recommend to landowners is a mix of one part Dicalcium Phosphate, 2 parts trace mineral salt (loose), and 1 part loose stock salt. All of these are available to purchase at most local feed and farm supply stores.

Just to give you a little background on these minerals and what they are designed to do lets start with the Dicalcium Phosphate

Dicalcium phosphate is used primarily as dairy cattle feed additive and other animal feeds. It promotes feed digestion, weight gain, and milk production, which is obviously beneficial to a lactating doe deer. Dicalcium phosphate contains roughly between 18 and 21 percent phosphorus and 19 to 23 percent calcium.

You're probably asking why this is important by now. Well if your talking about growing antlers on deer you need to take a look at what is the make up of a deer antler.

Hardened antlers contain 40 to 50 percent organic matter from mostly proteins while the most abundant minerals consist of calcium and phosphorus. The demands for these minerals on a daily basis can be significant for antler production.

In addition, a lactating doe's milk contains high percentages of both calcium and phosphorus to pass on to their young, also causing a significant mineral drain on the doe. What makes all this significant is the fact that phosphorous cannot be synthesized by the body so it must be provided in needed levels in the animals diet. This is where a mineral mix such as this could be very valuable if an area is lacking in these naturally.

Trace mineral salts do two things for deer. The first and foremost is it does have the salt/sodium to attract the deer and promote the use of the mineral. Secondly, it provides the trace minerals such as magnesium and potassium that are very important to herd health but are not found in significant quantities like others.

Stock salt is again like part of the above. It has the sodium to attract deer to the minerals. Most mineral mixes have salt as their most abundant ingredient since a mix of just phosphorus, calcium, and other trace minerals have little attraction to deer once mixed with the soil.

As for directions of use we suggest using a 3-pound coffee can to measure out 1 part dicalcium phoshate, 2 parts trace mineral salt, and 1 part stock salt. Mix all these together once ready to use but keep components separate during storage. Dig a hole in the soil about 36 inches wide and 6 inches deep and mix the mineral well with the soil.

This should be replenished after 6 months and then once a year thereafter. Most use seems to be during the spring and summer months on mineral licks. It's a good idea to keep these areas replenished and stocked in the same spot to maintain use.

Because of shedding of the summer coat begins this time of year, the deer need the salt, and maybe next year you will get this out early in the year to help with antler growth and fawn health.


Mineral Lick November 14th, 2001

Printable version
Ingredients: Makes 200 lbs. for about $23.00

1 part Di-calcium phosphate, this is a dairy feed additive bought at feed stores.
Comes in 50lb Bags at around $11.00 you need one bag.

2 parts Trace mineral salt, the red and loos kind without the medications.
Comes in 50lb Bags at around $5.00 you need two bags.

1 part Stock salt, ice cream salt.
Comes in 50lb Bags at around $2.00 you need one bag.


-Use a 3 pound or similar size coffee can to use as your measure for each part of the mix.

-Mix all together well but not until read to use, keep ingredients separate until ready to put to use.

-Dig or tear up a circle in the soil about 36 inches wide and about 6 inches deep.

-Mix your mineral mixture with the soil.


-Replenish in 6 months with fresh supply of mineral, and then each year there after.

Hope to see you in the woods this weekend. horntagger

Helpful hints: One is best time to put it out is March/April and I put all 200 lbs in one hole. Also I like a water source to be within 100 yards.

If you put it out this time just put 100lbs won't do as much for them now. But will be a slight draw. Good Luck

This picture was taken June 30th of 2001 - The homemade mineral had been in this since late fall of 2000.

http://www.mosportsmen.com/deernews/saltaugust18.jpgThis picture of the same homemade mineral lick was taken August 18th, 2001.

10-20-2003, 10:44 AM
Horntagger, OK. I have looked EVERYWHERE here in Texas and they all look at me like I am crazy. They tell me that di-calcium phosphate is in all loose trace mineral mixes so I should just use them. I have even gone out and talked to our local diary farmers and they say the same thing but they admit they don't know the first thing about deer. Do you have any suggestions where I can get this product or do you think thge trace salts would work well? Thanks.

11-12-2003, 12:20 AM

I just go to the local farm co-op, MFA, and they have bags of dicaocium phosphate. It is a common cattle feed supplement.

12-14-2003, 10:44 PM
My uncle suggested that I build a free choice trough with rain cover to keep it somewhat dry. I would think that it needs to mix with the soil to do its job. Although, with the cwd being spread by prions on the surface of the ground, so they say, would a trough help to limit transfer of diseases.

12-16-2003, 08:59 AM
Providing deer access to supplemental feed off the ground is generally better for the health of the deer consuming the feed. This is because the feed is kept dry unlike what happens when it hits the ground. I don't know, but would assume that it would be true for feeding mineral supplements also. I know several people who feed mineral supplements in the same trough feeder that they use to feed pellets/soybeans. These feeders are easy to disinfect periodically (usually twice a year) which further helps reduce the possibility that disease will be spread through the feeder.

06-02-2004, 12:39 PM
Dicalcium Phosphate and trace mineral salt are key to the mix, but I have found that adding feed grade lime, baking soda and maybe some soy meal into the mix will greatly enhance the attractant. I also add some anise oil and mix it thoroughly.

06-02-2004, 01:36 PM
Do disinfectants kill prions?

06-07-2004, 03:45 PM
This spring when I went to the mill to get some di-cal, (an hour before heading up north) they were out.

I already had 50 lbs of cheap rock salt, and a 40 lb bag of powedered Ag lime that was 20% calcium carbonate, and 10% magnesium carbonate.

Instead of buying di-cal I looked at, and read the label on the 25 lb, $13.80 bag of deer mineral. Then I read the 25 lb, $8.50 bag horse mineral .... The horse mineral was almost identical, and had molasis for scent and flavoring to make it attractive.

I mixed the horse mineral, rock salt, and lime, and the deer have been pounding it since mid April .I would have like to add the phosphorus of the di-cal to the mix, but the Horse mineral had a good amount if it.

The lime adds calcium and magnesium to the mix, then the salt and molassis makes it palatable to the deer. JMHO

06-07-2004, 06:44 PM
Agway sells Dical. Feed grade lime has calcium carbonate in it, an alleged rack builder. I also put a box of butterscotch pudding in my mix. I was always told that vanilla lures them in, but butterscotch pudding is what they got a hankerin' for, fellers. It helps make the dical palatable. I do make a vanilla curiosity lure that brings 'em in during the early days, but you have to put other stuff in it to seal the deal under your tree stand.

07-09-2004, 05:16 PM
DBar , I tried to tell them the same thing ...Di-cal is not a Texas Item ???
I looked from Galveston to Dallas and as far over as Baton Rogue and the closest I came was a 4 pound bucket for $8 so I went to plan "B". so far it seem's to be working fine......Now i did question myself over and over and over about it and decided to try it they are using it so that is better than nothing.

Posted: 07/April/2004 at 22:18 | IP Logged


I tried to find Di-calcium Phosphate like what was posted on this site, but I cannot find it anywhere, so I did some research and came as close as I could.

I got all of the stuff at Tractor Supply since it is on the way to the Ranch.

(1) bag of Ragland 12% hy-phos 50lb $12.00

(3) bags American Stockman "Hi-Salt" trace minerals for cattle4.50 each(13.50)

(1) bag Buck Grub for added attractant with more calcium(19.99)

I mix
1 - part hy-phos
3 - parts Hi-Salt -
then about a cup or so of Buck Grub

mixed in a 36" diameter hole 4-6 " deep

I have 15 x 15 ft fenced area to keep the cows out.
( I fenced all of my food plots also)

Only put out 1/2 ...refresh in September with the other half.

total $45.00 ----240 lbs

The total contents came out higher than the Deer blocks they sell.
Raglang's website has all of the percentages of there products that is where I started with my target #'s

01-31-2006, 08:42 PM
Thanks for the HomeMade Deer Mineral Recipe
I have already put out 4 different licks and although it is early I am seeing tracks in the licks
I found the Dicalcium Phosphate at a local feed store for 9.95 for 50#
total cost less than 25 bucks
Thanks again Horntagger

02-01-2006, 03:12 PM
Feed stores are not always knowledgeable about ingredients and/or substitutions.

Dicalcium Phosphate is a very common mineral ingredient. Monocalcium phosphate or BioPhos are roughly comparable, also. All they contain is Ca (about 16%) and P (about 20%).

Lime may or may not contribute Magnesium, depending on the source. Dolomitic limestone usually contains 20% Ca and 10% Phos.

The 'Horntagger Mix' should contain close to:
5.0% Ca
4.6% Phos
.15% Mg
74% salt
0% Se
and a little bit of trace minerals (Cu, Co, Mn, Fe, I, Zn) depending on the specs of the TMSalt used.

This formula is pretty low in Ca, although that would not matter much if the deer are eating a lot of legume-chicory-brassica. There are legitimate concerns when the Ca:Phos ratio gets down much below 1.5 : 1 , but remember that considers the entire diet not just a mineral mix.