In the state of Texas, baiting for game animals, nongame animals, and game birds is lawful on private property ONLY, except for turkey in certain East Texas counties and migratory game birds statewide. There are some exceptions, and for some species it is NOT lawful to use bait even on privet property. See county listings & regulations for more information.
Using a Mineral Lick
A mineral lick is a natural mineral deposit that deer and other animals are readily drawn to; they provide the essential minerals and nutrients that the animal needs for their overall wellness. Salt/mineral licks often occur naturally in an ecosystem, providing the sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and trace elements required in the springtime for bone, muscle and other growth in deer and other wildlife, such as moose, elephants, tapirs, cattle, woodchucks, domestic sheep, fox squirrels, mountain goats and porcupines.
Harsh weather exposes salty mineral deposits that draw animals from miles away for a taste of needed nutrients. It is thought that certain fauna can detect calcium in salt licks. Animals will regularly visit mineral licks to consume all that’s available, instinctively knowing that they must supplement a poor diet with the nutrients and minerals that Mother Nature provides. In addition, the mineral licks are critical to the environment, itself. They offer diversity to the organisms that visit them and build up the habitat by providing good health.
Mineral Licks come in many forms, such as liquids to pour over existing landscape, or blocks and rocks.
Using a Food Plot
Food plots used the right way can significantly improve your odds of harvesting a trophy buck. Food plots established at the proper time will become included in a deer herd’s feeding pattern. Food plots established just before the hunting season begins have less of a chance of being included in a deer herd’s feeding pattern. Routine is the name of the game with game. Turkeys and whitetail deer develop feeding routines and change only when food sources change. This does not mean that they feed the exact routine everyday but they seem to visit their favorite food sources nearly every day at some time of the day or night. Deer do not feed constantly, they browse for an hour or two then they lay up somewhere and chew their cud. All ruminants regurgitate the vegetation they consume and re-chew the food and re-swallow. They cannot do this while walking so they go to a secluded spot and spend a couple of hours chewing their cud. After a while they will get up and continue their browsing for another couple of hours on their normal feeding range followed by a rest to chew their cud.
For 10 tips from Food Plot Experts Click HERE
Hunting over a pile of corn is the strip-club bachelor party of deer hunting tactics. Almost every guy will do it if given the opportunity (and it is legal in many whitetail powerhouse states like Texas, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Ohio), but it’s not exactly something you brag about. And of course there’s the argument, usually presented by hunters from no-bait states, that hunting deer over bait is too easy.
And maybe it is—if you’re happy shooting 2 ½-year-old bucks every year. But if you want to take a mature animal over bait, you have to work just as hard and smart as no-bait hunters. If you want to buck that trend this season, here’s a plan of attack for getting mature deer to take the bait.
The Setback Stand
Unless you’re lucky enough to hunt a large property with virtually no pressure, you’re probably not going to kill a mature buck over a pile of corn during the rut. Prowling bucks are going to circle downwind and out of sight. They’ll scent-check the area for does and danger. When the does leave the bait site, mature bucks will ambush them from the safety of thicker cover. If you post up at your bait site now, you’ll likely spot only young bucks and does.
This is the time to hunt a setback stand, says deer guru Neil Dougherty. Explore downwind of the bait site and look for the first trail through thick cover. Hang the setback stand downwind of this trail, during the middle of the day and before the rut starts. In dense woods, you should start looking for a spot about 100 yards away from your primary stand. In more open timber, you might have to go 200 yards or more. Play the terrain and find a location where wind currents funnel to a point and allow a buck to easily scent-check the area from safety.
Several factors make this Dougherty’s favorite time to hunt over bait: Post-rut bucks are looking to pack on the pounds before winter sets in, but food is scarce, with cornfields cut and food plots browsed to the stems. And deer have fallen back into normal feeding patterns now that there are fewer hunters in the woods.
Hunt before winter storm fronts and on colder days. Temperatures 10 degrees below average and light precipitation will push deer to feed earlier in the day. If you hunt smart, you’ll have a chance to take that mature buck as he makes his way to an easy meal.