Being editor of BOWHUNTING gives me the opportunity to experience some pretty special adventures. But when it comes to hunting whitetails around my Pennsylvania home, I'm pretty much an average Joe. I don't own my own hunting property, and I don't have the time or money to implement intense habitat-management programs on the small farms where I have access. However, I still take my deer hunting very seriously, and I do what I can to tip the odds in my favor. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of doing that is to use a quality mineral supplement, which will improve the local herd's nutrition, condition individual animals to frequent your hunting areas and allow you to maximize scouting efforts by placing trail cameras at mineral sites.
One mineral product I have used with great success for several years is Deer Cane from Evolved Habitats. Deer Cane is specially formulated to drive deer crazy, and my experience suggests that once deer start using it, they simply can't kick the habit. Deer Cane -- available as a concentrated powder you mix with water, ready-to-use liquid, time-release block and sticky sweet gel -- reacts with moisture and releases an enticing mineral vapor trail. Deer will return again and again for minerals that aid in antler development, lactation, digestion and overall body health.
To give you an illustration of just how attractive a Deer Cane lick site can be, I created a site April 1 and set a trail camera to monitor activity. I got my first photos of deer using the site that day, and from April 1-May 7, I captured an amazing 180 images of deer using the site. Although visits were somewhat sporadic initially, within a couple weeks I was recording multiple visits every day. Over the course of the summer, the photographs I get at that site will give me a great inventory of the local herd, and I'll head into hunting season with a definite idea of several individual bucks on my hit list. MSRP: $8.99 (6.5-pound concentrate mix) Contact: Evolved Habitats, 225-638-4094; www.evolved.com