Using Salt/Mineral licks to "scout" for deer and elk

Question:

I have recently seen and heard of people placing salt/mineral licks with trail camera's over them to "scout" for deer and elk in July and August. They aren't necessarily putting a tree stand over them but they hunt these areas in September. From the regulations page 98 (It is unlawful to), "Hunt any game animal by means of baiting with the exception of applicable rules for the black bear baiting permit (See pages 69 and 70). Bait is defined as any substance placed to attract game animals, except liquid scent for deer and elk." The black bear baiting regulations specifically do not allow the use of salt. Hunting is defined as, "Definition of Hunting: Hunting means chasing, driving, flushing, attracting, pursuing, worrying, following or on the trail of, shooting at, stalking, or lying in wait for any wildlife whether or not such wildlife is then subsequently captured, killed, taken or wounded." The way this reads to me, you can't place salt to attract deer and elk. My question is, can salt/mineral licks be placed to attract deer and elk during the summer months to get trail camera pictures and see "what game is in the area?"

Answer:

Great question the quick answer is Yes; if the purpose is for wildlife viewing only.  However you have "spoiled" the area for deer and elk hunting activities.
Deer and elk harvested over this "salted" area would be taken unlawfully.   The area where the salt has been placed would be considered "salted" even if the salt block or other contrivance was removed prior to the hunting season.  Some amount of time (typically over winter) would have to pass for the salt to no longer be in the soil attracting the deer and elk already habituated to the area.  Salt has a way of leeching into the soil, there by, your placement of salt would turn the area into an artifical salt lick.  This is also an ethical in addtion to a legal issue.   Obviously these types of cases would be diffcult for Officers to prove so we rely on ethical sportsman making the right choice engaging in "fair chase" and not hunting over areas where they have placed "bait" of any kind including salt or other minerals during or prior to the hunting season.  Feel free to call me if you have any further questions Blake Phillips @ 208-287-2762.