Kudus enjoying the salt lick on a plain which is strategically placed on the border of the bush should they need to take coverage.
A salt lick is a salt deposit that animals regularly lick. In an ecosystem, salt / mineral licks often occur naturally, providing the sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc required in the springtime for bone, muscle and other growth in wildlife. Harsh weather exposes salty mineral deposits that draw animals from miles away for a taste of needed nutrients. The ability of animals to select nutrients from their environment has been amply documented. Herbivores in nutrient poor ecosystems may be able to overcome deficiencies in essential elements by using natural mineral licks. In parts of Africa, elemental analyses of soils, licks, and vegetation eaten by herbivores have shown that sodium to be the element sought by mammals at mineral licks. Some farmer groups in Africa even make their own salt lick mixture themselves from bones, termite mounds, bricks and common salt.
Bongos getting their nutrients at a natural salt lick.
Salt licks can be placed just about anywhere, the key is for the animals to find their locations. People use salt licks to attract or maintain wildlife, whether it be for viewing, photography, farming, or hunting purposes.
Salt licks are usually placed by water points as the animals already congregate such areas on a regular basis and it is easier for them to find. Also the fact that they can drink to quench their thirst and replenish their nutrients at the same time is an attribute. From personal experience, at a water point the animals will usually drink first and finish at the salt lick, but they will also sometime just come for the minerals and not even bother drinking.
Kudus and Impala on the border of a clearing getting nutrients out of natural salt lick blocks directly placed on the ground.
Salt licks are also often placed on plains, open areas or clearings. Game will often feed or pass through those open areas making the salt licks easy to find along one of the major artery or used trail. The salt licks will usually be strategically placed in the open, sometimes under a tree for shade, but close to a more dense area where the game can take refuge in if predators are around.
If a salt lick is used for hunting purposes, you will have to consider the surroundings, the dominant wind direction as well as the location of the blind, and distance may be a factor if bowhunting. Salt licks can usually also be moved easily with the seasons or need.
If you are concerned with poaching, I would make sure that the salt lick is placed in an area not exposed to everyone's view.
If you use a salt lick with the intention to put a trail camera on it, try to find a location that you can access easily without disturbing the area too much.
A salt lick can also be placed by a specific location, like by a lodge, to attract game for viewing.
White Rhinos at an elevated salt lick made out of a metal drum cut in half, usually to hold powder or granules salt licks as well as other feed. The elevation of the drum is such that small mammals will also have access to the content.
Salt lick comes in powder and granules which can be placed in a feeding container or incorporated straight into the soil making it a lick surface. It comes also in blocks, natural or man-made, that are usually placed directly on the ground. Slat Licks can be also placed in elevated containers or posts in order to restrict the feed of some animals.
Here, a couple of Giraffes at a salt lick comprised on the left of a natural salt lick block on the ground and on the right of an elevated containers made out of metal drum cut in half, high enough to restrict the access of some of the smaller mammals.