By John Cuzzort
A waterhole with a nearby salt lick can be one of the most productive areas to place trail cameras during the dry times of year. They are also great places to hunt, particularly during drought conditions, and in the early season, as well.
But nature doesn't always provide natural waterholes in the spots where you'd like them to be.
You can create your own simple waterhole environment with a shovel and some inexpensive items, such as a plastic kiddy pool, an old 55-gallon drum or even a plastic tarp. What you're looking for is basically anything that holds water and is large enough to attract animals to it.
I recently placed a couple of old mineral tubs in areas near my treestands. I buried them so the tops of the tubs were about level with the ground. It has been so dry, local wildlife almost immediately began to use it once it rained. The salt lick I put nearby makes it a place that I'm hopeful deer will favor and frequent for as long as water and salt are available to them.
It's best to find a low spot in the area where you want your waterhole, and dig drainage trenches leading toward it so rainwater can drain into it. Rainwater will be what you rely on to keep it full unless you have a means of transporting water to it.
Wild game other than deer will also benefit from the waterhole, so it's important to make sure you lay a log or something across the top in order for smaller creatures to have a means of escape if they fall in. You can also create a rock staircase for them to crawl out.
Another feature you might include is a sandy or debris-free dirt area around the waterhole. This way, if you don't have a trail camera set up, you can at least see tracks left by the creatures that come to drink.