Mineral-rich springs used by wildlife were studied in order to develop an appropriate sampling technique. The mineral content of the water varied spatially within a lick, apparently because of contamination by nonlick water and animal urine. The spring source usually could be located with a conductivity meter. Samples contaminated by animal urine could be recognized by their high N content and usually by their color. The distinctive chemical composition of licks is best appreciated by comparing filtered samples of lick water with nonlick water collected nearby. Field filtration was necessary when samples were preserved with acid for trace-metal analysis. Soil samples from lick and nonlick sites revealed of the properties of the spring water, but not as well as water analysis. High levels of Na were found the spring water of all Ontario licks sampled. Many conflicting results among other studies may be attributable to inappropriate sampling.
Fraser, D., Reardon, E., Dieken, F., & Loescher, B. (1980). Sampling problems and interpretation of chemical analysis of mineral springs used by wildlife. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 623-631.