Pay attention to the following features:
Location: Where to set up the deer feeder?
Don’t try to understand where to put a feeder when you are already grabbing it in the forest. The best deer feeder setup starts with a map. Try to find the best place before your hunt begins. First, you should make sure that it is legal to put a feeder in your area.
When choosing the best location, watch out for areas with water nearby. Your potential prey will be glad to come to a location where it can drink and eat at the same time. Try not to choose areas which are hard to get to — neither you or a deer want to come back there.
But at the same time, never put a feeder in an open field — deer won’t come to a place where they can’t hide. Try to find something in between. Plus, you need to think about the place you are going to hide when hunting time begins.
When you are done with planning, make sure that you have chosen everything correctly, and have a look at the place (still without the feeder). And only then if everything is ok, come back one more time and set everything up.
It’s a good idea to put a camera (it is a justified investment) with solar batteries nearby (make sure that the camera has contact with the sun). In case you don’t understand why you need a camera — after you set up a feeder, you should start hunting no sooner than two to three weeks!
Have a little rest at this time, and give your prey an opportunity to get used to the new place. After this period, come back to refill the feeder, and then in a few days, everything will finally be ready for hunting. Yes, deer hunting requires a lot of patience!
What size of the feeder to buy depends on what you need and how exactly you are going to use. It depends whether you prefer portability or you desire to hunt animals as many as you can, and for this purpose, you need a big one feeder. However, the feeder doesn’t have to be big, but its capacity.
The bigger volume of the feeder the greater amount of food it holds. Our list includes such feature as capacity in lbs to help you with this one aspect of choosing deer feeder.
Talking about durability, you should keep in mind several things. There are different factors which can influence it:
- Deer itself — an animal can bump it or rub it; you should make sure that you have installed everything properly.
- Other animals. It’s up to you to understand that you use a feeder for a deer, but other animals don’t. Make sure that they can’t use it; one of the ways to do this is to put it quite high. In our review, we have examples of hanging deer feeder kits. Varmints can try to chew through everything where they can find some food. And raccoons are good at climbing, so hanging does not always solve the problem. So, a cage around a dispenser or special construction around the legs can be an additional deterrent for varmint. There are crueler ways like electroshocking or shark teeth, which you can screw to the legs as well.
- Weather. Some cheap deer feeders can’t stand even a tiny bit of rain. And if there are heavy rains, wind or even snow are typical for the season; you should be especially concerned about the strength and durability. This is one of the main reasons why hand-made feeders are not good enough.
Mechanical parts must be durable too. Obviously, the more parts you have, the higher the probability they will break. Especially, if we are talking about some authorized systems, such as a deer feeder timer. It throws food out in the same periods of time.
This feature is useful and prevents the opportunity to feed other animals but deer as well, and it can easily cause harm. So, check how everything is produced, where the most vulnerable details are hidden (if they are). And of course, we would highly recommend buying a feeder with a guarantee.
Prices are impressively variable. You can easily find a cheap deer feeder for $16 — but we think you can guess that with a high probability, it is not really vulnerable (you will be lucky if it survives until the end of the season). In addition, you can forget about the inlined deer feeder timer and other useful features.
We have found variants which cost about $200-250. For example, a tripod feeder, which has a complete metal construction, timer, two additional batteries, varmint guard and many other advantages. It’s only you who can choose if it’s worth it, but if we were you, we would say yes. This type of feeder can serve you for at least several seasons.
The power of feeder’s motor provides a definite distance the food is thrown. If it has adjustable spin power, then it’s great for you, if not then you have to make sure the motor is powerful enough to throw the food you are going to use.
The size of the feeder affects battery life. If the feeder is not overheated, then it is fine. The most widespread battery which is used by feeder is the 6-volt battery. 12-volt batteries last longer than 6-volt batteries as their amp draw is low.
As we mentioned before, not every state allows deer baiting. Out of 50 states 22 states allow this (for example, New York and Kansas), while 28 are strongly against it (Nebraska, Missouri, Maryland). Eight states from the loyal 22 are ok with this only in certain areas (Pennsylvania, Arkansas, North Dakota) — it’s better than nothing. Hunting laws are changing quite often, so check this information every time you go hunting.
In some places, hunting is allowed but without using anything electronic. Some locations don’t’ allow you to go by ATV; in others, you can put a deer mineral near the feeder; whereas in others, they are illegal.
Here you can always find current and true information about hunting laws, including baiting, minerals, and other details. It is not only about deer hunting, but all kinds of things are mentioned. To make sure that the information is true, we include the date of the last update.
Types Of Deer Feeders
As we mentioned above, there are three types of feeders: gravity, tripod, and hanging. We have noted the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
- Simple to set up
- Easy to use
- Don’t attract much attention
- Often they are not that big
- You have to refill them quite often
- Most don’t provide any additional proof
- Most can feed only one deer
- Other animals break through easily
Best gravity model tested by us: Redneck Outdoors T-post Gravity Feeder.
- Most have spinning plates and a deer feeder timer
- Attract more than one deer
- Easy to set up
- Usually big sized
- Often don’t have the proper weight
- Is not a «set and forget» thing
- Quite obvious and noticeable
- Should especially make sure that it stands firmly
Best tripod model tested by us: Moultrie Tripod Feeder
- Great protection from other animals
- Easy to use
- Usually, have generous storage
- Can be hard to install
- Not every place is appropriate for setting up
- Can be hard to refill
- Need to think about appropriate support
Best hanging model tested by us: Moultrie Feed Station
We have composed the most frequently asked questions about deer feeders in one place, so you can study the issue properly.
What are the differences between types of feed?
Corn is the classic deer feed compatible with all the feeders. It remains attractive to deer even after getting wet in the rain and lies still in strong wind. To enhance the somewhat-low protein content of corn, many people mix it with soybeans or rice bran, and this is especially great for spin feeders. At the same time, corn is all’s favorite fodder, so you might end up feeding the entire area. If you have problems with raccoons and bears ransacking your feeding station, you may prefer special types of feed, such as deer nuggets or corn gluten pellets. These have a wild berry flavor and most animal won’t touch them, except deer who seem to be very fond of this feed type. The only drawback of pellets is that they turns to mush with water, so you’ll need either to shield the station from rain or make sure you refill it accordingly.
How Many Times A Day Should A Feeder Give Food?
Usually, a deer eats from three to five times a day. In the fall, deer eat more often, and they prefer to eat in the dark.
How Much Food Is Necessary?
An «average» deer consumes about seven pounds during the day. Nice fact — deer never eat plants entirely; they only bite them a bit. Then they’ll regurgitate what they’ve eaten, chew it, swallow and repeat this many times. We know, it doesn’t sound very appetizing, but we tell you this to explain to you that deer do not need that much food.
Do I Need A Mineral Block Where The Feeder Is Set Up?
Deer mineral with deer feeder is a great combination. If it is legal, you should use it. But unfortunately (or fortunately, it depends) in some states minerals are illegal during the entire year. Some governments are highly concerned about the fact that due to this kind of method, deer can acquire a fatal disease. There are still many arguments and differing opinions on this issue.
Are Generic Batteries OK To Use?
Hunters mostly use 6V batteries as they last for a long time. And now almost every current model uses quite poor power during the day, so you will be fine using generic batteries.
Is The Varmint Guard Important?
A varmint guard is necessary because only you know that the deer feeder is only for deer. Other animals can at least eat everything and break or harm your feeder as most will do. Raccoons can even bite through your device, even if it is a hanging deer feeder kit (some are good at climbing), so make sure that you have additional proof. It can be a cage or shark teeth or special constructions that you put around the legs, and animals can’t break through them.
Should I Clean The Feeders?
You definitely should. Deers are extremely sensitive to odors, so you should keep the feeder dry and clean. Be a nerd about this and try to clean even places that are hard to reach. You can use a toothbrush to help yourself. Pay attention to humidity, it shouldn’t be high, and there shouldn’t be any condensation.
Should I Prefer Electric Models?
They are both good and bad. It’s good because electric models make your life easier. The timer helps you not to have to come back every time, and an electric Varmint guard (like electroshock, for example) helps you not to be bothered by other animals eating your potential prey’s food. But as we mentioned before, the more details (especially electrical) you have, the higher the opportunity of breaking is. So, never neglect a guarantee. Actually, you should never do that.
Is A Locking Mechanism Necessary?
It is all about higher protection, as we told you before. It’s your choice, but we would advise you to opt for a locking mechanism if you want your feeder to serve you properly and for a long time.
All the above-described deer feeders have both good and bad features, but still, we recommend them those who need a great product. Just compare the feeders, look through the list and make up your mind!