A huge part of either deer hunting or wildlife spotting, whichever side of the fence you’re on, is feeding. Deer can scavenge for their food, but if you can supply them with what they need much easier, then you will be able to form a social circle of deer, which can either prove to be wonderful for you to watch, or can work to supplement your hunting program as well.
Whichever your option, it’s important to know what to look for when either building or purchasing a deer feeder, where to put it, what to fill it with, and how to look after it. If you don’t tick these boxes, you run the risk of deer simply not venturing towards your feeder, no matter how enticing you make it otherwise.
If you place deer feeders is in an area which is noisy and busy all the time, you’re unlikely to attract any deer, other than perhaps the most gung-ho random deer, and this will be an epic fail for your efforts.
To make life a little easier and to cut down on your research, let’s give you all the information you need in terms of how to site your feeder and what it needs to include.
What are Deer Feeders?
First things first, in order to understand this process at all, you need to know what a deer feeder actually is! The clue is actually in the title of course, because a deer feeder is a mechanism of giving deer food, without them having to hunt or scavenge themselves. There are many advantages to this, not least the supplementation of your own hunting efforts.
To break it down, a deer feeder is a either built or pre-bought tool which is there to offer food to deer. The food inside will usually be either a combination of different carefully balanced grains, or it will be a pre-mixed feed which is purchased and specifically designed for deer, and other similar wildlife.
Of course, as with any type of wildlife or game feeder, e.g. bird feeding, you need to take steps to ensure that you aren’t attracting other types of unwanted visitors, e.g. vermin. We will cover the steps to ensure this doesn’t happen shortly.
What do deer eat? As a quick guideline, the feed you put inside a deer feeder needs to contain around 16% protein, to ensure healthy and strong antler formation. Obviously, a younger deer will require this full amount, as they are still growing and developing, whereas an older deer will be able to manage on a little less.
Despite that, the full 16% is always recommended for good health, along with necessary and important vitamins and minerals for overall wellbeing.
The Characteristics of High Quality Deer Feeders
Aside from being strong, of a good height, and to work within your price range, there are various characteristics which a deer feeder should meet, in order to be effective, long-lasting, and high quality.
- Deer feeders should be waterproof – It goes without saying that the feeder needs to have the capacity to keep food dry. We all know that when any type of grain gets wet, even just a little bit wet, it turns into a mush; deer do not like mush! For that reason, the ability to keep the feed dry within your feeder is a vital characteristic.
- A deer feeder should have a lid which has the ability to lock – This moves on from the last point we made, because a lockable lid will enable food to remain dry. The lid also helps you keep unwanted visitors way, e.g. the vermin we were talking about earlier. The locking mechanism can either be a literal lock, or it can be a hefty lid which will be difficult to lift up by anything other than human force.
- A deer feeder should be hard-wearing and durable – Anything which sits in the Great Outdoors needs to be able to stand up to various types of weather, from high winds, rain, snow, to sun, and for that reason the feeder needs to be strong and durable. If you are purchasing a pre-built feeder then checking out reviews and also ensuring that the material is very strong is a good starting point. If you are building your own, then the strength of the material is the number one concern.
- A deer feeder should have an easy dispensing mechanism – You need to be able to fill up the deer feeder easily, without having to fight with it too much, but it also needs to have an easy way to dispense the food to the wildlife. If the deer finds it too hard to get to the food, they are simply not going to come back the next time.
- Deer feeders should have the capacity to hold large amounts of food – If you are trying to attract and feed a larger number of deer then you need to go for a feeder which can hold a larger amount of food. A small capacity feeder is not going to feed a large amount of deer, it goes without saying!
Where to Site Deer Feeders
The second most important part is about where to actually put the feeder. You can have the most high quality deer feeders in the world, but if you put it in the wrong place, you’re not going to attract and keep visitors. Of course, there are some obvious thing which spring to mind, e.g. placing it in a spot which is away from excessive noise or traffic.
The other main points to bear in mind include:
- A spot which will enable larger amounts of visitors – This means somewhere with space
- Somewhere which is easy for you to access for filling up and emptying of feed – It’s no good placing the feeder somewhere which is going to take you an epic trek every time it needs topping up! This could be by car or by foot, depending on how much you’re placing inside
- Away from excessive human access – Deer are quite shy, it’s no good putting your feeder somewhere which has a high amount of noise or through traffic, e.g. close to a walking path
- Somewhere which is close to a water supply
- Somewhere which is close to their base
Deer feeders are a fantastic way to attract beautiful deer closer to you, and by following this advice, you should have all major points covered