How Far Apart Should Deer Feeders Be? The Ultimate Guide

how far apart should deer feeders be

Deer feeders are a wonderful tool to lure out these mighty creatures from the deep covers of the forest. Whether you’re a deer enthusiast, a professional hunter, or a photographer trying to capture them with your lens, deer feeders work for all.

Contrary to popular belief, deer feeders aren’t magic. A great deal of technique and skill goes into setting them up the right way. If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide on how far apart should deer feeders be, keep reading!

How Far Apart Should Deer Feeders Be?

There’s no minimum or maximum limit on the distance between two deer feeder setups. Ideally, you should put 1-2 in every active location, or at least once every 2 to 4 miles. What’s more important than the distance between the two feeders is figuring out the right location.

You don’t have to worry about placing too many deer feeders in close proximity — there’s no harm in doing that. Deer will only eat as much as they require and leave the rest, meaning you don’t have to worry about overfeeding them.

Where to Place Deer Feeders?

Deer Feeder in Forest

As discussed, where you place the feeders is much more important than how far apart they are from each other. They shouldn’t be kept too deep in the forest or hidden under bushes and trees. Instead, make them easily accessible for the deer.

Here are some good feeder locations:

 1. Water Source

A great way to draw attention to your feeders is by placing them near a water source the herd frequently visits. There are two reasons for this. An already existing water source is a trusted location that deer will feel safe returning to again and again.

2. Existing Natural Food Sources

If you feel the deer aren’t receiving enough food from their existing food source, you can try placing your feeder there. Since it’s a known site to them, they are more likely to visit and trust the food they receive there. You can also target adept food sources, but the problem with that is your feeders might not reach as many deer as you intend.

At the same time, make sure you get the deer acquainted with your feeders before an existing food source runs out and they ditch the area.

3. Safe or Known Paths

The best way to get a deer to your feeder is by placing them in areas they already venture into. Deer are highly territorial and since they have way too many predators — both animals and hunters — to worry about, they prefer to stick to known sites.

If there’s a particular herd you are targeting, try to observe them for a few days. See which path they take, where they go, and what places they roam around — these are perfect sites to place a feeder. Make sure the herd feels safe enough to approach the feeder.

4. Stay Away From Hunting Areas

Deer are timid creatures. If you’re hoping to have any luck with them, make sure you do nothing to scare them off. This includes staying away from the hunting zones. Regardless of how much you learn, deers know way more about how the forest works than you do.

They know which regions are prone to hunting activity and will always steer clear of them, let alone approach the feeders placed in those areas.

5. Target Their Bedding Areas

If you want to keep things simple, target their bedding area. Deer beds are a lot like their homes — both are a place where they sleep and a central hub of all their movements. Even if you fail to find them in their usual paths and spots, you’ll surely spot them around the beds.

Deer stick to the same bedding area as long as it caters to their needs. That being said, make sure you do not trespass while they’re present. If you make their own home feel unsafe, you’ll hardly ever have a chance of attracting them to your feeders.

When Is the Best Time to Set up Deer Feeders?

Deer Eating Grass from Feeder

Timing is as important as location when it comes to setting up deer feeders. That’s why so many hunters and photographers use automated digital feeders to maintain the right timing.

When you’re first setting up the feeder, try to turn it on during peak afternoon hours when the deer aren’t actively wandering. This will ensure that sudden feeder activity does not scare them away. Start with shorter dispersing windows — say about 5 seconds — and gradually work your way up as the deer get used to it.

Once you have a regular group of deer feeding from your feeders, here are a few things you need to consider:

  • If your feeder is open, turn on the feeder and disperse it around sunrise and sunset. Deer are known to frequent open fields during these hours.
  • For regular feeding, disperse the feeder once early in the morning and once in the evening. These are the times that they usually go out looking for food.
  • If you’re about to go on a hunt, consider dispersing the food a few minutes before you set off.
  • If you want to set longer dispersing windows, place your feeders near the covers of trees and bushes. The deers will be much more comfortable in those areas.

4 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Deer Feeders

If you want to set the perfect deer feeder and get the most out of it, stick to these four tips:

1. Use a Trail Camera

Attracting deer is all about learning from one’s own experience, and the best way to do it is to observe them in their natural habitat. Adding trail cameras near the feeders will not only get you amazing pictures of the deer in their natural environment, but also help you record and understand their behavior.

 2. Add Mineral Attractants

Mineral attracts add their own distinct taste and smell to your feeder, which works along with the food to attract the deer faster. Add a few mineral blocks or salt slicks on every food plot and watch the herds rush in!

3. Understand Feed Types

Deer won’t just eat anything you throw at them. It’s your job to understand the type of food they might need at the moment. For example, a corn feeder is a great source of warmth and energy during Winter.

On the other hand, deer prefer protein-rich food during the Spring and early Winter, which also happens to be their mating season.

4. Be Patient

Developing a feeder takes time. You need to set up the disperser and get the deer to trust you before you can go ahead and build a relationship with them or get ahead with your other goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How far does the deer feeder have to be placed from residential areas?

Deer, being timid creatures, tend to stay away from human establishments. When placing the feeders, try to keep them at least 100 yards away from residential areas. Also, make sure that you disperse the feeders uniformly across the chosen spot for better attraction.

2. Do you need to put a fence around a feeder?

The only time you’ll need feeders is if your area is frequented by hogs that damage the feeders. For feral hogs and pigs, you’ll need a fence at least 28 to 3 inches tall.

The only problem is adult hogs can still jump over these fences. However, you cannot go over 34 inches or else it’ll be too high for the fawns.

3. Can a deer stop coming to a feeder?

Yes, a deer can stop coming to a feeder for a few reasons. For starters, they could have found a better food source closer to their bedding area. Their visiting frequency can also be limited by local predators like raccoons, bobcats, and mountain lions.

4. How can you attract deer to a feeder during the day?

To attract deer to your crop fields, plant their favorite crops like corn, peas, nuts, and fruit. Surround these with other plants and shrubs to make them look more natural.

5. How long does it take to get a deer acquainted with feeders?

It takes about three weeks for a herd of deer to get accustomed to a new feeder. Make sure you don’t do any maintenance or changes to the feeder during this time or else you might scare them away.

Bottom Line

How far apart should deer feeders be? Ideally, a couple of miles apart depending on the terrain. Feeders are a great way of befriending deer and making them come to you time and time again. These naturally timid creatures can only be lured out under the facade of food.

To further improve your chances of attracting them to feeders, go for an automated model that disperses food on its own. If you go into the woods to disperse the food yourself, be sure to limit your trips as you’ll be leaving behind your smell (which deer are pretty adept at recognizing) and drive them away.