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As deer hunters, we are always on the lookout for anything new that can give us that little bit of extra edge. That one thing that will increase our chances of successfully tracking and hopefully bringing home some game for dinner.
That edge could mean anything from using a better scope, a new, sturdier shooting bipod or stock. It could even come from a few smaller adjustments such as controlling your human scent and camouflaging yourself a bit better while out in the field.
And while all of those things will most certainly help you remain quiet and hidden enough to bag that 10-point buck, what are you doing to draw it to you in the first place?
Are you inviting the deer to an all-out feast?
The best way to consistently pull deer to your location is with the help of strategically placed deer feeders.
But just as not all rifles are made the same, neither are deer feeders. And when you are considering buying and placing out some deer feeders you need to have some idea of constitutes a high-quality deer feeder. To help you get started off on the right foot, we have rounded up our favorite deer feeders from 2019.
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Types of Deer Feeders
When you start doing a bit of searching for the best deer feeders, you will notice that there are only really two types of deer feeders on the market.
The most simple type of deer feeder is what is known as a gravity feeder.
And just as it sounds, it features a very basic hopper in addition to usually just one or two feed chutes for the feed to fall through. The amount of feed chutes you opt-in for is really just up to personal preference.
The second kind of deer feeder comes equipped with and makes use of a timed dispenser.
Similar to the gravity feeder, a timed feeder will come with a basic hopper that you pour the feed into. Located on the bottom side of this hopper, there will be a timer mechanism (usually battery-powered) that you can use to program the hopper to open up and dispense the deer feed.
The more advanced timed deer feeders will have the ability to also dispense deer feed at different points throughout the day.
This type of deer feeder usually isn’t too rough on the life of your batteries. Better yet, there are some models that come equipped with solar panels as an alternative power source to make sure your feeders have a back-up energy reserve to rely on. This is really useful when the batteries are running low or are completely drained.
How to Pick the Right Feeder
First, before you run out and buy a deer feeder, check deer feeder setup local and state hunting laws
To determine if you can lawfully use a deer feeder in your state or locally, most state websites will have these laws listed somewhere online. But for a quick reference check this link.
Second, do you know where you will install your deer feeder?
A deer feeder that has been stuffed with corn is probably not going to be the best choice to attract deer if you are placing it near an entire corn field. Similarly, placing apple-flavored feed under an apple tree isn’t going to yield the results you want.
The idea is that the deer should catch the scent of a treat that is not normally found in abundance in the area but one which they enjoy when they can find it.
When choosing where you want to place your feeder, don’t forget to consider how easy it is to physically get to. Is the area blocked off to all but those on foot? If so, you may find yourself having to carry your deer feeder and all your other gear to the site. Are you prepared for that?
Is the path clear enough to easily get in and out if you were in a hurry? Is there still enough coverage with which to remain camouflaged? Can you get in there with an off-road vehicle like an ATV?
You and you alone are responsible for the routine servicing and maintenance of your deer feeder. Every week or two you will probably need to clear away any brush that is growing up the feeder or restricting access to the site for both you and the deer.
Third, scope out the area. Are there enough deer nearby to justify a feeder? How many can you expect to attract?
If there just aren’t that many deer in your hunting area, you might be able to make out fairly well with placing just a simple gravity feeder equipped with a smaller hopper and just a single chute. Anything much larger may be overkill and a waste of money.
If you happen to be lucky enough to live in an area that is simply overflowing with deer, using a larger sized hopper with a timed feed dispenser will probably work so much better than a gravity feeder when it comes to keeping all those deer coming back for more on a regular basis.
Fourth, what types of food do the local deer prefer?
Deer are not picky eaters by nature, but their noses are highly-sensitive and will guide them to all kinds of tasty food sources.
One thing that most deer do like, however, is corn. Additionally, most kinds of sweet feeds work absolute wonders. I’ve seen mule deer and bears alike all come running to the scent that a pile of sweet feed puts into the air.
It is important to remember that once a deer catches the sweet smell of their soon-to-be snacks drifting through the breeze, they will follow their nose time after time. But this also means that so can bears, and other predatory critters that may be in the area. There are all kinds of various wildlife to consider when setting feed out to attract deer.
And a lot of those critters can cause severe problems, not to mention driving away some of those deer. As a matter of fact, if a bear gets attracted to a scent that you have laid out, there is a very good chance that they will tear up your deer feeder all in an effort to get to the yummy smell.
Take all of these things into consideration when deciding which deer feeder is going to be the best match for you.
If you are new to using a deer feeder, you should take a peek at the Moultrie Feed Station Gravity Deer Feeder.
This feeder is a very basic device made of a solid plastic material that is durable, and fully weather-resistant. Simply strap this feeder to a tree or a fence post and you are good to go. The feeder holds up to a whopping 40-pounds. Pour it in and then walk away.
There are no timers, moving parts, or other small details to worry about. Straightforward design and user-friendliness make this deer feeder a favorite of new deer hunters and seasoned vets alike.
Wrapping it up with such an inexpensive price tag makes this deer feeder a no-brainer decision.
Taking a step-up from the Moultrie Feed Station, we have the Redneck Outdoors T-Post Gravity Feeder.
This deer feeder is just as simplistic in its design and ease-of-use as the aforementioned feeder. The major difference is that it will hold a large amount of feed, to the tune of 80 pounds! This is a double the size of the former deer feeder we discussed.
The larger than normal feed chute makes it easy for your deer to get to their feed. On the bottom side of the feed chute, there is a bit of a lip that is designed to keep the feed in place. The last thing you want is to lose all your deer feed due to an overflow and poor chute design.
And lastly, this deer feeder comes packaged complete with all the mounting hardware that you need in order to get up and running quickly.
Once you have outgrown one of the previous two gravity feeders, we suggest trying out the Banks Outdoor Feed Bank Gravity Feeder.
Able to hold an astonishingly large amount of feed in the 300-pound range, this feeder will help you keep your deer happy and coming back day after day. Needless to say, with such a big hopper for all that feed, the feeder as a whole is rather large. Because of that, you will probably need to use a truck to transport and keep this thing stocked. Additionally, due to its size, you may want to secure it to nothing smaller than a 4×4 post.
The body of the unit is made from a polyethylene material that is resistant to both water and UV rays. It comes equipped with four chutes.
Now, with quality comes a higher price tag… this feeder is not the cheapest solution on this list. This is the deer feeder that you buy when you are ready to make an investment and are committed to overseeing it on a regular basis.
If you are quite ready to make such a large investment, Banks also offers a 40-pound feeder option with that has two feed mouths.
This deer feeder is Moultrie’s most basic feeder on the market. It comes with a hopper that is crafted from a durable plastic material that can hold up to 30-gallons worth of feed. While this is the companies basic feeder, it also features a very sturdy tripod stand.
The tripod is there to keep the hopper upright and keep it sturdy. The spinning dispensing plate can distribute your deer feed as far as 25 feet when it has some brand new AA batteries installed.
One of the things that may turn a lot of people away from this feeder is that there is no port where you can plug in a backup solar panel. Having that solar panel on-board can be a real life-saver when your batteries are close to being completely depleted.
Even with the lack of solar panel integration, this Moultrie tripod deer feeder is the perfect option for anyone looking to buy their very first programmable deer feeder.
Do you want to get a bit into the more innovative deer feeders but just aren’t sure where to start? We suggest you take a look at the Moultrie Hanging Econo Plus Feeder
The Hanging Econo Plus Feeder displays an appreciation for portability with its small package and it is super-simple to use. The body of the feeder is actually a bucket made from metal and a rust-resistant coating. The bucket can hold up to 40 pounds of feed at one time.
By default, this feeder will dispense feed twice a day. When programmed, you can set the feeding intervals from of 4 or 16 seconds. The timer runs on a single 6-volt battery but it doesn’t seem to drain the battery very quickly on the default setting. Of course, battery-life may vary depending on several factors, the biggest being the weather.
This feeder is rather small and compact, making it a great unit for someone who is only wanting something to carry around or check on during weekend trips.
With the ability to store 55-gallons worth of deer feed, this might just be the envy of all the other deer feeders on the market currently. It features a digital timer that is capable of releasing your deer feed as much as 6 times per day, metal housing, thick-wall barrel, a very fast spin plate, a guard to keep varmints out of your feed and a funnel to dispense the feed – this feeder is certainly built to attract every deer in the neighborhood.
It also happens to come packaged with a locking adapter. This makes it easy for you to use any 55-gallon drum without having to do any additional drilling in the event you ever need to replace it.
Maintaining a deer feeder is a big responsibility and it can be a bit of an ongoing investment to keep it stocked up enough to do its job. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of every hunter to take care of the land on which they are hunting.
Because of this, you need to be sure that you can commit the time that a new deer feeder is going to require for proper maintenance.
What deer feeder are you using next season? More importantly, what type of deer feed or attractant will you be using?