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Field Guide -Gear

Best Deer Feeders for 2024

Deer have to eat. However, we all know that deer are cautious, highly skittish, and spooked by sudden movement, sounds, and smells – and sometimes, we don't even know what!

For hunters and animal enthusiasts hoping to get a glimpse of these stunning and fascinating creatures, deer feeders can be an effective strategy. While they're regulated and not legal in every state, if you're lucky enough to be able to use one, go for it. 

This blog looks at the top deer feeders for 2024 and offers tips on how to set up your feeder and get the most out of it. You'll also hear from one of our experienced HuntWise Field Team hunters, Cody Barhorst, about his approach to using deer feeders.

A deer in a green field with a barn and silo in the background, using a deer feeder concept.

How Hunters Use Deer Feeders 

Deer feeders are an attraction strategy for luring deer to a particular area by providing access to supplemental food. They play a crucial role in supporting the health and well-being of local deer populations.

These timed, motion, or gravity-activated devices, typically mounted on a platform, release a set amount of food. By providing year-round nutrition, they contribute to the deer's health, longevity, and antler size.

This is particularly important in winter when bioavailability and food sources are scarce. Wildlife enthusiasts and hunters can actively participate in caring for and supporting these beautiful creatures using deer feeders. 

For hunters, feeders can concentrate deer populations, making them easier to hunt and building habits by attracting them to your property. 

Deer Feeder Tips and Choosing the Right One 

A full range of deer feeders is on the market, from high-end tech-supported feeders to simple gravity feeders. When settling on a feeder, consider your needs, the deer population, the time of year, and your budget. 

When placing your deer feed, as water is an essential resource for deer, consider locating it near water such as a stream or pond. Additionally, zones with coverage where deer can feel confident to feed with minimal threat, such as dense brushes, are always a good option. 

Finally, choose areas near natural food sources such as leaves, shoots, and grasses, as deer are indiscriminate eaters and will forage around the feeder. 

What Else Should You Consider?

Some additional considerations include: 
 

  • Durability requirements:  How harsh is your natural environment? Will you need something highly waterproof and weatherproof?
     
  • Light: Consider the amount of sunlight your location receives. Many feeders require sunlight to keep the feed dry and fresh and prevent bacterial build-up.
     
  • Capacity: Feeder capacity can range from 50 pounds to 300 pounds, so choose the right amount for the local population. If you're unsure of the quantity, you can always ask the local wildlife authority for advice. 

 

As you can see, using a deer feeder requires plenty of thought and planning to make sure it's the right food source for deer in your area.

A whitetail buck in the brush, best deer feeders concept.

Types of Deer Feeders

Understanding the primary types of feeders makes choosing the right feeder easier. They each function differently, so here's a quick rundown of the most popular feeder types.

Gravity/Free-Choice Feeders

These simple self-loaded feeders use – you guessed it – gravity to replenish the food they eat, commonly corn or pellets. 

They're super user-friendly and portable, making them a great introduction to deer feeders for a first-timer. 

 

Electronic/Time-based Feeders

A timer controls the dispensing of feed from this feeder. Users can set their preferred number and length of dispensing time.

Time feeders run on batteries or via solar panels. As with gravity feeders, they come in various sizes, and you'll need to check battery life occasionally. 

 

Tripod Feeders

Tripod deer feeders are considered sturdy and reliable devices. They are typically made of metal or plastic and have three legs that support the feeder. 

 

Hanging Feeders

Hung from tree branches or man-made structures, these feeders are constructed with containers to hold the deer feed and constantly release feed at intervals. 

 

Trough Feeders 

This simple option, which looks like a little shed, can be manually loaded. A group of deer can gather around it to feed, making it great for viewing deer in groups. 

 

Manger Feeders

A manger feeder functions like a rack loaded with feed. It's easy access for the animals, so expect groups of deer to stop by for a snack at once. 


Top 3 Deer Feeders for 2024 

So, with a little background information on the types of feeders, which ones should you consider? Here are our top three recommendations for 2024!

 

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1. Best Automatic Feeder: Wildgame Quick Set 225 Feeder

Price: $159.99

Set and forget with this tripod automatic feeder. Boasting a 15-minute setup time, it's the perfect entry point for an automatic feeder without getting too technical. 

With the option to pre-set four daily feed times with 5-20-second intervals, you can modify your Wildgame Quick Set and adapt to your local environment and deer population. 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Best Tripod Feeder: Moultrie Deer Standard Tripod Feeder

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Price: $139.99

This all-in-one tripod can hold up to 200 pounds of capacity. It mixes corn, soybeans, and protein pellets for a nutrient-dense offering for your local sheep. It's battery-fed and can program up to 4 daily feeds, 1-20 seconds. 

The UV-resistant polymer coating will withstand harsh climates, making the Moultrie tripod a durable choice. 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Best Hanging Feeder: Moultrie Feed Station II

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Price: $39.99 

This easy gravity-style feeder holds up to 50 pounds of corn. Sometimes, a low- or no-tech option is the best, as no batteries are needed.

If you're not having any luck attracting deer to the feeder, load the Moultrie Feed Station II onto a different tree or branch to try different locations. 

 

 

 

 

 


 

How a HuntWise Hunter Uses Deer Feeders

Our friend Cody Barhorst shares how he incorporates a feeder into his hunting practices. He says,

"Feeding or baiting deer is a great option when trying to pattern a deer, given that this is legal in the state where you hunt. There are several options out there, some of which are gravity feeders, automatic feeders, or a simple barrel, and there are different variations of those options. In the past, I have used all three of these options at certain points, and they all have some pros and cons. 

Using an automatic feeder can be extremely effective because it feeds every day at the same time and can help set up a pattern for the deer that you can control, assuming the feeder is full of corn or pellets or whatever you choose to use. Personally, I have never had good luck with them and found that the deer are not as regular when using this type of feeder, mainly because it does not allow access to nearly as much food as other styles of feeders.

I have had an automatic feeder actually scare deer away from my stand when it goes off. Now, this may be an outlier situation considering the success so many other people have with them, but I do not use automatic feeders.

 

Gravity Feeders Work Best for Me

I do, however, use versions of gravity feeders and barrels to feed deer. Gravity feeders are great for in the woods or on a field edge, maybe on a well-used path in the hardwoods, because that feeder may be enough to get that deer to stop in front of you on its way to a main feed source.

Gravity-type feeders are also great because they keep smaller animals like raccoons and squirrels from eating all of your corn before the deer can get to it. I like to hang gravity feeders in certain spots where I want to put a camera setup because they get the deer to stop long enough to take a good video or several pictures.

I also love using barrels cut in half to feed deer, especially if it is a spot that is easy to access with a truck, like in or around a CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) field. Also, if you have a tower stand set up over a large field, I will set a barrel feeder close by because it definitely seems to increase your odds that those deer will walk across the field and come within range.

They are also extremely easy to restock. You only need to bring a bag or bucket full of corn or pellets with you and quickly dump them in the barrel, and that's all there is to it."

 

Close-up of hands pointing to HuntWise on a phone screen, marking deer feeder locations concept.

Pinpoint Feeder Locations With HuntWise

Placing deer feeders is like real estate; it's all about the location. Water access, bedding, vegetation coverage, passageways, and more all come into play, and finding that sweet spot is all about planning and zoning in on potential locations. 

For a top-down view of high-potential feeder placement, use the HuntWise app. With the topographical mapping feature and custom market plotting, you can locate peak deer feeder placement locations from the comfort of your living room to start bringing in deer sooner rather than later. You can also track deer movement and travel corridors during the off-season as the deer move from your feeders to primary feeding areas and bedding locations.

Get ready for the season and download HuntWise today! Your first week of exploring every feature is on us.

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