Tips on using a feeder

Written by TheDeerwhisperer on Thursday, May 30, 2013

First thing that needs to be determined is what is your goal using the feeder (yes I hear some of you mumbling “to kill deer dumbass” ha-ha) but in all seriousness it is something that needs to be thought out. If you are wanting to put meat in the freezer, then just popping up a feeder somewhere and hunting over it will absolutely work like a charm for smaller bucks or does…if you are a trophy hunter and looking for that big boy, odds are (again exceptions to every rule) that will not work for most hunters. Feeders are very invasive to a deer’s territory (big foreign loud object that came out of nowhere) which can make the bigger deer very nervous around it and potentially changing the way they move in your patch making killing them over the feeder during the season very difficult. Odds are if you do catch them on the feeder it will be at night.

Couple ways I use feeders when hunting for bucks:

1) I will try avoid hanging a feeder during the season (in my opinion this is the number 1 mistake made). All my feeders get placed usually at the end of the season in the spots that I determine is a good place for one. The feeder will remain in place for the rest of the winter, spring (no battery or corn), and summer (corn added and battery back in) so by hunting season the deer have adjusted to it …In some spots the feeder will remain in place for close to 2 years before I hunt it. You will be surprised how comfortable these animals get when you leave them in a spot for over a year…even the big boys...don’t forget some of the now big boys were only 2 when I put the feeder out, so they grew up around it, and are now 4+ yrs. old and ready to be taken and comfortable with that feeder as they have no reason not to be.

2) Always place a feeder in cover…can’t stress this enough. If you want mature bucks to feed during shooting hours make sure it is in an area to where they feel safe. I love putting them in thickets and cutting small trails around the outside of the feeder about 30yds away…I have noticed that during the rut the big boys know where the feeder is and although he will not go to the feeder…he will go cruising near it to pick up a hot doe...feeders will bring in doe as a secondary baitJ. The trails I create is the easiest route for the buck to cruise, and also works as a great place for bucks to leave a scrape line…so many benefits to doing this method there is no way I can write them all here in this one post. This is my favourite way to utilize a feeder. You are not hunting the feeder but the surrounding trails 20-50 yds. or so away in a thicket. The trails are where the trail cam should be placed not by the feeder, or have two, but you need one on the trail you create to catch the big boys cruising.

I would like to end by saying I don’t use them everywhere, but feeders can be a huge asset if used properly from my experience. Key is location of the feeder, have patience to not hunt them right away, and let the deer acclimate for as long as you can...longer the better. If you don’t have the time or patience to properly hunt and acclimate a feeder in a deer’s territory; you are better off without them and should use a different baiting technique. This is my experience within my areas.

side note: is feeders are also a great way to help the heard stay healthy during the winter months when food sources run low...and while bucks are regrowing there antlers.

Good luck!

About The Author

A master of finding and harvesting big New Jersey whitetails with 5 NJ Pope & Youngs to...

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