Deer Feeders
Creating A Wildlife Hub

Evolution of our Deer Feeders

Our evolution using deer feeders has been a long one, similar to our food plot experiences. We initially began giving the deer corn in the field on a rock a couple of hundred yards from the house so that we could watch them. When we realized how much they liked the shelled corn, we thought that corn placed in a few different areas of our farm would give the deer a little extra nutrition. We thought that we were smart and rigged up four inch plastic PVC pipe about four feet long into five gallon plastic containers. It was soon evident that the deer could empty these in only a couple of days. This did not provide the slower supplemental feeding that we were looking for, plus you could go broke if you tried to keep these deer feeders full.

We then bought a San Angelo Wildlife Feeder from one of the catalogs and attached it to a 30 gallon plastic barrel. The deer feeder worked fine, but the barrel didn't have a lid and it was a feast for the raccoons and squirrels.

Our next generation deer feeder had the same San Angelo feeder attached to another plastic barrel with a screw on lid. This combination worked well for a couple of years until we began having problems with the automatic feeder itself.

We than bought two Smart Timer game feeders that we attached to the plastic barrels with screw on lids. Again this worked fairly well for a while until the squirrels decided that they wanted more than we were giving them. The squirrels chewed a hole into one of the plastic barrels and we once again found our barrels emptying very fast. I wish we would have taken a picture of this. I don't know if I would have believed it if I hadn't have seen it myself.

Our next attempt saw us buying two galvanized garbage cans and attaching the feeders to them. Once we strapped down the lids, these seemed to work well. In came the raccoons and squirrels again. They got especially good at clinging to the tree and reaching out and stealing corn right off of the spinner plate. They would also wrap themselves around the feeder itself. I think that the raccoons hanging on the San Angelo feeder was the cause of the problem that we had with it. Once the shaft was straightened and lubricated it started working again. (They had been stealing corn from us all along with this method, but now it had become somewhat of a competition for us. We were getting outsmarted by raccoons and squirrels.)

It was now time for a varmint cage. Our first homemade ones worked relatively well but the small holes kept the corn from being cast very far from the feeder and soon caused the formation of a water hole where all of the corn fell to the ground. We had made these first cages so that they fit right against the feeders. Eventually we bit the bullet and purchased a real varmint cage for each of our two feeders.

Unfortunately the varmint cages we purchased did not do the trick since the raccoons could reach through them and spin the plate. We then made our own that were larger in diameter so that the raccoons could no longer reach the spinner plate.

We had always hung our feeders in trees and use wooden ladders to fill them. This created two problems. The first was that it was difficult for everyone to climb the ladders to fill the feeders. The second problem was that the deer soon dug holes under the feeders and they filled with water and became mud pits. To take care of both of these problems we purchased two Game Country tripods. We could move the tripod where ever we wanted to stay away form the mud and the tripod had a hand winch so that we could lower it down and fill it from the ground.

We are currently running two feeders. One still uses a Smart Timer and the homemade varmint cage and the other uses an American Hunter feeder with the smaller varmint cage. The raccoons have started stealing corn from it so we've purchase a varmint zapper to connect to this feeder.

Our experience has taught us that for us the best deer feeder set-up is with a metal can so that squirrels cannot chew into them, with a timer that allows us to select both the spin time and the time of day and number of time it spins and a tripod with a winch so that we can move the feeder away from the mud and lower it for ease of filling.

We have recently set up what we call our exploration feeder. It is a five gallon bucket with a spinner feeder on it. We take this feeder and move it around to see if we can locate bucks we are not seeing at our other feeders and food plots. It has been a lot of fun moving this feeder around and then checking our digital trail camera pictures to see what has visited. We are currently using a Cabela's photocell feeder on our bucket feeder.

As you may know from the pictures we post on this site a black bear has been visiting us since last summer. We had pictures of him around our feeders at various times and on May 10th he finally knocked over one of our feeders. The tripod and the can survived but the American Hunter feeder was broken.

I have decided to remove our other feeder for a while and see if the bear moves on to other food sources. We'll fix our broken feeder and try to put them back out at a later date and see if he continues to visit them or damage them.

Keep watching the whitetail deer photographs pages to see what is going on at our feeders and food plots.

Deer Feeder tripod

This is how our feeders look now using a tripod.

Visit the Whitetail Deer Management Page.

Visit the Homemade Deer Feeders Page.