From wildlife enthusiast to nature photographers, from animal lovers to deer hunters – all these individuals want to get close enough to a deer to touch. That is why you will find different types of deer feeders abundant where these amazing animals live.
A bonus section at the end of the review includes tips about deer feeders and peripherals that are important to supplement the deer enthusiast. This review is split into eight feeders and two accessories, feeding units attached to feeder pails.
You have familiar with Larry the Cable guys “Git R Done,” well we have our own Joe the feeder guy, and our statement is “Fill R Up.”
Top-10 deer feeders in 2020:
The Rednek Outdoors T-post Gravity Feeder is one of the most basic models that requires minimum maintenance. It’s a gravity model which means that the weight of the feed will force the grain down whenever the trough empties. All you need to do is fix it well, and make sure you fill it up so that it doesn’t run out of feed.
With one of these feeders, you will be able to attract more deer to your location as well as maintain a larger herd. Make sure you set the feeder height to allow access for all deer age groups. It is also best to have more than one feeder around for better coverage.
The Rednek is made of polyethylene that is all-weather resistant; it weighs in at 10 lbs. and has a 4 x 5″ feed mouth that is perfectly suitable for deer consumption. This model can hold up to 80 lbs., of feed.
My take: this is a great simple model and is always good to have one around as supplementary feeders closer to home. What I liked about this is its simplicity, and the fact you can attach it to any tree or pole, making it truly storm proof. What is also great about this feeder is that it is a durable plastic that is UV proof, that can withstand most antler abrasions.
The Moultrie deer feeder is an electronic feeding system on three adjustable legs. This model is made of a durable plastic hopper that is all-weather and stands on four metal height adjustable legs, so you can set the feeder to 5.5, 7 or 8 feet. The feeding system is powered by a single 6v battery that releases the feed in a 360o pattern. This Moultrie model comes with a programmable feeding function that can be set to feed 6 times a day with a 1 to 20-second burst.
My take: this is a great feeder to spread around large grounds and forget, you just need to remember to come back to fill it up and change the battery when it’s depleted. This model provides 30 lbs., of feed, so its big enough for a good days hunting. Another fact to note is the dispensing weight per second, this feeder dispenser releases 4.6 lbs., of feeding the 20-second cycle (max) and only .38 lbs., in the 1-second cycle.
This means that in a 6-cycle day at 20 seconds you will release nearly the whole load, a total of 27.6 lbs. So, if you don’t intend to release a lot of feed, don’t fill it up to maximum capacity. Work out the feed amount per cycle and put in about 1 lb., more to be sure.
The Wildgame Quick-Set™ 50 can hold up to 50 lbs. of feed, but weighs in at 8 lbs., making this the smallest of the Wildgame models. However, what it makes up for in size is ease of installation and its ability to release food based on an electronic timer, make the best small feeder on the market. This model is powered by one 6v battery, and the pail is galvanized steel, making it extremely durable against antler butting.
My take: since this unit only weighs 8 lbs., it’s the perfect deer hunters companion. This baby takes 15 minutes set up, and with a 50 lbs., feed capacity that is spread over 30 feet and covers 360o , you can sit back and watch as your game comes into view.
This is the parks and gardens preferred feeder since it is friendly to the environment, easy to place and fill and is basically a simple wooden feeding trough. Good for placing near park benches or hidden camera sites. It is also useful for hunters that don’t want to waste time by setting up complicated feeders. Once placed and filled, you just step back and wait for the game to arrive.
Due to its basic design, this is a versatile feeder useful for many types of game and can also be turned into a plant pot and used indoors and outdoors.
My take: I am biased, I have a few of these, one is used as a micro herb garden, one is for small cacti and the two others are outside for feeding deer and other wildlife that wants to scrounge food without working for it, like squirrels, raccoons and my next-door neighbor’s hog.
If its versatility and unique design than Moultrie will provide you with both., This innovative one pail design is a telescopic bucket that can hold up to 5 gallons of feed. The telescopic design is easy for transportation, saving space, and can be set up anywhere at any time, in just under 15 minutes. It comes with a digital feeder that operates on 4 AA battery. The feeder is programmable, and you can set it up to feed 4 times a day with 1 to 20-second bursts. The funnel shape actually helps reduce feed getting stuck on the sides.
Since this is a Moultrie model, the feeder provides the same dispensing weights like the other models. The dispensing weight per second in this feeder releases 4.6lbs of feeding in the 20-second cycle (max) and only .38 lbs., in the 1-second cycle. This means that in a 4-cycle day at 20 seconds you will release a total of 18.4 lbs. So, if you don’t intend to release a lot of feed, don’t fill it up to maximum capacity. Work out the feed amount per cycle and put in about 1 lb., more to be sure.
My take: You have got to love this feeder, I do, it’s compact and large, with that telescopic bucket that just makes it easy to carry and set up anywhere. All you really need is a solid branch to hang it from and just “fill R up.” If you want, get the solar panel (sold separately) and rely on sunlight rather then batteries. I have one, I use it during hunting season, and it’s the best pail for quick and easy set-up.
If its solid, big and durable and you feed enough deer to cover a State, then it’s the Sweeney feeder unit that you want. With an incredible 300 Lbs. capacity, this is a great unit for any park, family zoo, or anyone living in a state that has a lot of deer and game.
The body is stainless steel for all-weather durability and structural strength. It comes with a scatter plate, swinging gates and a brass shaft machined for precision. Every unit has a built-in motor to manage the scheduled feed releases.
The Sweeney scatter feeder spreads the feed over a 60’ 360o circumference and stands on four 8’ legs. They provide a tripod accessory (not included), but I personally don’t like it. This model also has a solar panel option, which I do condone and in fact strongly suggest you get.
My take: If you are a large land or park owner or live on the edge of a large wildlife area and want to provide a steady feed for multiple animals without too much hassle, then this is the unit to get. This is not a hunter’s unit. Obviously, I don’t expect you to have one of these on your pick-up.
This is a sturdy simple and heavy-duty feeder for even the largest of beasts. It stands on a central post making antler issues a thing of the past. The feeder is a simple box bucket with four controlled flow feeding ports. The other beauty of this unit is that it is budget friendly, which means you get really good value for money when investing in this unit.
A lot of government parks and wildlife reserves have this model since it is ergonomically efficient to both maintenance crews and animals that come to feed. Price is also a major consideration when managing government and local budgets, so rest assured this model is well tested.
Installation can be an issue, and you install this one once, on a large post, it should be around 8,’ and the best post is either 4” x 4” or a hollow steel heavy duty pipe. You will need to dig a deep enough hole and cement it in for safety against the odd headbutting deer, elk, or squirrel with an issue.
The feeder is delivered really fast, within 3 days, and make sure you cover the 4 x 4 wood post with a PVC tubing, that will keep those pesky squirrels and coons at bay…they will headbutt the post out of frustration.
This model holds up to 300lbs of feed, so it’s for large game herds. Take note that the unit does not come with a post, you will need to buy that separately. The bucket is made of all-weather UV resistant Polyethylene and comes with 4 feed ports.
My take: I have seen this being used all over the world, so the design is popular. It does not keep varmints out, so any extra protective ideas you can add will help you protect the feed for your large game. This is a great unit for any large landowner or homeowner living near large herds. Obviously, this is not a hunters feeder model.
If you are looking for a general wildlife/ game feeder, then this is the model you want. Its designed for every kind of animal including varmints and birds. All you have to do is attach this bucket to a secure post or tree and in the words of Joe the Feeder Guy: “Fill-R-Up.”
This basic model is more than budget-friendly, is a must for any hunter, game park and homeowner with wildlife in the backyard. It is a gravity design that can hold up to 40 lbs., of feed, and is made of all-weather UV resistant PVC.
Another important fact is that this unit comes with 30 weep holes in the tray so that any water will filter out and not cause swelling and damage to the feed.
As many hunters with experience know, you need feed control for best results. This is why Moultrie have designed a special electronic programmable feeder that you can attach to your bucket using the four screw holes. This small unit comes with four AA batteries and a test button, as well as a port to connect to a solar power unit for energy saving. The body is made of ABS plastic, and the feeder plate is metal with an adjustable mount to connect to any bucket size.
This unit can program 4 feeds a day, and it releases feed per second. You can schedule it to release for 1 second all the way up to 20 seconds. The release amounts will be .38lbs per in the first second, and all the way up to 4.6lbs for 20 seconds. This means that a total of 18.4lbs can be released in a 4 days programmed cycle.
My take: Hunters will love this small addition, although it only comes with a four-month warranty, so I guess you will need to buy a new one every year – naaa, just kidding, it’s actually quite a sturdy unit and delivers a good 360o feeding range.
This is a compact feeding unit that delivers a great punch. The American Hunter® Sun Slinger Feeder is easy to install, just screw in the four base screws to any bucket feeder. The programmable unit allows you to preset feeding from one to six times a day with an adjustable feed rate between 1 to 30 seconds. You can also program it to work on specific days. This unit needs a 6v battery; it doesn’t come with one, so don’t forget to buy one.
My take: this is a great directional feeder and works a treat when hunting. It truly is compact and expedient, and since its directional, you can actually adjust this to suit specific hunting and photography requirements.
Why Feed Deer?
Yup, the $64 million question, why feed what you are going to shoot or photograph (shoot too) or just watch? Why man why?
Well, there are a number of reasons, and they include seasonal issues, such as providing food for wildlife during the winter. This is considered to be the main reason for wildlife estate managers and parks, as well as wildlife friendly societies.
Together with this concern comes a counter-concern, the issue of corn feed in most states. Most people do not purchase special game feed that is designed for specific digestive systems. They think that corn is the best way to go and spread around hundreds of pounds of corn. Now, if you live in the Midwest, this is not an issue, since the animals already live off a corn-rich diet. However, for other parts of the country, corn is a killer.
Do you know why corn kills wildlife?
Let me explain, Acidosis is one of the biggest problems that deer get when eating too much corn, this is due to the fact corn is a carbohydrate which is low in fiber, and this leads the animal to develop acidosis, or as some might know it as corn toxicity. Acidosis leads to dehydration as the microbial buildup ion the deer explodes exponentially leading to a build-up in lactic acid and death within 72 hours.
So, before you go out to save the wildlife, make sure you buy the right feed and follow state regulations. You will find that some states ban the use of corn in winter. Make sure you know what is best for your wildlife population.
Correct Supplemental Feeding
Most game managers, specifically deer and wildlife managers are concentered with supplementary feeding all the time. Seasons, as mentioned are one issue to contend with. The other is visitor and hunter feeding which goes hand in hand with wildlife tourism and hunting seasons.
When you visit a park, you always see the famous “don’t feed the animals” sign; this is not out of cruelty but necessity. Wildlife is not genetically built to handle human processed foods, and also many humans leave bags around for animals to chew on and die.
The other concern is when hunters and wildlife photographers position themselves with feeders, and suddenly you get a major influx of weird and wonderful feed types that can kill the game quicker than a bullet.
Add to these two concerns the age of the animal, where younger beasts are more susceptible to food intake than older ones. The size of the animal will also be directly impacted by correct feeding patterns. This is why, even when hunting, make sure you take the right feed with you. Smaller (non-hunted) deer will eat as well, and you don’t want to make them collateral damage.
Deer Feed Requirements
Do you want to be the best deer hunter?
If you answered yes to this question, then you need to understand the fundamentals of deer feeding, and it isn’t corn. Deer need 16% crude protein in its daily diet, and a lot of fiber too. Take into account that apart from protein and fiber, deer live off minerals and vitamins just we do.
So, when you decide to buy a deer feed for your deer feeder, read the ingredient label properly and only feed them on something that looks like it would provide sustenance to a professional athlete.
Let me help you understand. You can improve hunting by improving deer count and health. This is done by investing in the right feed and making sure that while you feed the am and pa for a good shot; you are feeding junior too for a healthy life in the wild, so that next time when you come back, the junior is big and juicy.
Bottom line: what you feed them is what you will get, either tender and juicy, or dead in the wild and nothing on your grill.
Also, if you a hunting enthusiast, you might other articles I wrote on hunting topic:
- One of my favourite – hunting with a best hunting spear on deer;
- Coyote hunting with a green predator hunting light;
- Small things that can be easily fit in a best travel vest pockets;
- Necessarily – cheap hunting book to spent a free time with use.
Do you want to be the best deer photographer?
If you just like photographing wildlife and petting them, then you need to feed them properly. Hunters only come in hunting seasons, you, however, are all year round. This means that the onus on the next generation of deer is up to you to secure when you decide to feed them.
Deer Feeder Advantages by Design
There are a number of deer feeder designs, the most basic ones are troughs, open to nature and all its complements, so these might be great in the summer, but in winter have to be cleaned and lined every day. Also, don’t forget that the lil’ critters like to eat too, so open troughs are not efficient if you want to concentrate on deer feeding.
Here is a list of features that make up a deer feeder and must be incorporated in all designs to provide the best deer feeder, models.
- Waterproof: If you want to provide a clean, dry eating experience, and not a soggy moulid one, make sure your feeder is waterproof. This is checked when looking at the cover design as well as the feeder unit and how well protected it is. With timed feeding units that spread feed, it’s a matter of programming to spread the feed to meet specific known feeding times that will attract the game.
- Locking Lid: This is important against critters. You also need this for waterproofing, but its other main function is to stop lil’ critters and varmints from entering the bucket and stuffing themselves into oblivion.
- Durable: It has to be sturdy enough to withstand natural environments, weather, and critters. Take into account that a raccoon can be as big as a small bear, and bears too can take a swipe if they feel like it. Antlers are a major contender for construction integrity. This means that both material and body design are important as features for durability.
- Dispenser: Well obviously you need this, without a dispenser you have nothing but a big bucket of feed. The dispenser unit can be controlled mechanically, by gravity or by a machine (electronically). There is no best dispenser unit, there is dispensing units for different requirements, so just make sure you know what you need before choosing the dispenser system.
- Capacity: You need to match your feeders capacity to your needs. If you are a hunter, then you want a small quantity in a lightweight unit, one that is easy to transport, install and fill. If you are a homeowner with a crush on wildlife, then you need an average bucket size with a good dispensing unit, and if you are a park or wildlife business owner, then you need a big capacity feeder that saved you on refilling all the time.
Bottom line: first know what you are doing, then you will know what you need.
Deer Feeder Strategies and Tips
Make sure you follow your state rules and laws, tips are general and can be legal or illegal depending on where you live.
Tip #1. Placing your Deer Feeder
This is perhaps the most important part of a hunt or a photographic shoot. Placing the mobile feeder is critical for success since you need to attract the deer to your site and you can’t attract it by placing a deer feeder in the middle of a Walmart or Costcos’ as much as you would place it in your bedroom. So, you are going into the woodlands, and you want to set up your shoot.
Take these positioning tips into account:
- Accessibility: make sure the feeder is accessible to your truck if you need to walk a long way you will tire out carrying all the equipment and bags of feed. You need to be able to set up shop easily, that means getting to your site with your truck.
- Deer traffic: Always choose a spot that is known for high herd movement, you don’t want to place yourself in a deer vacuum.
- Water: It is always best to be near a natural source of water, a river, lake and such, this is always attractive to deer and other game animals.
- Bedding: Check out the area for signs of bedding, this is a sure sign of game proximity and traffic.
- Proximity to Noise: Try not to set up near a loud area, such as a farm, a highway or any other source of human activity.
- Hide: in states where it is legal, set your hide up close to the feeder.
Deer Feeders and Strategies
Hunting over bait is not legal in all states, you can still set up a food plot area, which will create traffic, and most deer will remember the location after using it a few times.
You can set up a great location by including a feeder, water source, minerals and scrapes in a way that attracts the deer. Once the deer have got used to the area, you can come back next year without the feeder and bait and find that the animals are more populous in the area you set up.
For legal sites factor in the wind, and use more than one feeder, in fact, I use a two-feeder system, one in the north, the other in the south. Experienced hunters, especially spear hunters know that wind is the determining factor in initial success. Of course, if you come all spruced up with shaving lotion don’t expect to catch deer, maybe some babes at the bar after, but out in the woodlands, you might catch a cold, that’s about it.
Deer Feeder Site Necessities
Deer are mammals, just like us they have social activities, although this doesn’t include Facebook or Snapchat. Deer are attracted to comfort items such as mineral blocks and scrapes as well as a clean source of water. Try to make your site attractive to a deer, in a deer saturated woodland, think about what is missing and add it.
Remember the issue with smell, so remember that your fingers are full of smell and when you touch the feeder you are smearing it with your body odor. The two best ways to counter this are either using a scentless sanitizer or use surgical gloves.
I actually prefer surgical gloves, but no matter your personal preference, make sure when you go to refill the feeder you leave no human scent around. That also goes for hidden cam’s that need to be realigned or positioned, when touching them, make sure you don’t leave your odor behind.