As hunters, we’ve all had those days – the ones where not only did you not bag anything, you didn’t see anything all day long. Were the deer just bedded down somewhere, or was the location a complete dud? It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure: you didn’t see any of them.
Deer feeders are a popular and effective method for overcoming this frustrating situation. Setting up a feeder early in the year attracts deer to a specific location, and you can be more confident that at least one will be in that area when it comes time to fill your tag.
Feeders range from ridiculously simplistic buckets to complex, electronic devices that require extensive assembly and programming. The right feeder for you will depend on where and how you plan to use it, and fortunately there are a variety of options to fit any situation.
Choosing the Best Deer Feeder
At its simplest, a deer feeder could be a 5-gallon bucket filled with corn and would only cost a few dollars. Problem solved, right? Not necessarily. Unless you live within easy walking distance of where you set up the feeder and don’t mind checking it daily, this isn’t going to work.
The first problem with the bucket is that it will be available to all the hungry animals of the forest. While it might seem obvious, a deer feeder needs to feed deer. Equally important, it needs to not feed other animals. Squirrels and other varmints enjoy eating the feed just as much as deer, but you’re not hunting squirrels. To prevent feed from getting wasted and make sure the area doesn’t become a breeding ground for rodents, a good deer feeder will protect the feed from these other creatures.
Second, the feed needs to be kept safe from moisture. Left out in the rain, a bucket of corn will breed fungus and mold. The feeder should only expose small amounts of feed to the elements at any one time. Most do this through a timer, which disperses a certain amount of feed at regular intervals.
Now that you’ve ensured the feed is protected from critters and Mother Nature, you need a place to deploy it. Feeders typically come in two varieties: stand-alone and hanging. Stand-alone feeders are easier to install, but require a bigger footprint; they’re harder to use in heavily wooded areas. On the other hand, hanging feeders necessitate a sturdy tree and more time to set up.
The last consideration is size; feeders come with different hopper sizes and with capacities as low as thirty pounds and as high as a few thousand. The best option for you will depend on how often you want to refill the device. A 30-pound feeder will require frequent refills, while one that holds a few thousand pounds can last you an entire season.
These deer feeder reviews should help you make the right decision about which one is best for your specific needs.
Top 4 Best Deer Feeders Table
1. Redneck Outdoors T-post Gravity Feeder
T Bar or tree using a strap
2. Moultrie 30 Gallon Easy-Lock Tripod Deer Feeder
Timed Spin Cast
3. Wildgame Innovations Pail Feeder, Real Tree Camo Steel, 50-Lbs
Timed Spin Cast
4. Deer and Livestock Feeder By Zenature
The Best Deer Feeder Reviews
Bottom Line: A deserving 5 star deer feeder, it's easy to setup and serves its purpose well. Deer get used to it quickly and come back regularly to feed from it. Most people love this feeder and are really impressed it's priced so low
Redneck Outdoors T-post Gravity Feeder Review
This feeder is all about simplicity: no electronics and no moving parts, nothing to mount in on, even.
As its name suggests, this feeder can easily be mounted to a t-post using the included mounting equipment. It can also be hung from a sufficiently large tree. The best thing about this deer feeder is its flexibility; since it doesn’t have a tripod like most feeders, it can be mounted in more densely wooded areas if need be.
The hopper can hold up to 80 lbs. of feed, though you’d better be sure it’s well anchored at that weight. If pounded into soft soil, the slightest nudge could tip it over when it’s that top heavy.
One of its biggest disadvantages to this feeder is that the feed trough is completely exposed, meaning there’s no barrier preventing varmints from clearing out the food supply. That’s the price you pay for simplicity.
The Redneck Outdoors T-post gravity feeder is a good choice for hunters with limited money and storage space. It’s also affordable enough that you won’t be kicking yourself if you don’t use it very often.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: This is a really great deer feeder with some great features, like the ability to set the feeding times (up to 6 times a day) so you don't waste feed. It's popular for a reason and anyone buying this unit will be pleased with the desired outcome
Moultrie 30 Gallon Easy-Lock Tripod Deer Feeder Review
The Moultrie has a feeder spreader that throws feed in a 6-foot circle around the device. There’s nothing preventing squirrels or raccoons from eating the feed, and they may even try to climb onto the hopper to get at the food inside. The hopper lid is secure enough that they won’t wreak too much havoc, though.
At 30 gallons (~200 lbs.) of feed, it’s not the largest feeder out there, but it’s sufficient to require only very infrequent refills.
Compared to more simplistic feeders, a downside to this one is that it requires a 6-volt battery, something that you probably won’t have lying around your house. The life of the battery depend on the ambient temperature and on how often you choose to dispense feed, but it won’t last the whole season. Solar panels are available as a replacement for the battery though, and if it’s near enough to an electrical outlet (feeder is on the edge of your property), you could also connect to that using an extension cord.
The tripod assembly for this feeder takes about ten minutes to set up and doesn’t require any tools. It’s incredibly sturdy, so you definitely won’t need to worry about the wind or smaller animals disturbing it. A large buck with a big set of antlers could potentially tip it over, though.
The Moultrie is a good option for hunters who want consistent feeding times and aren’t placing their feeder in a remote area. You will have to refill it and change the batteries, and it’s fantastic value.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: Overall a great product with some top features, users who are looking for a sturdy product to last a long time will benefit from this model
Wildgame Innovations Pail Feeder, Real Tree Camo Review
While a bucket on the ground functions as a pretty poor deer feeder, what about a bucket in a tree? The Wildgame Pail Feeder expands on the bucket feeder by attaching an electronic timer and feed spreader to the bottom, and comes with the necessary equipment to hang it from a tree.
The hopper can only hold 50 lbs. of feed, so it will need more frequent refills, and the difficulty of refilling will be based on where you choose to hang it. Know that if you hang the feeder six feet up, it’s going to be challenging to get any feed in it.
The electronic spreader in this device is quite powerful, throwing corn in a 30-foot circle around the feeder. Depending on how high you hang it, it could reach even farther. The timer is set up to release feed twice a day, and at that rate, you’ll probably need to refill it every two weeks. The bucket comes with a tight lid, so you shouldn’t have any problems with any other wildlife eating the food in the hopper.
Due to it’s low price this is an excellent option for hunters on a budget. It’s simple to set up and program, incredibly lightweight (8 lbs. without feed), and fairly resistant to small animals.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: This is a really simple but effective deer feeder, it is completely made in the USA and contains no metal parts. It is well constructed of durable white pine and will last years.
Deer and Livestock Feeder By Zenature Review
Admittedly, this feeder is not so different from the bucket concept mentioned earlier. It’s essentially a wooden feed trough for deer to eat out of. However, it does have a few advantages over the bucket method that could make it the right choice for certain hunters.
Unlike a bucket, the Zenature Deer Feeder has a removable bottom for easy cleaning. This should help cut down on the fungus and mold growth that could happen with an open-air feeder. It’s really lightweight, which is nice when you need to carry it some distance, but it’s not so great when the deer accidentally tip if over. To prevent that from happening, you might want to stabilize it with cord and a few stakes. It’s also not that tippy when full of feed, though you’ll need to refill frequently since it only holds 20 lbs. of food.
Assembling this feeder is a one-time affair, though a number of users have complained that it’s a complicated process. It’s put together with a series of wooden dowels that can’t be easily removed to start over. Just read the instructions carefully, and you should be fine.
One of the Zenature’s biggest advantages is how natural it looks. A plastic and metal feeder, especially one with a tripod, looks terribly out of place in the woods. This one blends right in.
While this pick fails some of the criteria for being a great deer feeder, you can’t beat the price. It’s especially a good option for people who live near where they’ll be placing the feeder, where it will be easy to refill and inspect for mold.
See it in Action
The Best Deer Feeder for You
A deer feeder is a great investment no matter how you look at it; they’re relatively inexpensive and are highly effective at attracting deer to the area you’ll be hunting later in the year. Even the worst deer feeder will have a good payoff.
You can use a game call as well to really up your game, sitting inside a ground blind will keep you hidden and dry while you wait for the deer to arrive, or you can use a tree stand to get a better view of your target area.
Choosing the best deer feeder is mostly a matter of the kind of terrain you’ll be placing it in: is it near where you live, lightly or heavily wooded, or full of critters? Consider these questions before selecting a feeder, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful hunt come autumn.