Why Use a Deer Feeder?

In states where its legal to feed deer, one of the most common deer feeder related questions asked is why use a deer feeder?

For the most part deer feeders are used for three purposes:

  1.  Deer hunters who want to keep the deer in their area for hunting purposes.
  2.   Wildlife lovers who want to provide the deer with a supplemental food source.
  3.  State or Federal wildlife organizations that track and monitor the number and health of a deer population.

Between the two, the deer hunting scenario is the more common. Let’s look at both scenarios and discuss each one in more depth.

Why use a deer feeder

Deer Hunting

Where legal, the concept of offering deer a supplemental form of food has been in practice for decades and has gone quite technical now. When I was a kid, most deer feeders were homemade and consisted of a 5-gallon bucket with a small drip hole drilled in It that was nailed to a small tree. These days modern-day deer feeders are electronic and let you schedule feeder activation for optimal feeder times, and some even have a built-in meter to let you know when it’s time for a refill.

From a deer hunting perspective, a deer feeder can be used in a number of different ways, including:

  • As a means to keep the deer population in a certain area or on your property.
  • In conjunction with game or trail cameras (which is very common where legal) in an effort to get an idea of the deer population.
  • Where legal, as a location to hunt deer. As in hunting at or over the deer feeder itself.
  • As a winter feeding program to keep the local deer population healthy.
  • And for some hunters, all of the above.
Deer at Deer Feeder

Wildlife Lovers

While spring and summer offer deer a bountiful diet, the feed options grow scarce in the winter. As such, a number of wildlife lovers will offer the local deer (again, if it’s legal) some type of food through a winter feeding program. Most of the time, a deer feeder (either commercial or homemade) is used for this job as it’s flexible and economical.

In addition to wanting to help the deer population, wildlife fans may also use a deer feeder for the following reasons:

  • As a means of feeding other animals as well. Depending on the type of feed being used, deer feeders almost always attract other animal species including squirrels, raccoons, turkeys, and bears.
  • As an opportunity to photograph wildlife. My mother used to have a homemade deer feeder in her backyard and would take some fantastic pictures of the various animals that came to visit the feeder.

State and/Federal Wildlife Organizations

In addition to using the data collected from harvested deer each year, federal, state, and local wildlife organizations may have a need to monitor the health and number of a sample of a specific deer population, and some will use deer feeders and trail cameras as a means to that.

I have a friend who works for a state wildlife organization and they use date samples gathered from trail camera data placed at feeders across the state as a means to evaluate deer numbers and the overall health of the species.

However, as mentioned above, the most popular and common use for deer feeders is in relation to deer hunting.

Different Deer Feeder Styles

Previous Post

An Introduction to Deer Feeders

Next Post

How to Squirrel Proof Your Deer Feeder