Feeding Deer and Hunting Over Feed | Deer Feeder Locations
There are several reasons to feed your deer herd. Maybe you’re afraid that your herd doesn’t have access to enough high-quality natural vegetation in the wild or maybe you are simply trying to increase your efficiency of getting pictures to compile your hit list for the fall. Maybe hunting season is around the corner and you want to start patterning bucks to a feeder location for hunting. Whatever the reason is, placing your feeders in the best locations will increase your ability to reach your goals. But how do you know where the best deer feeder locations are?
Where to Start
One of the first things you need to consider when deciding on where to place your deer feeders is accessibility. You’ll want to place them in an area where you can easily get a bag a feed to with a four-wheeler or even your truck. If you want to place them slightly off of a trail for concealment, then that’s fine too, but just keep in mind that most sacks of deer feed weigh about 50 pounds and you’ll probably have to put at least two sacks per feeder depending on what type of feeder you’re using. Long story short, you want to keep your feeders close to a trail.
If you don’t already have deer feeders on your property then deer will have to learn where they are and get used to eating from them. This can take some time for a deer so putting feeders in locations that deer already frequent will decrease the time it takes for them to find and get used to the feeders. This may be some place as simple as a food plot. Deer already are likely frequenting a food plot so putting a feeder there will decrease the time it will take for deer to find it, though it may still take some time for deer to get used to eating from the feeder.
You can also place your feeders in staging areas. These are areas where deer tend to hang out before they go out into a food plot or a big agricultural field. Staging areas tend to provide more cover and concealment as well as food for deer so they don’t have to spend as much time out in a food plot during daylight. Placing a feeder just off a food plot may allow you to create a staging area as well. Keeping these feeders relatively close to your food plot or an agricultural field will also allow you the accessibility you will need when refilling the feeders.
Hunting Over Deer Feeders
If you plan on hunting over deer feeders then the location needs to work in favor of your hunting strategy. This includes stand placement, access, wind direction, and deer behavior in the immediate area. Deer feeders allow you to shift the behavior and travel routes of the deer, therefore you want to make sure the location allows you to hunt without spooking the deer. A well designed stand site with access downwind of the feeder and deer travel is ideal. This access should ensure there is no line of sight between you and the feeder as you approach the hunting setup.
Where You Shouldn’t Put Your Feeder
Although obvious, you shouldn’t put your deer feeders someplace inaccessible. This basically means you shouldn’t put them anywhere you can’t drive to or would have to carry sacks of feed for a long distance. Make it easy on yourself and keep your deer feeders easily accessible. This will lead to you filling your feeders when they need to be refilled because it won’t be such a chore.
Putting a deer feeder close to a bedding area may seem like a good idea, but it isn’t. First, bedding areas are usually inaccessible making things like refilling the feeder harder on you. Second, you don’t want to have to disturb bedding areas more than you have to, especially when hunting over deer feeders. Deer move in general patterns from bedding to feeding areas. Putting feeders in their bedding areas will reduce the distance they need to move which could make it more difficult for you to hunt that area and surrounding areas on the property.
Using deer feeders can be useful in deer management and deer hunting in certain states. Keep these deer feeder locations in mind if you are thinking about putting some feeders out on your hunting property this year!