If you own land in one of the country’s best hunting states, then you want to make the most of it. Even if your spot is in a different state, you can still lure deer where you want them and earn their trust. Feeding them is a great way to do this. Like any animal, they need food. When you can provide the food they find attractive and do so consistently, you can have an easier time hunting whenever you want.
Making Deer Feel at Home
Deer eat multiple times daily, which happens both day and night. However, there’s more to it than just providing a food source. The right habitat improvements help deer feel safe on your property. The cover is a crucial aspect of this, and you need to grow things so deer have a place to feel comfortable.
Screens are also important visual barriers preventing deer from seeing anyone around them, including you, neighbours, or vehicles driving by. That helps deer feel safe on your property. However, annual screens might not be a great idea since you would need to keep planting them yearly.
Remember that deer also need water. Deers get a lot of hydration from plants they consume, but a water source can prove very alluring to deer. Make your waterhole large enough to hold water through a drought, and make it self-filling whenever possible to minimize your personal intrusion into spaces you want deer to trust. A waterhole under shade instead of direct sunlight prevents evaporation, and deer prefer the comfort of nearby cover.
While you can plant vegetation on your property that deer love, having the right deer feeder is another crucial component to feeding them consistently. You can use one to train deer to eat in daylight, which can match your hunting hours better. The right feeder can also save you money by not wasting feed, and anything resistant to weather and rain is going to prove a better investment over time.
The right deer feeder is crucial to hunting nocturnal bucks during the day. As a buck gets older, they get increasingly nocturnal. However, their racks are also larger, and they get harder to hunt even if they’re more desirable. Mature bucks do what they can to minimize high-stress levels, and automated feeding certainly appeals to them if they don’t have to expend much energy looking for food. You can use that to your advantage.
A great feeder is going to make no noise or just emit low levels of noise; this helps calm bucks down. The best feeders also hold hundreds of pounds of dry feed, so you don’t have to approach it yourself very often. You can also shut it down at night to train local deer for daytime feeding.
Deer Feeding Patterns
Deers usually eat five times every 24 hours and look for three different food categories. However, you don’t have to offer them their entire diet every meal. Keep the focus on luring them in for daytime feeding. The most important part of their feeding cycle is likely to be the hour prior to it getting dark. Create a layout that guides their afternoon movements toward your feeder.
You need specific areas for deer daytime bedding and browse activities so they are close to your feeder. Diverse food plots, an apple orchard, and hidden corners of multiple-crop farm fields can all draw deer close to where you want them. From there, they can find your feeder on their own. Ensure the local herd also has nightly sources of cover and food available so they stay in the area.
Form a Cohesive Strategy
A feeder might be the centre point of your hunting property, but you need to integrate everything together into a complementary environment that fuels your hunting success. If you know other gamekeepers in the area with similar locations, ask them for their guidance about what works and doesn’t. Put as many of these ideas as you can into play so you have a steady stream of mature bucks that grow to trust your land.
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