Deer Corn Feeders – 2023 Buying Guide
According to botanists, corn plants have existed in our region for at least 9,000 years, and biologists suggest that deer in the Americas have been around for about 3.5 million years. Therefore, it’s easy for me to conclude that several generations of deer learned a great deal about patience as they waited for one of their favorite foods to evolve.
Geneticists have affirmed that our modern corn is a descendant of a grass known as Teosinte. Although we take its golden kernels for granted, it is only one of several essential plants selectively bred and cultivated by Native American tribes. Modern uses for corn seem endless and include everything from fuel for our trucks to a glass of fine bourbon. However, most hunters focus on its ability to draw deer like a magnet.
Redneck ingenuity, better materials, and improved technology have led to more efficient means of dispensing precise amounts of corn at any time of day. Nature lovers, landowners, managers, and weekend hunters can all benefit by learning how to use the various dispensers available to draw their deer to specific locations and help keep them within the boundaries of their property.
I recently talked to Cody Borgfeld about deer corn feeders. He’s General Manager at Texas Hunter Products and has worn many hats during his nearly 20 years with this San Antonio-based company. He’s rubbed shoulders with those designing and manufacturing a growing list of products for the hunter and outdoor enthusiast.
Texas Hunter Products was founded in 1954 and has secured a reputation for quality and durability. Their product line includes a variety of corn, protein, and fish feeders, along with other habitat-enhancing products. Their catalog also includes feeder kits, custom-made hunting blinds, and a variety of accessories.
Cody said their company has two facilities in San Antonio that manufacture and assemble their products on-site, allowing them to proclaim Made in Texas with pride.
Types Of Feeders
Automatic Deer Feeders
Borgfeld said their feeders come in various capacities and allow for several options in their placement. Most automatic deer corn feeders use gravity to direct corn to a smooth funnel where the kernels fall onto a ridged plate attached to a DC motor. Their digital timer is easily programmed for time and spin duration, allowing for flexibility in when and how much corn is distributed. A well-designed and thoroughly tested varmint guard covers the assembly to prevent unauthorized critters from stealing the corn or causing damage to the mechanism.
Borgfeld described two models of their automatic feeders that vary in capacity and operation:
“Texas Hunter uses galvanized metal that we powder-coat to provide years of service. Our units come with the EZ Set Digital Timer with up to nine daily presets with 1 to 60-second run-times and a five-year limited warranty. It’s pre-wired for our optional solar charger and powered by a 12-volt rechargeable battery.
TF300– This 300 lb capacity feeder comes with four or eight-foot legs.
TF650– This 650 lb capacity unit is also available with four or eight-foot legs.
Hide-A-Way Stand And Fill
These feeders come in 300-400 & 500 lb capacities, offering hunters a more natural feeding option. These feeders are quickly filled from the ground and can be camouflaged and placed inside a wood line yet propel corn up to 50′ into a field. These lockable units also come with a sight glass that allows hunters to see corn levels from a distance.
Borgfeld described how several clients had successfully converted their fish feeders to throw corn. They aimed the directional feeder onto roadbeds and found that deer were less spooked when feeding along a trail of corn and seemed to offer better shooting opportunities.
This unit comes with the EZ Set Digital Timer and uses two blowers that propel the kernels away from the feeder in a pie-shaped pattern that clears the feeder opening so no corn is left exposed to tempt varmints. An additional benefit is that no corn falls underneath the unit but instead falls a minimum of 5-10′ away.
Hanging Deer Feeders
Texas Hunter offers two hanging models for outdoors folk that want to suspend their feeders from a tripod or tree of their choice.
HF100W– This model has a capacity of 100 lbs and is an all-directional unit with baffle options to create various dispersion patterns.
TF300HB– This package includes a heavy-duty hanging bracket (HB1) for the TF300, so you can easily suspend it from your favorite tree or the optional 14′ EZ Lift Tripod system.
Gravity Deer Feeders
Gravity feeders often attract a broader range of wildlife throughout the day, as they are not limited to specific feeding times. Hunters should strategically position them in areas to shape movement patterns and distribute browsing pressure across the landscape. Texas Hunter offers a variety of patented free-feed gravity feeders that can also accommodate soybean or protein pellets.
PF300– This economical portable model is easy to fill and designed to minimize antler contact. It consists of a Powder-Coated 55-gallon barrel with heavy-duty legs, foot pads, and 24″ stabilizing stakes. Three ports with rain guards keep the corn or protein dry and fresh. A heavy-duty galvanized lid and special food-grade enamel coating hold 300 lb of corn or 250 lb of protein via patented feeder inserts that keep the feed flowing.
PF1000L– This one-piece roto-molded model is UV resistant, rated for 1,000 lb of feed, and has adjustable baffles for volume and flow for each of its four feeding ports. It’s durable yet lightweight for easy set-up and comes with powder-coated heavy-duty steel legs with stakes, stainless-steel hardware, and a rigid, hinged lid for easy filling.
Texas Hunter has developed a line of patented roto-molded food-grade feeders that remain 26% cooler than steel. These feeders are tough enough to last a lifetime, with large feed ports and adjustable baffles that allow for different pellet sizes and feed volume control. They will never rust, and a built-in UV inhibitor helps to maintain the original appearance.
These models are easy to set up and come with stainless-steel hardware. Paired with a heavy-duty, Powder-Coated steel stand with skids makes moving them a breeze. Two heavy-duty hinged lids with built-in lid stops make filling these feeders an easy chore. Texas Hunter offers three variations of their Extreme Feeder models that vary in capacity and the number of feed ports:
XPF600– With four feeding ports and a capacity of 600 lb, this portable model is roto-molded for durability. Each port has adjustable baffles to control the flow rate, and their UV-resistant construction and easy-fill hopper make refilling convenient.
XPF1200– This larger feeder offers the same durable material but with a larger capacity (1,200 lb) and six adjustable six-inch feeding ports.
XPF2000– This six-port model is their largest feeder with a capacity of 2,000 lb. It also can be filled with corn or a pellet feed of your choice. Their unique design keeps the feed flowing, and you can easily adjust each large feed port to accommodate any type of feed.
Extreme Feeders For Fawns
These feeders are identical to the above models, but their low-profile feed ports are 17″ above the ground and perfect for feeding younger deer and fawns.
Whether you hunt, photograph, or just need an easier way to attract animals around you into an open area, a tailgate feeder could be your best solution. A road feeder enables you to spread corn exactly where you need it. They mount to any 2″ receiver on your truck, Jeep, ATV, UTV, or RTV.
- Two power options- Connect via trailer light plug or optional 12V battery for wireless remote operation.
- Sight gauges allow you to determine the feed level at a glance.
- Heavy-duty high-torque motors and specially designed spinner plates ensure maximum performance in rugged conditions.
- Galvanized steel construction.
- Built-in lid stops protect against vehicle damage.
You can also purchase a Road Feeder Extension Kit (RFEXT) that positions the unit up to 12 inches from the vehicle and provides additional ground clearance of up to 13 inches.
Deer Corn Feeder Points To Consider
When selecting or setting up a deer corn feeder, there are several points you may want to consider:
- Location– Placement is critical. Choose a suitable location that is easily accessible to deer. Consider areas near their natural habitat or travel routes.
- Capacity– The feeder should be able to hold an adequate amount of corn. Depending on the deer population in your area, you may need a feeder with a larger capacity.
- Dispensing Mechanism– This controls how much corn is dispensed or available. Whether you prefer a gravity, timed, or road spreader depends on the lay of your property and goals.
- Durability– A well-built feeder can withstand harsh weather conditions and potential damage from animals.
- Ease of Refilling– Depending on the feeder’s location and your accessibility to it, you may want a feeder that is easy to refill.
- Pest and Wildlife Resistance– Look for feeders with features that prevent pests and non-target wildlife from accessing the feed.
- Legal Considerations– Ensure you know the local laws and regulations regarding feeding wildlife. Some areas restrict what types of feed you can use, where you can place feeders, and when you can feed deer.
Remember, your goal of feeding deer should be to attract them and promote a healthy deer population. Always provide corn as a supplement to their natural diet, not as the sole food source.
When To Start Feeding Deer Corn
Deer have different nutritional needs in summer vs winter. In the winter, they benefit from foods high in fat and carbohydrates, like corn, for energy and maintaining body heat. However, a protein-rich diet in the spring and summer months aids fawn development and antler growth. So, owning deer corn feeders that dispense corn and pellets can be a bonus.
Most sizable commercial hunting properties have biologists on their staff that manage their supplemental feeding program. Ample research has documented the nutritional needs of whitetails during the various seasons, and those of us that use feeders ought to take note of some of their recommendations:
Feeding Deer Corn Year-Round- Feeding corn year-round to deer can be a controversial topic. Corn lacks many essential nutrients that deer need for optimal health, so relying solely on corn as a primary food source can be detrimental to their long-term well-being.
Feeding Deer Corn in the Spring/Summer- This is when bucks, does, and fawns need optimal nutrition for good health and antler development. A good feeding strategy considers the increased need for protein and minerals in your deer’s diet. Early spring is the time to phase in a quality supplemental feed high in protein and minerals. Mix it with corn and gradually withdraw the corn from the mix.
Feeding Deer Corn in the Winter- Borgfeld recommended transitioning to corn from mid-August to September. Corn is high in carbohydrates, providing energy, especially in the colder fall and winter months when other food sources may be scarce. It’s an excellent food to help them build and maintain body fat reserves that they need during the colder months.
However, it’s important to remember that while corn can be a beneficial supplement, it should not be the sole food source for deer. A balanced diet for deer should also include a variety of natural vegetation and browse, such as leaves, twigs, and grasses, which provide necessary fiber and other nutrients not found in corn.
Choosing Quality Deer Corn
The “deer corn” you find in many stores isn’t required to meet the same quality standards as corn intended for livestock or humans. In some instances, this corn may even be from a batch that didn’t pass muster for cattle or swine and sold at a discount before being repackaged for wildlife. A key concern with such feed is the potential presence of aflatoxin, a harmful byproduct of fungal contamination. This toxin can pose serious health threats to various animals, such as turkeys, quail, doves, rabbits, and other small game.
While deer are less susceptible to the immediate effects of the toxin, it can still cause significant problems. Aflatoxin can disrupt their digestion, weaken their immunity, and even inflict liver damage. Furthermore, aflatoxin isn’t just an issue with rejected corn; it can also develop on clean corn that sits too long in a feeder under warm, humid conditions. So, be picky about the corn and feeder you use to feed your wildlife!
Deer Corn Feeder FAQs
What is the best time to program a deer feeder?
Borgfeld recommended programming automatic feeders for around good shooting light and again 1- 1 1/2 hours before dark.
What to feed deer instead of corn?
Choose a feed blend formulated exclusively for deer. These premixed formulas are commonly available at feed mills and Co-Ops. They typically comprise a balanced concoction of alfalfa, oats, soybeans, molasses, and various essential vitamins and minerals. Given its easy digestibility, this is an excellent choice for improving the health and quality of your deer.
How much corn to feed deer per day?
Borgfeld said an 8-12 second duration twice a day is adequate for most situations. It depends on your deer density and feeder location.
Final Thoughts On Deer Corn Feeders
Purchase a dependable, quality product that keeps your corn dry and protected, and make cleaning your feeders a part of your routine. Also, consider choosing deer corn feeders capable of feeding corn and protein pellets. Do these things, and you’ll have no worries, be smart about it, and you and the deer will benefit.
When selecting deer corn feeders, consider factors such as deer population density, desired feeding area coverage, accessibility, refill frequency, and your specific feeding goals. Additionally, it’s important to check local regulations regarding the use of deer feeders, as they may vary from one area to another.