Deer Hunting With a Feeder
Kevin Felts 12.01.16
In the deer hunting community there is a love-hate relationship with deer feeders. Some people love them, some people hate them.
In a previous article we talked about the justification of deer hunting over bait, which means having a barrel of corn with a timer and motor that throws corn out on the ground. Sounds simple right? Set your feeder up, fill it with corn, and wait for the herds of deer to come running in.
That is not how it works.
Deer hunting with a feeder is a waiting game. Sometimes you see a deer, sometimes you don’t. All this talk about herds of deer running out of the woods to gorge on corn is a myth. There are some places, such as west Texas, where herds of deer collect around feeders. However, those are the exceptions rather than the rule.
A hunter can sit in their stand for hours upon hours and never see a single deer. Hours turn into days, days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months.
There have been times when I sat in a stand every weekend from sunrise to almost 10am, and again from 4:00 pm until sundown, which is usually around 5:30. I did this for 6 weeks and only saw a couple of deer.
When I arrived at the hunting camp and talked to others, they had the same story that I had, They had not seen a single thing. If they did see something, the deer were too young to harvest.
While sitting in the stand, waiting for those mythical herds of deer to come running out of the woods, this is a good time to take in some nature. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Listen to the wind blowing through the trees. To get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is relaxing and therapeutic.
Deer are not the only ones who are attracted to wildlife feeders. Crows, rabbits, squirrels, and wild hogs all enjoy the buffet bar of corn.
Maybe the squirrels and rabbits are scaring the deer herds away? Somehow I doubt it.
While sitting in a stand I take time to do some nature photography. I take pictures of the sunrise, trees, and even sometimes, believe it or not, deer.
When a deer comes out to eat on the corn they are usually relaxed. Or as relaxed as a whitetail deer can get. Some hunters have their feeders going all year. To a deer who has a feeder going for months, this is like us going to get a cheeseburger.
When Deer Show Up
The deer finally decide to show up. Maybe their alarm clock did not go off because they were late. The feeder went off at 6:45 am and they did not show up until almost 9:30 am. Whats up with that? Do they honestly think I enjoy watching squirrels and rabbits for two hours?
Instead of a herd, I get a mama doe and her fawn. Great, just great, where are the mythical herds with record setting bucks I keep hearing about? Mama and fawn graze through the corn for a little while, then head off into the woods.
A set of antlers finally pokes his head out of the tree line. My heart is beating so hard it feels like my head is going to explode or have a stroke. Is that blood dripping from my ears?
My rifle is slowly raised and the crosshairs put on the buck. I try to stabilize the rifle, but it is difficult from the shaking.
Guess what, the buck is too young to harvest. States have enacted a minimum age and antler width for bucks. This buck is only about 2 1/2 years old, so he gets a pass until next year.
Never Mind on the Deer Hunting
Three deer have come out, none were old enough to be harvested, and I have been sitting in this stand for close to 3 hours.
Just never mind on the deer hunting. I am going to get my Bible out and read for a little while and enjoy nature.