The Humane Aspect of Deer Feeders
Kevin Felts 10.11.17
When the topic of deer feeders comes up, different opinions usually arise. Some say feeders are no different than baiting, or that hunting over a feeder is not really hunting; you just throw some feed out and wait for the deer to show up.
Regardless of whether those claims are accurate or not, feeders facilitate the humane harvesting of deer.
Hunters will usually look for wildlife trails, scrapes, rubs, tracks, to determine if deer are in the area. Once a hunter finds an area where deer are passing though, the feeder is set up.
At this point, all the feeder does is get the deer to stop and stand still. The deer were already in the area, so it is not baiting.
Which is more humane:
- Determine the age, antler size/spread, and get a shot off in a split second while a buck crosses a narrow trail?
- Use corn or other feed to cause the deer to pause so you can determine gender, age, rack size, etc, and take a humane shot?
Is the Deer Legal?
Most hunting leases have their own rules dictating what types of deer (and how many) may be harvested. For example, my family and I hunted on a lease which said the deer had to be at least a six-point buck. Then the state stepped in and put antler restrictions in place — so not only did the deer have to be at least a six-point by lease rules, it also had to have an inside spread of at least 13 inches by state regulation.
Using a feeder assists hunters in harvesting legal deer. The hunter has time to count the points, estimate the antler spread and age, and if does are legal he can take time to make sure he is looking at a doe instead of an antlerless buck. Then, only when the hunter is sure the deer is legal, the shot is taken.
Many of us have heard the stories, such as one about a hunter who shot a deer with an antler spread 1/2-inch under legal size. A Game Warden checked the deer and wrote the hunter a ticket for killing an undersized buck. That 1/2-inch mistake cost the hunter several hundred dollars.
So yeah, if it means staying legal, I will set up a feeder.
What about the readers? Are feeders legal in your state? Also, has your state put antler restrictions in place?