Deer feeders are an effective way to attract and feed wild deer, particularly during times of year when natural food sources are scarce. Properly positioned and maintained deer feeders can provide a reliable source of nutrition for local deer populations, helping to support their health and well-being.
However, one important factor to consider when setting up a deer feeder is its height off the ground. The right height can vary depending on a number of factors, including the size of the deer population, the type of feed being dispensed, and local wildlife regulations.
In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when determining the height of a deer feeder and provide guidelines for achieving the optimal height for attracting and feeding deer effectively.
Factors to Consider When Determining the Height of a Deer Feeder
Size of Deer Population and Expected Number of Deer Using the Feeder
The size of the deer population in the area where the feeder will be placed is an important factor to consider when determining its height.
If the population is large and there are likely to be many deer using the feeder at once, you may need to set it higher off the ground to allow enough room for all the deer to access the feed comfortably.
On the other hand, if the deer population is smaller and you only expect a few deer to be using the feeder at any given time, you may be able to set it lower to the ground.
Type of Feed Being Dispensed
The type of feed being dispensed can also impact the optimal height for a deer feeder. For example, smaller, pellet-style feeds may be best dispensed from a feeder that is closer to the ground, as the pellet size makes it easier for deer to reach and access.
Larger, whole corn kernels, on the other hand, may require a higher feeder to prevent waste and encourage more natural feeding behavior.
Local Wildlife Regulations and Restrictions
In some areas, there may be local wildlife regulations or restrictions in place regarding the height of deer feeders. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these regulations and ensure that your feeder is in compliance.
In some cases, the regulations may specify a minimum or maximum height for deer feeders, or may prohibit certain types of feeders altogether.
Presence of Predators
If there are predators in the area that could potentially prey on the deer using the feeder, you may want to consider setting the feeder higher off the ground. This can help to prevent predators from reaching the feed and potentially harming or scaring off the deer.
Optimal Height for a Deer Feeder
Now that we’ve discussed some of the key factors to consider when determining the height of a deer feeder, let’s look at some general guidelines for achieving the optimal height for different types of feed.
As mentioned earlier, pellet-style feeds are typically best dispensed from a deer feeder that is closer to the ground. A height of 2-3 feet off the ground is generally considered ideal for pellet feeds, as it allows deer to comfortably reach and access the feed while also preventing waste.
Corn kernels are generally larger and require more space for deer to access and feed on them naturally. A height of 3-5 feet off the ground is often recommended for corn kernel feeders, as it allows the deer to reach up and grab the kernels while also helping to prevent waste.
Protein feeds, such as those made from soybeans or other plant-based proteins, are often dispensed from feeders that are set at a similar height to corn kernel feeders (3-5 feet off the ground). This allows the deer to reach and feed on the protein in a natural manner, while also preventing waste.
Of course, these are just general guidelines and it’s important to adjust the height of your deer feeder based on the specific factors and considerations outlined earlier.
For example, if you have a large deer population and expect many deer to be using the feeder at once, you may want to set it slightly higher to allow more room for all the deer to access the feed.
Similarly, if you have predators in the area, you may want to set the feeder slightly higher to help protect the deer from potential harm.
Tips for Maintaining a Deer Feeder at the Proper Height
Now that we’ve covered the factors to consider and the general guidelines for determining the optimal height for a deer feeder, let’s look at some tips for maintaining the feeder at the proper height.
Use adjustable legs or mounting brackets:
Many deer feeders come with adjustable legs or mounting brackets that allow you to easily change the height of the feeder as needed. This can be a convenient way to fine-tune the height of the feeder to ensure it’s set at the optimal level for the deer in your area.
Regularly check and adjust the height:
It’s important to regularly check and adjust the height of your deer feeder as needed. This may involve changing the height of the feeder seasonally, as the size and needs of the deer population can vary throughout the year.
Maintaining a deer feeder at the proper height is an important factor in attracting and feeding deer effectively.
By considering the size of the deer population, the type of feed being dispensed, local wildlife regulations, and the presence of predators, you can determine the optimal height for your deer feeder and make adjustments as needed to ensure the best possible results.
Can I use a deer feeder all year round?
It is generally recommended to use a deer feeder during times of year when natural food sources are scarce, such as during the winter months when vegetation is limited.
However, it’s important to carefully consider the specific needs of the deer population in your area and the potential impact of supplementary feeding on their health and well-being.
In some cases, it may be best to limit the use of deer feeders to certain times of year or to provide additional supplements in moderation.
What are the best types of feed to use in a deer feeder?
The best type of feed to use in a deer feeder will depend on the specific needs of the deer population in your area and the resources available to you. Corn kernels and pellet-style feeds made from corn or other grains are popular options that can be easily dispensed from a feeder.
Protein feeds made from soybeans or other plant-based proteins can also be effective in helping to support the health and well-being of deer, particularly during the winter months when natural protein sources may be limited.
Can I use a deer feeder to attract other types of wildlife?
Deer feeders are specifically designed to attract and feed deer, and are not usually suitable for use with other types of wildlife. Different species have different nutritional needs and may not be able to effectively utilize the same types of feed that are suitable for deer.
Additionally, using a deer feeder to attract other types of wildlife may result in competition for resources and potentially harm the health and well-being of the animals.
How often should I refill my deer feeder?
The frequency with which you will need to refill your deer feeder will depend on the size of the feeder and the size of the deer population in your area.
As a general rule of thumb, you should check the feeder regularly and refill it as needed to ensure that there is always an adequate supply of feed available for the deer. It’s also a good idea to monitor the amount of feed being consumed and adjust the amount being dispensed as needed to avoid waste.
Is it safe to use a deer feeder if there are predators in the area?
If there are predators in the area that could potentially prey on the deer using the feeder, you may want to consider setting the feeder higher off the ground to help protect the deer from potential harm.
Additionally, you may want to consider using a feeder with a protective cage or enclosure to further discourage predators from accessing the feed.
However, it’s important to carefully consider the specific needs and behavior of the deer and predators in your area and make decisions about the use of a deer feeder based on their well-being.