Last season, I purchased the American Hunter 350 Pound Heritage Feeder with Sun Slinger Kit with the GSM Outdoors 30580 American Hunter Sun Slinger Kit Feeder Kit with Solar Charger. There were three main things that drew me to this feeder rather than one of the others. 1. cost, 2. the amount of feed it would hold at any given time, 3. the Sun Slinger kit which also had a built in solar panel to recharge the battery.
The three factors above really helped me make my choice. There were other factors as well. The all steel construction was another main factor in my choice to purchase this feeder over another style or brand. All of my friends that have a plastic feeder spend more time repairing them from squirrels and other varmints chewing into them then they get good use out of. Another major factor is you can not only purchase replacement parts, but also accessories for this feeder easily, they have everything.
Factor 1, The cost of this feeder was another selling point. Priced lower than a lot of the name brand feeders that are comparable or right there with them. I thought the other features and factors made the price right for me.
Factor 2, The amount of feed it would hold. Where I have my feeder, there is fair number of deer that feed on it each day, sometimes different deer but many times the same deer many times a day. Regardless, I set my feeder to feed a decent amount twice daily. This means that smaller feeders would need to be refilled constantly. This became an issue for me before so when I made this purchase, I didn't want to make the same mistake twice. Therefore, holding 350lbs of corn is awesome for me. I refill the feeder much less and I don't have to worry on those important hunting days about it running out.
Factor 3, the solar panel to recharge the battery. The Sun Slinger is not only easy to use and gives you lots of feeding options but this model comes with a built in solar panel on the end to recharge the battery. Another factor was all the stories I have heard and read about batteries in feeders dying and and then the point of the feeder is lost.... I can tell you I have had this feeder for just about a year now. I wanted to wait to write this review until I gave it a workout and see what I really thought about it. I purchased the feeder and battery at the same time, brought the feeder home, put it together, filled it and put the new battery in it without charging it. A year later, I still have not charged that battery, and the feeder has worked flawlessly for a year straight going off twice a day every day. Although it hasn't had feed in it in several months as I don't use it during the spring and summer months.
A year in, I can tell you the pros of this feeder are all the factors above. I love this feeder and cannot complain about much from it. It works flawlessly, it's easy to use other than needing a ladder to fill it. I am actually thinking about buying a second one for another property this fall.
The cons about this feeder are a couple simple things. 1 - it's heavy to move even empty, it can be done with one person once out of the legs, but it isn't fun. You really need two people to safely move it, especially if you want to move it and the legs together. 2 - The fact that you need a ladder to fill it, I actually took the 3rd legs to shorten the feeder to about 7' after I filled it the first time. 8' legs put the top of the feeder almost 9' or so off the ground and it was just too hard to take all that out to the feeder. So, after lowering it I can use a small step ladder or stool and it isn't as bad. 3 - this is the biggest problem, the feeder shows serious signs of rust after just one season. I know that's what I get for buying a steel feeder, but it has held up to everything else including raccoons climbing on it. I have a post coming up soon which will be titled Deer Feeder Maintenance which show how I fixed the rust problems as shown in the picture below.
Overall, I love this feeder and I am thinking about buying another. I would strongly recommend it to anyone that wants a solid heavy duty feeder that will recharge itself and squirrels and other things wont chew up. This feeder is worth every dollar even if you do have to do a little bit of maintenance on it each season.
Another suggestion I can make is there are two accessories that are totally worth purchasing for this feeder especially if you plan to leave it out in a remote area or and want to get the most out of the feed you put in it. The first is the American Hunter Varmint Guard For 55 Gallon Barrel. The other thing would be the American Hunter 55 Gallong Polyethylene Funnel For 350 Pound Feeder. Both of these accessories I plan to add as they will just make the feeder more efficient and make my feed go further each time I fill it.