Many hunters across the U.S. use deer feeders where they are legal. In Maryland, feeding or otherwise known as baiting deer is only legal on private property. Please remember, it is illegal to feed or bait deer on public land in Maryland and could get you in a lot of trouble.
I personally use a feeder and have for a few years now. I normally put shelled corn in it and supplement it with a salt block. I usually start feeding the deer in early to mid-August and continue until I run out of corn in February. This year, I broke my foot in early May and was not able to plant my normal food plot that is near my feeder. Because of that, I have decided I want to try to mix something in with the shelled corn to not only help attract the deer but also give them the nutrients they need for the upcoming winter. I started doing some research to find out what else you can mix with corn to achieve healthy, big deer.
Well, I found that there are now hundreds of products that claim they will attract deer, or will provide them with some minerals needed for antler growth and overall health of the deer that eat it. I started to get lost in the not only the amount of different products to choose from, but also the sheer amount of money that you could spend. I decided to break down what I discovered for all our readers. Remember, I do not know everything about the subject, I am just telling it how I understand it. If this is something you know a lot about, I would love to hear from you!
We will start with the basic stuff that goes into a feeder around the Mid-Atlantic area. This info comes from everyone I know and everything I have heard about or witnessed. Most people put plain shelled corn in their feeder. To keep you updated in the more current line of products; you can also get flavored corn. I believe the favorite is supposed to be apple flavored corn, but there is also acorn flavored, as well as molasses. I am sure there could be more than those varieties or more flavors coming in the future. Whatever happened to letting corn taste like corn? The deer in my area love it.
The second most important type of feed is probably the salt block or some form of mineral liquid/powder. You have everything from C’Mere Deer, Buck Jam, Stump Likker, Deer Cane, and the list could just keep going on (these are mostly liquids). A few of the brand items that I just mentioned also make them in other types of salt blocks or pellets of different forms. The salt block products have endless different manufacturers, as well as, flavors and different mineral contents. I would have to say from my experience that the more popular brands are the: Trophy Rock Mineral Rock, Evolved Habitats Mineral Blocks (which come in host of flavors), and the Whitetail Institute Imperial Products Imperial Magnet Mix 4-Play, just to name a few.
Next, you have feed supplements which are intended to be added to other forms of feed. For example,Imperial Whitetail 30-06 Plus Protein Mineral Vitamin Supplement is a product designed to be added within other feed and dispensed via a feeder. With so many of these type of supplements on the market, look for what best suits your needs and the area in which you hunt and be sure to mix well as they are on the pricey side. Some products like
CMere Deer 3-Day Harvest Deer Attractant System, is a cross between feed and attractant. These are great for one day use or next day use, they can be pricey as well, but can be very effective.
Then, of course you have some other people I know that still feed the deer the old fashioned stuff, like fruits, nuts, and some vegetables. I have heard stories of people whom are deer watchers and photographers that go as far as coring apples and pears and cutting them in half on a daily basis for deer. This is very nice, but I would guess very expensive and time consuming.
So, what is the right approach to feeding deer? If you just read everything I wrote, you will now understand where my head is. I was just looking for something to add to my normal flavored shelled corn to help the deer grow and make my feeder more enticing to more deer.
I think I have decided to go in a similar direction as in recent years with a couple of new additions. I am going to continue to keep a salt block that is either plane or apple flavored out near my feeder. I am going to continue to put normal shelled corn in my feeder, but I am going to mix a supplement in with it. I will probably try
Big J BB2 Nutritional Supplement Deer Attractant; this seems to have the highest reviews between people I know and online reviews, as well as, the best price. Have you used it? Leave a comment below and let me know if you like it! I may also try a few different things once we get further into winter, I will write about them when I do. I am also going to try a few different attractants in either powder or liquid form this fall and will keep you posted on those as well. I am also going to talk to my local farmers and feed stores and find out their input on what would be the best thing to use for the deer at the cheapest price.
I know that this will not totally make up for my food plot that I did not get to plant this spring/summer. However, I think it will give the deer a reason to continue coming and may even improve their health. I will keep all of you updated on the different products I try this fall and how well they work or do not work.
Please share your thoughts on deer feed. What do you use? How well does it work? Have I missed something that I did not know about? Fill me in on the newest deer food/attractant craze or what you recommend!