Some deer enthusiasts consider installing automatic feeders to attract deer, either for watching or for hunting. One might wonder whether or not these options are effective at bringing deer nearby to feast, or do automatic feeders scare deer away?
Once deer recognize that automatic feeders are a reliable food source, they tend not to get scared. In fact, they often have the opposite effect. Deer are likely to continue visiting feeders, as well as bring others to it, which is ideal if one is looking to watch deer or hunt them.
There are a few kinds of automatic feeders designed specifically for deer, and some are better than others in terms of how they can attract deer and keep them coming back.
Do Automatic Feeders Scare Deer?
Automatic feeders do not tend to scare away deer, as that would be the opposite of their purpose. The first time a deer approaches one, they may be hesitant to go towards it, but that tends to subside once they realize the contraption gives them food.
Feeders may also attract deer during months where it’s harder for them to find other sources of food. If you’re wanting to bring deer to a feeder so you can watch them, having one outside during the winter is an excellent choice for some picturesque natural scenery.
However, it should be noted that older deer are sometimes prone to getting scared by feeders. This could be because they have a harder time understanding what the device is, or they have learned that they are lures that may lead to them getting hunted.
It should also be noted that carefully selecting the right food is ideal, as some commercial deer feed is not good quality and can make deer sick. Since many deer will usually come and feed in the same area, one ill deer can make the rest of them sick as they drop saliva in the area.
What Kind of Automatic Feeders Are Available for Deer?
One popular type of automatic feeder is one that spins, and can be programmed to release food at a certain time of day. Scheduling feeds can help attract deer when you want them close by, and helps you manage the amount of feed that can be released.
There are also gravity feeders, which allows deer to graze as they wish. These feeders can be found in various sizes to hold multiple quantities of food. Some feeders will come as a combination of being open and being programmable.
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How to Set up Automatic Feeders to Avoid Scaring Deer
While it may be difficult, consider setting up your automatic feeder so that it doesn’t look too out of place. Depending on the feeder you choose, you can hang it off a tree so it’s inconspicuous until it releases food, or have some brush around a larger contraption.
If you have used your feeder to lure in deer for hunting successfully, move it somewhere else. There’s a good chance at least one other deer saw that one of their own was hunted in the area, and they’re not likely to come back.
Are Other Animals Attracted to Automatic Feeders?
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to keep other animals from learning how the automatic feeder works and coming to feast one any leftovers. Racoons have also found their own ways to get food out of feeders.
To try and circumvent this, many feeders have been designed with varmint guards that are meant to scare away these little critters and make it more difficult for them to break into feeders.
Do Automatic Feeders Scare Predators Away?
Automatic feeders in and of themselves don’t typically scare animals. Regardless of animal type, if they learn that these feeders release food or even attract their preferred food source, they might stalk around and wait to pounce. It’s worth setting up a trail camera near your feeder to monitor the situation, and move the feeder if it’s attracting the wrong animals.
Do automatic feeders scare deer? The answer isn’t a clear yes or no, as it’ll depend on some factors. Where you place it will matter, as well as which type you choose. It’s important to constantly move it after a hunt as deer learn quickly that feeders can be lures and not always just a source of food.
Some deer enthusiasts have found that mature bucks aren’t privy to feeding at automatic feeders, but others haven’t had that issue. Some have also found it’s more likely for doe to visit these feeders than bucks.
Having your feeders release food during the daytime is always recommended, especially as many regulations only allow for deer hunting during the day. Interval feedings can keep deer coming back for more, regardless of whether or not you’re looking to hunt or just watch deer enjoy some snacks.