Deer are one of the most magnificent animals to look at, especially when you have a chance to look at them from your property.
Most animal lovers adore their presence in their backyard or farm. These animal lovers are always looking for different ways to bring deer on their property during all seasons- year-round. Apart from these nature enthusiasts, deer hunters also wish to attract these deer for a big game.
Let us clear that encouraging them to your property isn’t the most straightforward job in the world; you need to work with their way and keep a lot of things in your mind.
Once you understand the primary process, it will become comparatively more manageable to attract these magnificent creatures by feeding them.
Attracting these animals can require a lot of planning, prepping, and money. But we assure you that there are many inexpensive ways to feed deer, which don’t need an exorbitant amount of money.
We have curated several quick, easy, and cost-efficient feeding ideas that will make both – you and your pockets happy.
Feeding Wild Deer
Most deer lovers and hunters probably have their reasons for feeding deer, but it is always a wholesome idea to have wildlife running around your property to make you feel one with nature.
These wild deer are dependent on nature for most of the year, but winters bring a steep decline in their food as nature seizes most of their food supply. Feeding wild deer during such time will keep them healthy and robust, ultimately keeping them safe during the harsh climate of nature.
Before you get on the mission of assisting deer, run through a few pros and cons of having wild deer on your property. An informed decision is always a result of learning different perspectives of a single topic.
Also Read: Best Places To Find Deer Sheds
- Supplementing food in the wintertime will keep them nourished even during rough climates.
- Proper feed will help deer gain stronger antlers during their antler-developing stage.
- Giving back to nature always makes everyone feel content. This feeding habit is a good way of showing your gratitude towards nature.
- You will help fawns survive winter and provide a balanced meal from an early age, ultimately making them healthy adults.
- You get to experience their presence from your house and property; this will surely light a spark inside animal lovers as they get to see these admirable deer up close.
- You have a higher chance of hunting deer once they come to your feeding property.
- Feeding is a long-term commitment as once you carry the habit of feeding, these deer start relying on you for their feed. You need to make sure you have ample money or time to schedule and take this project.
- You are indirectly involved in the natural selection process, resulting in overpopulation in the worst-case scenario.
- Deer are notoriously well known for causing property damage. Get prepared to see your backyard and property in some rough state. Your gates, fences, garden flowers, gnomes won’t stay in mint condition after you start feeding.
- You are highly susceptible to catch diseases and ticks if you make extra close contact with them.
- Dropped or scattered food may encourage vermins to trespass your property.
Now that you are informed, you can consider reading the rest of the article to find an inexpensive way to feed deer.
Nutritional Needs Of Deer
Deer have a specific appetite they need during various seasons of the year.
The feeder’s responsibility is to keep track of their eating habits and nutritional needs depending on the season for a successful feeding project.
Spring: Rising of metabolism
You can notice a considerable spike in their general activity and metabolism during mid-March. Fawns resume body growth while pregnant doe carry rapidly growing fetuses. Adult bucks start growing heavy and dense antlers.
You need to provide copious amounts of foods with proteins, vitamins, and minerals that supplement and easily drive up their metabolism. Their diet should include 13% to 16% of protein favorable for rapid antler growth.
Summer: Important growth period
Excellent nutritional food is essential for the growth of fawns in this period. A good amount of leaves and berries work perfectly for summer.
Insufficient nutrients will reduce the quantity of milk produced by the deer, ultimately stunting the growth of fawns.
Autumn: The most active season
Autumn is the mating season, and they become increasingly active day after day. The added pressure of harsh winter survival looms over their head as they simultaneously prepare for it.
Focusing on energy-rich foods can be your ticket for keeping them healthy. Acorns, starchy mast crops, beechnuts are some of the ideal food. Apples, cherries, grapes also promote fattening, which is essential during autumn.
Winter: Balancing energy
With everything covered in snow, deers have a hard time finding food, and their only resort is to chew on woody stems. Your winter forage should have greens and root bulbs. Sugar beets are another excellent food to keep them healthy.
A mix of fat helps them survive better as they usually spend more energy and gain less from eating during winter. This fatty and fibrous food will help keep the balance.
Apart from the seasonal nutrition, you can give them oats, varieties of fruits, and vegetables during all seasons. Avoid giving them corn at all costs; it is incredibly harmful to their digestive process. Consider staying away from meat as they are strictly herbivores.
Inexpensive Ways To Feed Deer
We have a few inexpensive food items and techniques that you can utilize to keep the feeding expenses to the bare minimum:
Relocating fruits is one of the easiest ways to provide food to them, and to top it off, it is free, so you are not spending a single dime for their feed. All you need is a bit of foraging skill and time to gather the fruits.
Take a stroll and pick up fruits that have fallen on the ground in your backyard or from nearby area trees. Scatter them on the location where you want the deers to come and watch them gobble up the fresh produce.
If you aren’t a big fan of flies swarming over rotten fruit on your property, you should consider working with nuts. These are great if you wish to save and stock them for later months.
Go foraging during the harvesting season to find the most nutritious nuts. Pecans, walnuts, and acorns are an excellent food that deer loves. You can even freeze and serve them up after months.
Food plots can require a little investment, but it is an entirely feasible plan. You can buy clover seeds that are readily available online and offline, dive a little deeper and find the most inexpensive seed packet.
Bulk buying will surely help you save a considerable amount. Another option would be to buy or procure free trial packs and grow clover. Water these plots and watch them grow fresh green clover; deer would have a grand time ravishing these clover fields.
PB & No J
Peanut butter is another inexpensive item you can use to feed deer. Nut-butters are filled with good fats and proteins, and they have a sufficient sugar level to attract deer.
But giving them a lot can damage their system, so consider packing a jar and cutting a gash at the bottom side of the jar. Situate the pot on a tree so they can have licks of peanut butter without eating it all at once.
Mineral blocks are incredibly cheap and provide excellent nutrition. You can even make a solution of salt and water.
Water and salt isn’t the most nutritious feed, but it works exceptionally to attract deer. You can keep another set of healthy meals ready once they show up on your property.
DIY homemade feed is cheaper than buying a store-bought bucket of expensive feed. You can use corn, milo, wheat, oats, liquid molasses/maple sugar, soybean meal, and mineral salt as your ingredients.
Mix these ingredients in a big bucket and store them in a cool and dry place. As mention earlier, you should avoid giving corn, but a limited amount is highly encouraged for a balanced diet. Plain corn can cause digestive issues.
Building A Deer Feeder
You can scatter the food, but it is bound to create a mess on your whole property. Having a deer feed will encourage the deer to eat at one spot. Feeders are perfect for when you are out of town and still want to feed them.
You can buy a store-bought one according to your needs, but since we are balling on a budget, building one isn’t a bad option either. You can easily make a functional deer feeder with few materials.
A trough will indeed protect these wild deer from natural elements like snowfall, rainfall, extreme sun while they munch down their feed.
- 55-gallon plastic drum with attached lid
- Wood beams of the desired height
- Corrugated metal sheets
- Power tools
- Cut the drum in half with a power tool and sand down the sharp plastic edges.
- Build a simple structure of wood that looks like a house. Use four wood beams of the desired height to build a base and add two more beams to support the roof.
- Drill the corrugated metal roof on top and fix the drum at the bottom of the structure. The drum should be at least 3 feet above the ground.
- This structure is the sturdiest deer feed mechanism that will stay for years. If you do not wish to make such a big feeder, you can make a 5-gallon bucket deer feeder or PVC feeder for a more quick and small-scale project.
- Make sure to consult and look at the legality of feeding deer in your state and country. In the U.S.A., it is highly illegal to bait or feed deer.
- Put water supply near the feeders so they don’t have to struggle to find water after eating. If your property is near their water route, you have a great chance of attracting them.
- Avoid adding bright lights, as it will surely scare away the deer.
- Restain from serving human food scraps and meat.
We hope this article solved your doubts regarding all your deer feeding questions.
If you follow these steps and keep points in your mind, you can surely attract deer to your property. Stay clear of other predatory wildlife, as food and constant deer presence can invite unwanted dangerous wildlife.