Installing a deer feeder on your property can be a good way to attract deer, whether you’re a hunter or just a nature lover. Unfortunately, many store-bought deer feeders are not easy on the wallet. If you’d like to save money and enjoy DIY projects, read on to learn how to build a deer feeder (including an instructional video).
What You'll Learn Today
- How Do You Make A Homemade Deer Feeder?
- How Can You Get Deer to Come to Your Feeder?
- How to Keep Raccoons Off of Your Deer Feeder
How Do You Make A Homemade Deer Feeder?
There are several different designs and strategies you can use to make a deer feeder. Your plan will depend on where you want your feeder, how close you want the deer to your house, and how much feed you plan to provide.
One of the most common types of DIY deer feeders is an on-demand feeder made from PVC pipe. To make one of these, you’ll need:
- PVC pipe – 2 ½ – 3 foot length, 6-inch-sized pipe
- 10 in. x 10 in. cut of plywood
- 6-inch PVC cap
- 6-inch PVC wye
- 4 eye-bolts
- A drill
- Purple primer
1. Prime the pipe
Use the purple primer and apply it to one end of the PVC pipe on the outside.
2. Prime the wye
Apply the primer to the inside of one arm of the PVC wye.
3. Add cement
Apply a small amount of cement to the inside of the wye, right over the primer.
4. Put them together
Push the pipe into the end of the wye, and top it off with the cap.
5. Install the eye bolts
Drill 2 holes into two sides of the pipe, about halfway up. Insert the eye-bolts into the holes.
6. Secure the feeder
Set the feeder down on the plywood so that the feed doesn’t fall through the bottom. Install the deer feeder to the tree of your choice by stringing some rope through the eye-bolts and around the tree.
7. Optional: Drill a hole through the top of the cap
Put an eye-bolt through the hole to use as a convenient way to take the top off of the feeder.
8. Optional: Drill another hole on the cap
Drill one more hole for another eye bolt – this time on the side of the cap and through the end of the PVC pipe. This is to prevent squirrels and raccoons from removing the lid.
This type of feeder can hold up to 40 pounds of deer food and will keep it protected from the elements. Feel free to add spray paint to camouflage the feeder or make it more visually appealing.
If you’re a visual learner, watch this video for a step-by-step tutorial.
How Can You Get Deer to Come to Your Feeder?
Once you have your feeder set up, it’s time to figure out how to lure deer to your feeder consistently. You’ll need to make sure it’s accessible and makes sense with their natural habits. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Location is important: The feeder should be in a spot where the deer already visit or pass through regularly. They are more likely to use your feeder when they don’t have to stray from their normal routine.
- Make them feel safe: The feeder should be in a quiet, low-traffic spot where deer feel secure. Deer like to be near low-hanging branches or other plants that conceal them.
- Start with corn: Corn is not a particularly nutritious food for deer, and should only be used as a small portion of supplemental food. However, they are drawn to this tasty snack. To get them to eat your deer food mix, you can try scattering small piles of corn on their usual path towards the feeder.
How to Keep Raccoons Off of Your Deer Feeder
Raccoons can be greedy with deer food, and they love a good challenge. So sometimes, just putting a lid on the feeder might not be enough to keep them away.
There are a few different options for deterring raccoons, but you should check with your local wildlife control regulations before you take any action.
New York, for example, requires you to have a license to trap or hunt raccoons. But you can kill them without a license if they are damaging your property. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has some good tips for managing raccoons on its website.
Before you get started with making your feeder, be sure to check your local regulations on feeding wildlife. Some states specify the type of food, the amount, and the frequency with which you’re allowed to feed them, while in others, it’s illegal to feed deer at all.
As long as you feed legally and responsibly, you’ll be able to enjoy your DIY feeder for many years to come and help many deer to survive the winter months.