-By Randy Cooper
Many good things in life were born out of necessity. It's fun to get creative when finding ways to feed wildlife. You can make your own trough type feeder with a roof over it to keep the rain out. It can be a simple all wood arrangement or you can use a 55-gallon plastic drum cut in half and supported by using some pressure treated lumber and a fiberglass roof.
Gravity feeders can be as simple as a 4-inch diameter plastic pipe about 3 feet long with a cap on one end and the other end left open. A small mouse hole is cut on the end that is open and is placed snug against the ground. The pipe is bungie corded against a tree for support. Fill it up with corn and as deer or other critters eat it, more is spilled onto the ground.
There are also many companies that offer programmable feeders that use anything from a plastic drum to a 6-gallon bucket. These feeders are, in my opinion, the best choices because they keep the feed dry. Corn that is allowed to get wet by either dew or rain may spoil and mold. This could mean bad news for deer and other wildlife that eat it. It's just not good for them and could make them sick. These type feeders usually use either a photo cell or a timer that is adjustable. I have mine adjusted to dispense feed for 10 seconds, 30 minutes after daylight and again 30 minutes before dark. This conditions deer to visit during daylight hours. Ten seconds doesn't sound like much but it puts about 1 pound of feed on the ground. I use the 6-gallon bucket type and have mounted 3 legs to make a tripod for it to stand on about 7 feet off the ground. This works great when there isn't a tree in just the right place to use a rope over a limb attached to the bucket handle. Whatever works, right! Like I said, it's fun to get creative and use your imagination.
For feed, I personally use a 50/50 mixture of whole kernel corn and high quality goat food with vitamins, protein, and molasses for a sweet smell. The deer love it. Through my trail cam pictures I've noticed the health of my deer get better both in body weight and shiny coats. Keep practicing with your bow and start getting some venison recipes together. You’re going to need them!