hungryhuntergirl wrote:If u use feeders on timers then the deer will be there when the feeders go off regardless of the time. I have a friend that goes our every evening with a coffee can and puts it in a trough and sometime the deer are waiting on him
There must be a lot of lazy deer or very hungry deer at your friend's place if they are standing around waiting for him to bring them feed. I have experimented for a full year with various feeder techniques and recorded the results via a game camera focused on the feeder site. The camera lets me know exactly when deer show up, how many feed, etc. so there is no "guesswork" as to what may or may not be eating at the feeder site.
I have tried three different feeders, one being an "on demand" feeder, another being a "daylight and dusk" feeder, and another being a programmed timer feeder which can be set to dispense food at whatever time you desire. I have hung all three at the same location, but changing them out after each was up for a couple months or so. Here is what I found. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.
All the feeders with timers were set to broadcast enough corn to leave sufficient food on the ground. At no point EVER, in a year's time, did I get a single photo of any deer waiting on the feeders to discharge. At least in my location, deer do not show up to wait on the feeder to dispense corn. Rarely did I even get a photo of a deer coming to the feeder within 30 minutes before or after the actual time the corn was dispensed. All the feeders made ample noise so that any deer hanging around could easily know the feeder activated.
In a year's time I got plenty of deer at the feeder site. But the patterns recorded by the game camera indicate the deer show up mostly at random times whenever they happen to decide to do so. Some days (and nights) no deer would visit the feeder site. Other days some would arrive at any given time day or night, eat some corn, and move on. One or two deer were "corn junkies" and typically would make several trips per day to the site to eat a few bites each time. I figured they bedded down nearby and simply munched a snack as they got up to stretch their legs, get water, etc. at periodic intervals. These corn junkie deer seemed to enjoy having a nearby convenient all you can eat corn buffet at my expense.
While the feeders were up, unless they ran out of corn before I refilled, there was nearly always some corn on the ground for deer (or any other wildlife) to eat. So it was a continuously available supply. I feel the deer soon learned there would likely always be corn at the site and simply made no specific efforts to be there when the feeders dispense. There are not a lot of deer on my land, so there was not a lot of pressure from other deer competing for the corn. When there are many deer showing up and all the corn gets eaten quickly, it might force all the corn hungry deer to show up at feeding time in order to be sure they got some corn to eat. The competition for food may be what makes deer stand around waiting for someone to come fill a trough. But in my case, with feeders dropping food on a regular basis, the deer have no special reason to visit the feeder at any given time and can simply drop by when or if they feel like it.
As expected, when the deer did visit, most of the time it was at night. Typically the deer would remain at the feeder site much longer at night, often hanging around for 20 minutes or so. In the daytime, the deer's visits usually were less than five minutes. Mostly the deer simply took a few bites while strolling by and did not linger during the daylight hours.
What did show up regularly, like clockwork, were the raccoons. I have pictures of as many as eight raccoons eating the corn like pigs. The raccoons would start visting the site shortly after dark and return two to four times during the night to eat more corn. Other corn eating critters like possums would also visit regularly at night while the squirrels, birds, and other beasts hogged the corn during the day. Quite frankly, the deer never ate more than perhaps 25% of the corn. At least 75% of it was eaten by other creatures.
My experiment with corn feeders showed me it did little to attract deer to a location on a regular, patterned basis, with the occasional exception of one or two corn junkie deer. The feeders probably did keep a few deer coming by now and then so at least they would be in the area, thus potentially giving a shot opportunity as they headed for the feeder.
The most interesting fact I discovered is that once the raccoons find out corn is dispensed, they permanently log that location into their nightly travels and check it each and every night that rolls, whether or not there is a feeder mounted or any corn available. Weeks after the feeders are taken down such as during archery season, the raccoons still come by multiple times per night, dig in the soil, and hope to uncover some corn they previously missed on their first hundred trips. Thus, for coon hunting, you can wait the prescribed 10 day time after the feeder is removed before hunting and just sit in a tree stand overlooking the feeder site. The raccoons will simply arrive for you to shoot any given night.
If you keep your game camera pointing at the feeder location, when the raccoons arrive, it will flash and let you know it is time to start killing coons! All you have to do is sit in the dark and wait until the camera starts taking pics!