Lone Star Ranch Management

Types of Deer Feeders

People feed deer for many reasons including hunting, wildlife preservation, and observation. Whatever your reason, you will need to determine what type of deer feeder is best for you. Part of that decision is knowing if you will be using corn, protein, or a mixture of the two. Is your goal to train deer to be in a specific area during prime hunting times? Is your goal to provide supplemental feed during lean times of the year? Or, is your goal merely to draw deer to your land so that you can enjoy watching them?  

Best Deer Feeders for Corn

Corn is the cheapest and better choice if you are wanting to train deer for hunting season, and the two types of feeders typically used are the Elevated Spinner and the Low Skid Spinner. These two can be scheduled to spray corn out at whatever times are optimal for hunters. After discovering a reliable food source, deer will become trained to be in the area at times they know corn will be available. 


Elevated Spinner deer feeders are probably the most common feeders used by hunters. Storage containers of various sizes can be attached to tripod legs or hung from a tree, and the corn can be automatically dispersed with a mechanical spinner powered by solar panels or batteries. 

The corn is stored in a galvanized metal container or heavy uv-resistant plastic containers. Both will protect the corn from the sun, rain, humidity, rust, etc. that will contaminate the feed. These feeders are high off the ground to be less intrusive to wildlife and to prevent animals from getting inside. To fill the feeder, you will either need a ladder to reach the top or a winch system that lowers the feeder to you. 

Unfortunately, these types of feeders are more likely to be damaged or knocked over during severe weather or by animals such as hogs and cattle. 


Low Skid Spinner deer feeders are low to the ground and welded/attached to skids making them easier to move and easier to fill with corn. As with the Elevated Spinner, the corn can be scheduled to disperse at designated times. 

Although these feeders are less susceptible to damage by severe weather and less likely to be tipped over by animals, they are bulkier and take up more space. Additionally, you will need to put protective caging around the spinner to protect it from squirrels, raccoons, deer, hogs, etc.  

Best Deer Feeder for Protein

A Gravity Feed or Auto Feed into Tray are ideal for feeding protein to deer when your goal is to supplement natural food sources for wildlife preservation or observation. They can be made of the same materials as the corn feeders, and they are normally lower to the ground so that deer can access the food. 


Gravity feeders will use gravity to provide a steady flow of food instead of mechanical devices that can scare deer with the noise. As deer eat the feed, more feed comes out to replace it. 


An Auto Feed into Tray deer feeder still uses a timer like the corn deer feeders, but instead of spraying the protein out on the ground, the feed will fall into a tray which deer can eat from whenever they want. This is useful if you want deer to remain stationary in one spot for observing, and there is less food wasted, as oftentimes deer are the only animals able to access the tray. 

Pros and Cons of Feeders

Type of FeederProsCons
Elevated SpinnerCan schedule times to spray feed
Can be more cost effective
Can be easier to move
Can be noisy and scare deer
Can be difficult to fill
Can be damaged or knocked over by severe weather or strong animals
Requires regular maintenance for mechanical parts
Low Skid SpinnerCan schedule times to spray food
Can be more resistant to damage caused by severe weather and difficult to be tipped over
Can be easier to fill
Can be easier to move
Can be bulky and intrusive to area
Can be noisy and scare deer
Needs protective cage to protect spinner
Requires regular maintenance for mechanical parts
Gravity FeederRequires minimal maintenance
Has very little noise
Provides deer with steady supply of feed
Does not conserve feed
Needs to be filled more often
Provides no option to schedule and train deer for specific times
Auto Feed into TrayProvides the most control and conservation of feed
Other animals, such as squirrels and raccoons, have a hard time reaching the food in the trays
Can startle deer if auto feed occurs while deer are eating from tray

Money Saving Tips

While feeding deer can become expensive, there are some ways to save money.  

  1. Shorten run times and set motor on auto feeders to low setting – this prevents so much feed being sprayed at once and saves battery life
  2. Only feed twice a day – set your timer to spray feed at sunrise and sunset
  3. Use 50/50 corn and protein mix in protein feeders – since corn is usually cheaper than protein, using a 50/50 mix will reduce feed cost

Still have questions?

If you still have questions about the different types of deer feeders, contact Ryan at Lone Star Ranch Management at ryan@texasranchmanagers.com or 979-253-9662. He can guide you to the right deer feeder that will meet your needs. 

Additional Resources

All Season Feeder Company in TX | All Seasons Feeders


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