Deer feeders are a handy gadget that most habitual hunters should consider, especially if your usual hunting ground is running low on natural food sources and you need to take a more manual approach to keeping your prey fed.
The best deer feeders, in our opinion, are those with timers that allow you to have more control over the dispersal of feed over the area.
If that sounds like it could be just the thing your hunting grounds need, you’re in luck. We’ve taken the liberty of scouring the market to find what we think are the five best deer feeder timers. You can find them below with their pros and cons listed for your convenience.
There’s also a buyers’ guide and an FAQ so that you can learn more about feeders in general. You can use this to inform your purchase, so that you know what to look for and can avoid being fed lies when shopping in the future.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Need to get a feeder set up ASAP? Whether time is of the essence or you’re the direct type, we have our top feeder timer here so you can check it out and be on your way.
We chose the Moultrie All-in-One Deer Feeder Timer Kit, a feeder timer from a known brand which tops the relevant Amazon #1 Best Seller chart whilst offering unmatched variability, and all for a reasonable price! We’ve broken down what we liked about it below:
- A digital timer and funnel system which can program four feed times per day and includes a testing option so you can be sure it works after setup.
- An efficient battery design enables the timer to last four months, but solar powering is also an option due to its solar panel power ports.
- Made using durable metal with ABS plastic coating to keep it safe from the outdoors, even the mounts of this timer can be adjusted to fit to most buckets and dispensers.
Best Deer Feeder Timers - Comparison Table
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Best Deer Feeder Timers - Reviews
Our first product in the list is actually Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in the category of hunting game feeders, so you know you’re in good hands with this very well-reviewed one. It’s the Moultrie All-in-One Deer Feeder Timer Kit, a handy set that can be attached to most buckets of any size thanks to its adjustable mount.
The timer in this kit is a digital one that can be programmed to deliver feed for up to four times a day, and the durations of those feeds are also adjustable from one to twenty seconds each.
Setup is easy, and you can test the device with its testing option so that you can be sure that it’s functional before leaving it to do its work. The addition of solar panel power ports means that it can do its work by being powered by the sun, for if you’re a fan of sustainable powering options.
If using batteries, you can rest assured that you’ll get your money’s worth since the efficient design of the timer allows it to function off batteries for approximately four months out in the field. Don’t worry, batteries are included with this purchase.
The timer itself operates off of a spin plate and funnel crafted from durable metal and housed in Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene polymer plastic so that it’s protected from the elements.
Overall, this feeder timer is a handy piece of kit that hands over a lot of adjustability to its owner, and all for a modest price. It’s not difficult to see why it topped Amazon’s best seller chart and why it topped this list. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best deer attractant to mix with corn
Our second timer is another digital timer, the American Hunter 1006692 Digital Timer. From its product page you can choose the quantity you want, but we’re assuming you’re maintaining the operation one, at most two, hunting grounds.
The timer can feed up to sixteen times a day, but this is adjustable if you don’t want to feed the deer that often. You have so much control over the timer that you can even set which days you want it to dispense, leaving it to have off days where it won’t deliver feed at all.
The rate of the feed itself is also adjustable, so that you won’t overdo it and waste seeds. If buying this reasonably priced timer, you should know that it’s larger than you may be expecting, and so more suited to larger drums unless you’re up for some jury-rigging. We have also reviewed the best layout blinds, so check them out as well.
The midway entry on our list is the Wildgame Digital Power Control TH-6VDX model, a digital feeder kit that includes the timer, motor, spinner, and drop funnel housed in protective housing.
It’s a high torque digital feeder timer that delivers its feed via a sliding door, and boasts a maximum of six available feeding times, with each one able to be calibrated to last from one to thirty seconds or every second between. During those feeding periods it’ll dispense feed at all angles for maximum spread, and so maximum attraction.
The display on this timer is an easy-to-read LCD screen, which is built into a case made with sturdy galvanized steel. The spinner plate is made of the same, and both are powder coated so that environmental challenges won’t harm the inner workings of the timer. Check out our review of the best deer hunting repellent for more top picks.
Our next feeder timer is actually a feeder with a built-in time management system. It’s the Wildgame Innovations Tripod Deer Feeder, another Wildgame Innovations product which is a standing feeder that’s larger, and so more expensive, than a lot of the feeders above.
It’s made from a durable 30-gallon poly barrel with a digital power control unit beneath it that enables you to set four feeding times. It functions via a spinner plate made from galvanized steel to make it more resistant to the rusting that can develop from it being kept outside.
For what this feeder is, it’s quickly set up in only about fifteen minutes, but after setup you should exercise caution in how much you fill it. This is because the weight of the barrel can cause the legs to pierce the bottom of it, leaking feed and causing the whole thing to tumble down.
This is something that can easily be fixed by reinforcing the bottom or changing the way the barrel is suspended, but this will require some work on your part.
The last product on the list is another American Hunter product, the Sun Slinger Directional Feeder Kit. The product is named for the fact that it’s powered by a six-volt solar-powered charger, which means that you won’t have to mess around with batteries. The timer is programmed easily thanks to its easy touch digital timer, and it’s also easily installed thanks to mounting brackets included with the product.
However, you should be aware that the timer won’t fit on much else that isn’t a 55-gallon drum. The display can also be harder to see in daylight and after some use it can gather corn dust on the timer which needs some rubbing off.
Best Deer Feeder Timers - Buyers Guide
How to choose the best deer feeder
In this buyers’ guide we’ll go through the main factors you should consider when shopping for a deer feeder, from features of the product itself to details of the baiting area where you’re planning on setting it up. See below for sections on the capacity, portability, battery life and solar power, and of course the feeder’s timer, as well as the location, mainly the size of your hunting area and the amount of deer there.
You’ll want the capacity of your deer feeder to match the demand for feed in the area it’ll be set up. A feeder running dry risks the deer venturing away from the area to find natural sources of food, making them harder and more time-consuming to hunt. It’ll also make refilling less often, and the less human presence you can have at your feeder the better.
This should be fairly obvious, you should be taking into account how easy or hard it is to get your feeder to the hunting location, and the size of that hunting location, as these will factor into the size and type of the feeder that you’d want to get.
Large feeders, like tripod feeders, will be inconvenient to set up, and inconvenient to haul large bags of food out to the feed site. You should probably go for hanging or smaller bucket feeders if you want portability.
Battery Life or Solar Power
You also want to limit your interaction with your feeder when changing batteries too, meaning that you want a battery that will last a long enough time so that you won’t be disturbing the deer by changing them constantly.
Solar power is very handy for avoiding battery maintenance, and is a sustainable way to power a feeder. If you’re aiming for the least amount of human interference, you should aim for a larger capacity feeder like tripod ones, lower the output of food, and then use solar power to keep it running.
Feeder timers are used to dispense feeder feed at certain portions of the day. Advanced timers can even decide the duration of feed dispersal and which days the feeder goes through its feeding process. You should aim for a timer that gives you as much control as possible, no matter what your plans for your feeder are. That said, the timer won’t be as much as a priority for some, but we’re assuming it is for you since it’s the basis of this article.
Size of the Hunting Ground
In the case where your baiting and hunting ground is larger than the average, you should choose a proportionally sized feeder system. This means that it should obviously have a larger capacity and should preferably last longer if powered by batteries.
This cuts down maintenance of the feeder. If the deer run the feeder dry, by either eating all the food or causing the batteries to die, then it’ll eliminate the point of having a feeder. For larger hunting grounds you should aim for tripod feeders.
Amount of Deer at the Hunting Ground
Oftentimes a larger hunting ground will mean a larger deer population, and so these two circumstances are remedied in a similar way. That is, keeping a larger feeder that can cater to the larger deer population and the battery power to facilitate that. We recommend circumventing the power issue by ditching batteries and opting for solar power instead, so that you can have a more constant power source.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a five-gallon deer feeder last?
There are a lot of variables involved in how long any container’s capacity can last, but by explaining the average deer feeder schedule we can come to an approximate answer. If you have a deer feeder with five gallons of feed and it’s set to dispense feed twice a day, then the feed will last about two weeks. You can scale up this rough formula to estimate how long larger capacity feeders should last, too.
Do deer feeders scare deer?
There are a few answers to this question, so we’ll take the time to go through them all. The short answer is no. The only cases we’ve seen where feeders have spooked deer are where the deer was either right under it, and so was just startled, or where natural food was abundant and so the deer weren’t hungry and again got startled. In both cases, if they’re hungry in the future and the feeder is the most convenient option, they’ll still come to the feeder. They don’t tend to get spooked by feeders as they do with people.
In drier areas without much natural vegetation, deer have become acclimatized to the feeders and even run to them when they hear them go off. They develop a Pavlovian dinner bell response that works well to make them dependent on the feeder, and so makes them remain in your hunting area for longer instead of moving on.
How do you bear-proof a deer feeder?
As mentioned in the first entry on our list above, deer feeders can get ransacked by bears if there’s any in the area that are attracted by the scent of the feed you put in there. If you live in a bear area, particularly black bear, you’ll know they’ll make a habit of getting into anything like raccoons have a reputation for doing. This can break your feeder because it’s often mounted by plastic, which isn’t designed for and isn’t meant for supporting the weight of an animal.
From conventional feeder types, gravity fed capsule feeders are the most resilient against bears, being anchored to the ground and often as big and unwieldy as the bear themselves. Capsule feeders can come expensive, so here’s a way you can make a bear proof feeder with some DIY techniques.
You can make your own gravity feeder with a barrel, say 55-gallons, and a drill to drill approximately one-inch holes. Use rocks to elevate it about six inches from the ground and place T-posts around the barrel, complete with barbed wire wrapped around.
If you have a lot of trees nearby you can also build a hanging feeder by using a boat winch and some cable to suspend it up the tree, or between two trees, but for this to work the trees will need to be about 15-feet or over.