For those whitetail deer hunters out there that use deer feeders as I do, we all know how troublesome they can be. Watching the sunrise on a cool winter morning while in your deer blind, seeing the white tailed deer migrate to a recently activated deer feeder is one of the most enjoyable moments in my world. But when that same deer feeder fails, it becomes very aggravating. Here are some pointers to help minimize those disappointing moments.
Keep It Clean
Use only re-cleaned corn -- feed which has the stalks, rocks, cobs and such removed is best. This will keep your feeder from becoming clogged and worst yet, you breaking the motor shaft trying to get the clog out. There are now screens available for purchase to be used at your deer feeder that will filter out this debris.
No Critters Allowed
Build a solid pen around your deer feeder between 30 and 36 inches tall, in a circle fashion large enough so to not confine the deer to help them feel comfortable. This will allow deer to hop in but keep the undesirables such as feral hogs and livestock out. Cows will lick a deer feeder empty in hours, then knock it over and destroy your timer by stepping on it. If you decide against a pen, you may want to place a cattle panel below the feeder to prevent a huge mud puddle from forming below. I like keeping a varmint guard around the timer. Raccoons will consume large amounts of corn by climbing the legs and turning the spinner plate to feed their friends below. Raccoons can climb any surface, period, you cannot prevent that. Plus they can be quite destructive to the timer by opening latches and by hanging on wiring harnesses and such. Squirrels and birds will get their share also, don't allow that if possible. Using live traps can be effective, but it takes considerable time working and checking them. If using live traps, always check before leaving the ranch.
Always anchor your deer feeder at each leg to the ground, empty feeders are easily blown over by wind and/or knocked over by livestock. Make sure your lid doesn't blow off by securing it with springs to the barrel or by using a weighted object(rock).
Solar chargers are a good investment and this ensures your battery hasn't died a week before opening day. The new hip way of mounting these panels is not on the barrel or legs anymore, it is directly to the timer housing, straight up and down. Word has it that this is just as effective as the horizontal method and doesn't leave any wires exposed.
Keep it Maintained
I believe it's also important to clean out the barrel once a year or so to remove any unwanted junk prohibiting smooth flow of corn. Even corn dust can accumulate slowing efficient feeding to the spinner plate. I've discovered that it’s far better to leave your timer functioning when the season is over, even if out of corn. This keeps the shaft turning and other components from breaking down. Similar to an engine, it is not good for a motor to sit stagnant. I hope this information has been beneficial and wish you many outstanding hunts.