If you’ve heard mixed reviews on using feeders, join the crowd.
QUESTION: My state now allows baiting, but I’ve read big bucks won’t come to a bait pile, or even a feeder. Is that true?
ANSWER: There are very few absolutes in deer hunting, and different factors vary, sometimes considerably, from one place to another. That being said, my experience, and that of a good many other hunters I’ve discussed this topic with, is that older bucks (and does, for that matter) are less likely to visit bait piles or feeders.
Feed piles represent an unnatural situation where deer are artificially concentrated into a smaller area. That increases intraspecific interaction and aggression. Deer could burn up more energy competing for the food than they gain from it. There’s also a better chance for transmission of disease.
Bucks would just as soon avoid one another, especially during the rut. On the other hand, food attracts does, which attracts bucks. There are always exceptions, particularly in places like Texas and Saskatchewan.
If you do put out feeders or bait, you might be better off setting up some distance downwind, especially if your goal is a mature buck. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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