Mathews Inc.
Role of Feeders on Property with Plots
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
gjs4 10-Aug-23
Pat Lefemine 10-Aug-23
Catscratch 10-Aug-23
WV Mountaineer 10-Aug-23
RK 10-Aug-23
fdp 10-Aug-23
drycreek 10-Aug-23
WV Mountaineer 10-Aug-23
gjs4 10-Aug-23
gjs4 10-Aug-23
gjs4 10-Aug-23
drycreek 10-Aug-23
Genesis 10-Aug-23
sitO 10-Aug-23
EmbryOklahoma 11-Aug-23
sitO 11-Aug-23
GFL 11-Aug-23
Kydeer1 11-Aug-23
Pop-r 11-Aug-23
Starfire 11-Aug-23
Stressless 11-Aug-23
sitO 11-Aug-23
live2hunt88 12-Aug-23
live2hunt88 12-Aug-23
gjs4 12-Aug-23
drycreek 12-Aug-23
sitO 12-Aug-23
Nyati 12-Aug-23
fuzzy 12-Aug-23
Thornton 13-Aug-23
Ambush 13-Aug-23
drycreek 13-Aug-23
sitO 13-Aug-23
fuzzy 13-Aug-23
RD in WI 13-Aug-23
Bigdog 21 13-Aug-23
live2hunt88 13-Aug-23
RD in WI 13-Aug-23
live2hunt88 13-Aug-23
sitO 13-Aug-23
live2hunt88 13-Aug-23
sitO 13-Aug-23
live2hunt88 13-Aug-23
sitO 13-Aug-23
fuzzy 14-Aug-23
drycreek 14-Aug-23
sitO 14-Aug-23
PushCoArcher 14-Aug-23
Groundhunter 14-Aug-23
sitO 14-Aug-23
PushCoArcher 14-Aug-23
From: gjs4
10-Aug-23
So I know geography and culture make this vary a bunch, but the general ask for those who manage/build their habitat (and live in a bait legal state);

What roles do feeders/baiting play into your overall habitat and hunting strategy?

I have friends in TX that hunt feeders successfully, I have friends in KS that run food year long for health and hunting but don't hunt feeders, I have heard all sorts of opinions about feeders in Ohio, and this is where my specific query comes from. I really know nothing about baiting but theories with everything from "you need them", to "your neighbor has two, so you have to have them", to "gravity only""or ground spread" for bucks.....so on and so forth.....

From: Pat Lefemine
10-Aug-23
I’m not sure I understand your question?

From: Catscratch
10-Aug-23
Pretty big push to get baiting outlawed in KS right now. I plant plots and try to keep food growing year round. Also do fruit trees and native habitat work. I don't hunt my plots and don't bait so maybe I'm not one to give you an answer, but everything I do otherwise is geared towards herd health. I want big bucks and feel what I'm doing is working as part of the equation. With that said I think the biggest determinant for large deer is age.

10-Aug-23
I’m surprised by the number of big bucks that die under feeders. Or, eating broadcast bait. Because Around these parts, a feeder is a 100% guarantee that you are educating deer.

I’ve tried it. It just doesn’t work. You might get a yearling buck or two under one early season. You will get a doe or two under you. But, the first deer that figures out that lingering human smell now comes with bad intentions, you are done.

You’ve seen the reactions of prey around predators. Sometimes they intermingle like they are buds. But, let the predator start thinking about hunting the prey, and it’s on. The prey animals know when they are being hunted. EVERYTIME. Hunting over a feeder is no different.

That’s just my experience. If it were me, I’d increase habitat quality and increase year round food plots to concentrate deer. And leave the baiting alone. It has far worse impacts than good on a hunting area.

This is assuming you don’t live in an extremely dry or frigid environment.

From: RK
10-Aug-23
Well I’m on the same level as Pat. Not sure what your question is

I would give you my 40 years of supplemental feeding in Texas but I see that Texans are disqualified

I have a good client in Pittsburgh Pa that used to lease in West Virginia and killed nice bucks over feeders Different experience than WV. He now leases in Ohio and kills really big deer and none of them are over feeders, even though he has them running all year.

From: fdp
10-Aug-23
"I would give you my 40 years of supplemental feeding in Texas but I see that Texans are disqualified".......I think the key there is the "supplemental" description. Not the primary attraction to the area. Personally if I wanted insight into the initial question I would want the input. "but I see that Texans are disqualified""......strange huh ?

From: drycreek
10-Aug-23
I may not know anything either, being from Texas, but I’ve hunted over feeders for many years. I agree that most mature bucks are not hanging around feeders, that is until a hot doe comes to the feeder. That’s where things change……sometimes. When I hunted Central Texas, where you could see much farther than I was comfortable shooting with a rifle, I would see bucks come to within 150/200 yards of a feeder on the downwind side and I knew they were scent checking the does at the feeder. If one was hot, they would come closer, but most times they would stay in the brush. There’s not a lot to eat out there, a good buck was 125” or so, and we had lots of does. We killed most of the does at the feeder, bow or gun, and most of the bucks in the brush. Toward the end of the season, when we were trying to kill all the does we needed to, we would hunt away from the feeders because by then they were pretty feeder shy.

At home in East Texas I grow food plots, but there’s a feeder there also. The feeder brings the does, and sometimes the bucks. We have lots of thick cover here, unlike Central Texas, and my plots are mostly about 80/90 yards long and 40 yards wide. Bucks feel a little more secure in this setting, but you still ain’t gonna have a bunch of mature bucks hitting that feeder, or the plot for that matter. Small properties don’t bode well for QDM so my goal is a 3.5 year old buck or better. That’s pretty realistic where I hunt.

10-Aug-23
Personally, if you never hunted around a feeder, the deer would likely become very friendly with them.

I’m sure it works. But, hassling around all the bear problems to hopefully shoot a deer that’s going to react severely to your string, isn’t a successful venture. That’s deer baiting in southern WV. And I have trail cam pics forcing me to feel this way.

On hand generated feed, I often get a night tone pic of the most mature deer in that area. The first or second nights its out. To never get a pic of those deer again. Ever on a camera over a feeder. Not once.

From: gjs4
10-Aug-23
Folks- I had some formatting errors with bad typing and allowing spell check to get things fixed without an editorial re-check. Should be good now.

MOST IMPORTANTLY- I have nothing against Texas/Texans/etc...(hence the start with "I have friends in Texas..."). Had a few sentences chopped up with formatting.

Anyway; PSA/Public Apology for my horrid post but I think it is in order now, both making more sense and not slandering anyone.

From: gjs4
10-Aug-23
PM'd apologies to the gents from Texas. I live in NY, so any insults, intentional or from sloppy thread posting, are true anyway so I wont take offense. :)

From: gjs4
10-Aug-23
To be transparent- other than showing I post hastily and sloppily- here is what I was trying to figure out.

I have 75 ac in south east Ohio hill country on the edge of a small city. Not much for ag, with the nearest being about a mile in any direction. There are lots of oaks everywhere but browse is somewhat a lesser species. No food plots for a mile or so other than mine. Knowing that some of the neighbors and a outfitter a little ways away run corn... am I at a loss for mature deer not doing it? I know you cant kill what isn't there but is not having a feeder limiting him from being there unless he calls my area home? That's where the logic for the original question is coming from...

From: drycreek
10-Aug-23
gjs4, no apologies necessary for me. Everybody knows you can always tell a Texan, but you can’t tell him much ! ;-)

From: Genesis
10-Aug-23
I represent the minority…..SCS (Scout,Climb,Shoot)

From: sitO
10-Aug-23
I've "hunted" over feeders...that made me laugh

11-Aug-23
I knew I could find you here, Kyle. How’ve you been buddy?

From: sitO
11-Aug-23
Been good Rick, real good, say hi to Lana

From: GFL
11-Aug-23
Most people that don’t run feeders….. #1 They don’t own land #2 It’s illegal in there state

I use protein feeders on my farm for supplements but I also don’t hunt around them. I’m not saying I’m against it if legal either.

From: Kydeer1
11-Aug-23
I put corn in mine and then shoot the deer when they visit it during daylight....which is never.

From: Pop-r
11-Aug-23
Big bucks don't rely on feeders. They will use them mostly at night.

I saw a video once from a guy in i believe Michigan. He had LOTS of deer and some HUGE bucks. The biggest bucks NEVER came to the feeder to eat. They would visit close but never came to eat and we're talking conditions (below zero and 2' of snow) where they had to want to but didn't. The does and young bucks ate at will.

From: Starfire
11-Aug-23
I have food plots but no feeders. Feeders are illegal in my state but even if they were I would not use one. As Pop-r says its not the best way to harvest big bucks. I rarely hunt over my good plots instead I hunt the trails leading to and from.

From: Stressless
11-Aug-23
RK's statement, answers the question. "...He now leases in Ohio and kills really big deer and none of them are over feeders, even though he has them running all year." Draw them but not spook them.

For guys on here that eschew the thought of baiting (I'm with you) but the environment GJS4 is in, is the same environment Goyt, Pat and I are in (with many more I'm unaware of) on our farms in Ohio, currently a bait legal state.

My $02 - It's an additional draw. Think of corn as "Golden Acorns", that only drop when and where you want them to.

If you hunt a white oak ridge poorly when real acorns are dropping you'll see similar results - as WVM states, "You’ve seen the reactions of prey around predators. Sometimes they intermingle like they are buds. But, let the predator start thinking about hunting the prey, and it’s on. The prey animals know when they are being hunted. EVERYTIME. Hunting over a feeder is no different."

On a Ohio specific forum there's a thread that details how to kill a mature buck over a feeder: You have to copy and paste don't know how to insert a link on this one.

https://theohiooutdoors.com/threads/baiting-mature-bucks.24431/#post-626498

Not really P&Y fair chase and not real sporting but it can happen, if you have mature bucks in your area and follow the formula in the link above. Which brings me to another point. I'm betting based on my 45 years of hunting in Ohio 85%-95% of hunters who bait in Ohio do it poorly or wrong, if their outcome is kill a mature buck over a feeder. They leave scent, hunt the wrong winds, spook deer off the feeder, put the feeder in the wrong place, etc... Meaning that if your neighbors bait but hunt it poorly the mature bucks will know and not hit them in daylight... if you have mature bucks in the neighborhood.

Adding Golden Acorns, or any draw, to your property in a way that complements mature buck travel routes to your food plots associated with the topography and you stands and access to stands (they can't see, hear or smell you) isn't a good or bad thing - it's how you incorporate it into your plan that'll make the difference.

I will add there is MARKED difference in mature bucks patterns and travel while hunting them pre-rut, during the rut and post rut. That all plays into my hunting calculus as a distant land-owner. Which WTD behavior (Pre/Rut/Post) can I hunt/do I want to hunt based on my trail cams and observations leading up to that specific hunting season. The change in 10 years I've been managing my farm has been stark. 2017-2021 were great for Pre-Rut (local mature bucks in daylight on the property) Last year I didn't capture a mature buck on cams or see one until the rut.

Hope this helps in some way.

From: sitO
11-Aug-23
"Big bucks don't rely on feeders"...of course not, people only bait to kill dinks...c'mon man

From: live2hunt88
12-Aug-23

live2hunt88's DeerBuilder embedded Photo
live2hunt88's DeerBuilder embedded Photo

Baiting is legal in Oklahoma and big deer are killed on corn piles every year. The state record archery buck was killed on a corn pile several years ago.

That said I do run feeders on my place and I get good deer on the piles. I do hunt on them sometimes if I can get them patterned and have shot a couple doing so but I also hunt spots without corn. Typically I take my little brother out to shoot a doe or two

To me a hunting a bait pile is no different than sitting on a small “kill plot” but to each their own, I’ve got nothing against how anyone hunts as long as it’s legal

From: live2hunt88
12-Aug-23

From: gjs4
12-Aug-23
Thank you all for your replies.

To me and like almost all deer based experiences, it is more of a regional thing. That was what I was trying to mutter in my initial post before starting a war with the Lone Star state.

My current perceptions- It is hard to factor baiting/feeding for folks who don't have it legal to them. Stating this for myself first and foremost. Baiting and Feeding aren't the same. Corn and protein feed aren't the same. Reactions differ with these factors. Baiting and/or feeding will affect the herd. Hunting over bait or feed may be a tactic in some areas, and for year round dinner plates, but doesn't appear to be the best strategy in most areas. There is nothing cheap, easy or convenient about baiting or feeding. It seems (via Lays chips)- Once you start you can't stop... Most folks use the opportunity where legal.

Great learning thus far....

From: drycreek
12-Aug-23
Just to be honest:

If you hunt under oaks dropping acorns you’re hunting bait. Same with food plots. Same hunting lopes at a water hole. Same if you duped a bull elk into thinking he’s gonna score some tail. Same if you are hunting a rub line or scrape.

So, we are back to the stone axe and loincloth. All this technology that we ALL use to kill a deer makes no damn difference to a dead deer. You have a finite number of tags, use them as you see fit within the law and stop looking down your nose at the other guy. This is not directed at anyone in particular, and certainly not the OP. As your grade school teacher probably said……you know who you are ! ;-)

From: sitO
12-Aug-23
Can't train animals to come to any of those others things, but you know this. Some folks hunt, some folks just shoot.

From: Nyati
12-Aug-23
I have feeders on my farm but I rarely if ever hunt over them. I will sometimes put friends over them during late season to meet my doe quotas. I use them to keep the does around. That will help keep and attract bucks during the rut. I have multiple food plots that I usually hunt over or around

From: fuzzy
12-Aug-23
Can't bait in Virginia. In states which allow it ots pretty much feeder or food plot.

From: Thornton
13-Aug-23
The owner of this site shoots large, free-range bucks every year over feed and entire outfitting operations are based on feeders. The argument that big bucks aren't killed over corn is ridiculous.

From: Ambush
13-Aug-23
Sitting on a trail leading to a feeder is called training.

Sitting on private property where the trails come together fifty yards from a food plot or ag field is called patterning.

From: drycreek
13-Aug-23
I know some of you hold yourselves above mere mortals. Maybe you can understand that it ain’t none of your business how other LEGAL hunters hunt. If you can’t get that through your elitist head then nothing anybody says is gonna make any difference.

From: sitO
13-Aug-23
If someone states a fact it's pretty easy to discern, falsehoods are as well.

From: fuzzy
13-Aug-23
The old food plot/feeder/bait argument. Bowsite is getting back to normal <3

From: RD in WI
13-Aug-23
This is a fascinating discussion. It is interesting to see the comments against baiting and food plots and the arguments in support of these methods. I think that "legal" isn't the best measure of appropriate methods - it is fair chase. If the method you use gives you an overwhelming advantage - your method isn't fair chase. The legality of a practice should be secondary. Remember that years ago in New York, it was perfectly LEGAL to drive deer into bodies of water, where hunters in boats would shoot, club, or drown the swimming deer. I am not comparing baiting to the aforementioned practice - just showing that the legal system often lags behind the fair chase determinations of the hunting community.

From: Bigdog 21
13-Aug-23
Just put up a high fence call it a day.

From: live2hunt88
13-Aug-23
As someone else stated, at what point do you draw the line ? If someone plants a small 1/4 acre plot is it any different than the guy who doesn’t have access to equipment to do the same and hunts a corn pile/feeder ? Are those who hunt water tanks for antelope not sitting over something similar ? I hear a similar debate from guys around here about those who hunt private vs public in comparison to what is “fair chase”

To each their own, whatever gets people outdoors and in the woods works for me. I’m not here to judge anyone for how they feel is the best way to fill their freezer.

From: RD in WI
13-Aug-23
Do you really mean: that every individual has the right to their own preferences? That is what "to each their own" means. If that were true, there would be no standards in hunting. If a hunter prefers to hunt with a bow with a 25-pound draw weight or begin their hunt an hour before dawn - that is fine, because it is their preference? The "to each their own" rationale is flawed and comparing a 1/4 acre food plot to a corn pile or feeder is a false equivalency.

From: live2hunt88
13-Aug-23
To each their own is in reference to those who prefer hunting with or without bait, nowhere in there was I implying anything about what equipment someone hunts with.

To you it may be flawed to me both guys are sitting over food, as I stated earlier, to each their own.

From: sitO
13-Aug-23
That's why "live2hunt88" is always honest on his hunt recaps/"trophy pics"...he doesn't play like he actually hunted them...oh wait

From: live2hunt88
13-Aug-23
Not sure what you’re implying by that but alright.

A guy has an opposing view and you guys start flipping out lol feels like I’m talking to a bunch of liberals.

Yes I hunt over corn if I get multiple pictures of a nice deer visiting it. Why would I not ? I also hunt public land where you cannot bait at all, hunt other states where baiting isn’t allowed, and still have success.

Like I said to each their own. Don’t like bait ? Don’t hunt with it. If you like it and it’s legal then hunt with it. It’s as simple as that.

From: sitO
13-Aug-23

sitO's embedded Photo
sitO's embedded Photo
sitO's embedded Photo
sitO's embedded Photo
sitO's embedded Photo
sitO's embedded Photo
Why not just say "I had trained him for weeks, and shot him over a corn pile"? Would you like me to tell you why you weren't honest?

From: live2hunt88
13-Aug-23

live2hunt88's embedded Photo
live2hunt88's embedded Photo
Well since you want to dig that deep maybe you should read the location of those hunts. Two of those were shot in Illinois where baiting isn’t legal.

One of those was shot on corn, in Oklahoma, which is legal on private land, which I was on. As stated I had multiple pictures of him on the corn pile for a week or two around the same time every evening, aka “pattern”. Here he is on said corn pile.

I also shot my antelope sitting in a blind over a water hole, so we can add him to my list of trained animals if you like

From: sitO
13-Aug-23
If there was no bait on the IL bucks, I stand corrected. Corn pile wasn't mentioned on the other, but obvious reasons not to make that known.

I hope OK eliminates baiting one day, until then yes it's legal...but it sure as heck ain't hunting. Pretty sure you know the difference.

From: fuzzy
14-Aug-23
Lol

From: drycreek
14-Aug-23
“it sure as heck ain’t hunting”. I’ve got a little news flash for you sitO, you don’t get to define “hunting”. What you get to do is hunt your way and run other people down because they don’t fit your mold. That’s the definition of discrimination. What I get to do is hunt as I want to, that has included hunting WTs in Kansas and Iowa where no “bait” was allowed, mule deer in Montana, no bait allowed, antelope in Montana and Wyoming, no bait allowed, and WTs in several locations in Texas, bait and no bait. I buy no beef except ribeyes and roasts, and I eat venison a couple times a week so I’m pretty successful. Just so you know, for every buck I kill hunting over my food plot/ feeder I probably sit thirty days and see only does or bucks I don’t shoot. I didn’t kill a buck last year, only a WT doe and an axis doe. I hunted every damn day that the wind was right. If that’s what puts a bug up your ass, then you don’t have enough to do.

From: sitO
14-Aug-23
So you obviously see the difference between actually hunting, and sitting a corn pile...you clearly explained that, carry on.

From: PushCoArcher
14-Aug-23
Why anyone tries to have a discussion with sitO is beyond me. He's not interested in one stop feeding the troll and he'll crawl back to the Kansas forum. About the only time he comes on the main forum is to derail someone else's thread. I'm sure you think your the caped crusader of baiting but you're a true detriment to your cause. Is baiting still legal in Kansas? Maybe you should stop acting like your opinions are the gospel and get to work.

From: Groundhunter
14-Aug-23
Gee, I guess no big deer in Canada are killed over bait.....

From: sitO
14-Aug-23
Good chance it's about to be eliminated in KS William, and OK will hopefully be next. You should take a little more pride in yourself, and what you do as a Sportsman, I can help you if you'd like.

From: PushCoArcher
14-Aug-23
No thanks. I have no interest in learning lessons from someone incapable of being respectful to those who disagree with him. When/If baiting becomes illegal in Kansas post it on the main thread I'll be one of the first to congratulate you. What I won't do is post 9 times arguing and belittling everyone who disagrees with me like some 14 year old who needs attention.

This Topic has been locked. Thank you.

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