Battle Of The Feeders - Spinning vs Gravity
Over the past several years we have had more and more deer hunters asking which is better, a spin feeder or a gravity feeder? While each have Pro's and Con's there are many factors to think about before deciding. If you are wanting to harvest a mature trophy buck below are our suggestions.
In our opinion if neither you nor any of your neighbors have used spin feeders, then you need to allow at least 4-5 years of consistent use before you will have mature bucks coming into a spin feeder on a regular basis. There are exceptions and hunters kill giant whitetails every year while just having started using a spin feeder. A huge factor is how wary the deer herd is that you are hunting. If you are hunting a suburban area where deer are much more comfortable with sounds and human interaction it is a reasonable expectation that deer will adapt more quickly.
reason we say 4-5 years is because the does will come in immediately and bring
their fawns with them. If a button buck becomes accustomed
to visiting a feeder with his mother, he will most likely get used to the sound of the motor and continue coming into the feeder as he gets older. Thus, in year 4 or 5 the button buck will have matured and be a trophy animal.
if you want mature trophy bucks to feel comfortable visiting your spin feeder
during legal daylight hours you must refrain from shooting does and immature
bucks from or near to the feeder. It is ultra-important that all the deer feel
completely comfortable visiting.
- Most spin feeders can be accessed by squirrels and raccoons and given a chance they can empty a 200lb feeder over night by spinning the plate
- Any time you are using a motorized item something can go wrong. The batteries will need replaced unless you are using a solar panel and the motor will wear out and need replaced at some point. Either way there is some upkeep involved in keeping a spinning feeder up and running.
- In areas with a high coyote population the sound of the motor is not only a dinner bell for deer, but it also becomes one for coyote’s looking for some fresh venison.
- Most spin feeders will only cycle corn making it impossible to feed protein pellets if you wish.
- You can control the amount of corn you are feeding. Most feeders will come with a chart that will tell you how many seconds it takes to throw a pound. Doing the math, you can set up a schedule to keep the feeder filled and running. This is very helpful for anyone living a distance from their hunting ground.
- You can have your motor run at specific times allowing you to plan your entrance and exit strategies to get into and out of your stand with minimal disturbance.
-During late season when mature bucks must eat it is easy to create a supply and demand issue by feeding early enough that the feed is gone by dark forcing a big buck to get on his feet if he wants to eat.
Gravity feeders have been gaining popularity and over the past several years more and more companies have emerged with quality feeders. Gravity feeders have been used in Texas for many years and the concept is still fairly new to the eastern United States.
- A deer can eat as much as they would like.
- You need to be prepared to spend a lot more on feed using a gravity feeder than you will with a spin feeder.
- Since deer can eat as much as they would like it will become difficult to set up a schedule to keep the feeder filled. Your filling frequency will need to change with the seasons as natural foods become available and then disappear and the reliance on the feeder changes.
- Much like a spin feeder coyotes can focus their attention on any area deer regularly get fed and cause hate and discontent with the local deer herd.
- With no motor noise mature bucks are much more likely to start visiting a gravity feeder sooner and are a lot more relaxed around them.
- You have the option to feed about anything including protein pellets
- Due to the design of most gravity feeders it makes it difficult if not
impossible for squirrels and raccoons to raid the food.
- No batteries or motor problems.
As mentioned above if you want to harvest a mature whitetail it is imperative that all deer feel extremely comfortable at the feed station. Refrain from hunting until all conditions are perfect.
Do some homework and find out if your neighbors are feeding and if so with what type of feeder. Weigh up the Pro’s and Con’s and decide which will serve you better. Are you hunting urban or wilderness deer? There are many circumstances and situations where one may be a clear favorite over another. For example, if you own, lease, or have permission to hunt a property that is more than 2-3 hours from your home you will probably want to go with a spin feeder so that keeping it filled can be a scheduled activity. If on the other hand the property is nearby, and you have time and money for a lot of feed the gravity feeder may be your best option.
Our last suggestion is using a cellular deer cam and only move in to harvest a deer once he has established a pattern of visiting the feed station. Mature bucks are almost a different species and must be hunted as such. To many trips to your stand and he will pattern you much quicker than you can imagine and become strictly nocturnal.
Good luck and keep it fun as you try to decipher your local deer hunting situation!