Best Game Feeders – What are they?
Game feeders are devices used to supply food to animals. They can be either mechanical or electronic. Mechanical feeders consist of various parts which are connected together with gears and other mechanisms. Electronic feeders include various components such as batteries, sensors, switches etc., which require electricity to operate them.
The most common type of game feeder is the “automatic” one. These are designed so that when a certain condition is met, food will be dispensed from it automatically. For example, if the animal is standing near a feeding station and its head dips down low enough, the machine will dispense food into its mouth. Other types of game feeders include the “manual” ones, where the user manually feeds the animal; and the “self-feeding” ones, wherein a lever releases food from a dispenser.
What makes these different types of game feeders different is their design. Some have levers to release food from dispensers while others do not. Others are self-cleaning while some need regular cleaning. These factors, as well as cost and the type of game being fed, dictate which type of feeder is used for a specific animal.
Game Feeder Benefits
Some of the benefits of using automatic game feeders are listed below:
1. Saves Time and Money
Automatic game feeders save you both time and money. By using these devices, you no longer have to refill them yourself. This means you won’t need to buy as much food and manually refill the feeder. You also won’t need to waste time going out to your local hunting spot and refilling the feeder every few days.
These devices are also fairly inexpensive, costing anywhere from $30-$1,000 depending on the model. For some hunters, this can be well worth the money if they spend a lot of time at their favorite hunting spot. After the initial expense, the operational cost of these feeders is usually very low.
2. Saves the Environment
These devices can also help save the environment. By using a game feeder, you no longer need to throw old food on the ground, as it will be automatically dispensed. This prevents other animals, such as wild dogs and raccoons, from feasting on the old food and making a bigger mess.
This also reduces the chances of other animals getting into a food fight, which can cause bigger problems. For example, if two bears get into a food fight and one bear gets injured, it could become more aggressive toward humans, as they are the ones who shot the bear in the first place.
3. More Effective Hunting
These devices are also extremely effective at attracting animals to your hunting spot. By placing the feeder in a good location and leaving it alone, you can be assured that the animals will come to that area. This will help ensure that you have fresh trails to follow and better chances at a good kill.
This is where the self-feeding models are extremely beneficial, as they do not require you to stay at your hunting spot. Some of these devices can even throw out several pounds of food every night, ensuring that plenty of wildlife comes calling.
Despite being a useful hunting tool, automatic and self-feeding game feeders do have their drawbacks. These include:
1. Bears Can Be Problematic
While most animals are not bothered by these devices, bears can be problematic. These creatures are smart enough to disable some of these devices, even if they don’t know how they work. It’s important to keep this in mind when placing your devices. For example, you should place your device in a location that isn’t easy for bears to reach.
You can also buy special feeders that are resistant to bears, such as the Super Feeder Model-12. This device uses a heavy weight to keep the food down in the device and has an adjustable counter to release more food. The weight prevents bears from reaching the food while the counter shoots out more food every few hours.
2. Human Visitors Can Be Annoying
Self-feeding and automatic game feeders can also attract more visitors than just the animals you are trying to hunt. For example, more humans, such as hunters, hikers and bikers may come across your device and start to use it regularly.
This can be a negative if you are looking to avoid other humans while at your hunting spot. It can also lead to confrontations with other types of people. Hunters may wonder why you are placing a game feeder out so far from any houses, while other humans may start to leave garbage at your hunting spot.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can prevent human interaction with these types of devices. For example, you can disguise the device if you are placing it in a more public location. You can also ensure that your device is placed on private property.
3. Trail Cameras Can Be Problematic
Trail cameras are an extremely useful device for hunters, as they allow you to take pictures of animals when they aren’t aware. This enables you to keep track of which animals are visiting your hunting spot and how many. However, these devices can also have the opposite effect if you place them in the wrong location.
If animals become used to seeing the cameras, they may stop being afraid of them. This can lead to an increase in suspicious behavior from animals, making it harder for you to hunt.
It’s best to avoid using trail cameras if you are planning to hunt in the future at that location. If you must use a trail camera, make sure to take it down after every use.
4. Too Much Food Can Be A Problem
Self-feeding and automatic feeders can be a blessing for hungry hunters. However, these devices can also lead to problems if used incorrectly. For example, if you place out too much food at a time, then animals may no longer come to eat at all. Instead, they may begin to act more aggressively towards you and other animals.
It’s best to only place out enough food for animals to eat within a day or two. If you want to keep the device running for a longer period of time, then it may be best to change the location of your device instead.
Hunting With Feeders Summary
Automatic and self-feeding game feeders are an extremely useful device for hunters. These feeders allow you to spend more time actually hunting and less time worrying about when and where to hunt. If you want to know more about how to use automatic feeders and game feeders, then feel free to post a question in our forums.
If you are looking for more advice about hunting medium sized mammals such as deer and elk, then read our how to hunt deer and how to hunt elk articles. There is also our guide on deer hunting tips and elk hunting tips if you are looking for more in-depth information.
Sources & references used in this article:
Adjustable, collapsible and portable game hoist by SM Cipriano – US Patent 7,913,980, 2011 – Google Patents
Bird feeders by WM Merritt, FF Forth – US Patent 3,051,126, 1962 – Google Patents
Big-Game Feeders by J Kalb – Adventures in the Bone Trade: The Race to Discover …, 2001 – Springer
Game feeder and improved distributor by CF Reneau, ER Brumley – US Patent 4,986,220, 1991 – Google Patents