John's Journal...

Secrets to Hunting Feeder Bucks in States Where Feeders Are Allowed

Day 2: Ways to Use Feeders with Deer Hunters Ronnie Groom and Dr. Grant Woods

Click for Larger ViewYou can get the most out of as feeder before deer season starts by having your feeder distribute feed before the season arrives. Then you can go to a feeder site to inventory the deer coming there. You can learn…
* the number and the size of bucks you have to hunt around that feeder,
* the number of trophy bucks you have to hunt near that feeder and
* the number of does you need to take near that feeder.

Train Bucks to Come To Feeders:
Ronnie Groom of Panama City, Florida, a longtime, avid deer hunter, has hunted feeders for deer most of his life. Click for Larger ViewHe uses a feeder strategy that consistently yields big bucks for his bow. According to Groom, “If you want to bag a big buck at a feeder, the most-important time for the feeder to be dispensing feed is during the spring of the year when the does are fawning. But if you want the feeder to be really effective, you need to operate it all year.” Groom utilizes a common-sense approach to taking big bucks at feeders. “If you want to take a trophy buck at a feeder, you have got to tie his brain to his belly. When a young buck fawn is born and begins to follow his mother to a feeder day after day, then he develops the habit of going to that feeder every day to eat. If you’ll allow that buck fawn to survive and come to that feeder every day for 3 or 4 years, you can take him whenever you want to take him. The real secret to using a feeder to take trophy bucks is to train the bucks to come to the feeder day after day and year after year. Don’t plan to harvest those bucks until they reach trophy size.”

You quickly can see the advantages to using this system of hunting rather than just using a feeder to harvest a buck this season. With Groom’s technique, you can …
* get a good idea of the buck-to-doe ratio in the area where you’ve placed the feeder,
* study the bucks coming to the feeder and make better decisions on when to harvest which bucks,
* see the trophy bucks that will migrate into your feeder site when the rut begins and
* watch the antler development of your bucks through the years and make harvest decisions on which bucks to cull as well as see bucks grow to the older-age classes.

Click for Larger View“To hunt successfully over feeders, never shoot at a feeder site,” Groom emphasizes. “If you shoot bucks and does at a feeder, you’re training deer not to come to the feeder. I’ll make a stand site near the feeder strictly for observing deer, not for harvesting them. I’ll notice the trails the deer use to come to the feeder and then set up stands to take the deer along these trails as much as 50- to 150-yards from the feeder. When I’m ready to take a shot at a buck or a doe that has been coming to the feeder, I want to bag that animal as far away from the feeder as I possibly can. This way I protect the feeder and not train my deer to avoid the feeder.”

Use Your Feeder As A Sanctuary:
Click for Larger ViewDr. Grant Woods of Missouri, one of the nation’s leading deer biologists and researchers, reiterates Groom’s findings. “If you want to see and take trophy bucks, don’t harvest those bucks at the feeder site. If you take bucks near a feeder, you’ll teach the deer not to come to that feeder until after dark. A more-productive method is to make your feeder site a sanctuary for bucks and never harvest any deer where they’re feeding. The more hunting pressure you put on the deer at any one location, the less likely those deer are to come to that place during daylight hours.” For the most deer-hunting success, only feed and observe your deer herd at the feeder site. Sure, you can have shooting houses around the feeding site where you look at the bucks and does that come in to the feeder to determine whether or not you have a trophy buck to hunt there.

To learn more about Dr. Grant Woods’ deer research, visit

Tomorrow: Catch and Release Buck Deer by Using Feeders

Check back each day this week for more about "Secrets to Hunting Feeder Bucks in States Where Feeders Are Allowed "

Day 1: Why Feeders Produce Buck Deer
Day 2: Ways to Use Feeders with Deer Hunters Ronnie Groom and Dr. Grant Woods
Day 3: Catch and Release Buck Deer by Using Feeders
Day 4: Use Feeders for Absentee Deer Scouting
Day 5: Choose What Feed Attracts Deer to Your Feeders and Where to Put Them


Entry 588, Day 2