How To Make A Homemade DIY Deer Feeder With Any Hunter’s Budget

Are you looking to attract deer to your property but don’t know where to start? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

No matter what time of year it is, today could be the day you start to attract deer closer to your property.

How To Make A Homemade DIY Deer Feeder With Any Hunter’s Budget

While it may be a highly debated topic and one that is illegal in a lot of states, there are still 28 states that permit the use of deer feeders. 

That gives hunters the opportunity to attract deer to their property for easier hunting.

However, deer feeding adds substantial costs to what already might be a limited hunting budget. 

Therefore, you’re going to need an effective, yet affordable alternative. Luckily for you, we have the solution.

That solution is a homemade DIY deer feeder. Why spend big bucks on a feeder when you can make one yourself?

In this article, we’ll show you how to make a deer feeder on any budget.

If that sounds like something that can help you, be sure to stick around!

Why Should You Make A DIY Feeder?

Before we take a look at how to make a feeder, we’d like to give you a better understanding of why you should make one.

Feeding is an extremely popular method used to attract deer to a property.

It is primarily used as a way to make the overall hunting experience a lot easier.

The aim behind feeding deer isn’t necessarily to fatten them up enough that they can’t run away, but instead, to get the animal used to visiting a specific area. This is how it then becomes a lot easier to hunt.

All it takes then is a game camera or in-person scouting to learn where the deer go and when they come by. 

That’s not all though!

Adding supplements into the feed provides the deer with extra nutrition.

This added nutrition helps the deer grow larger antlers which are highly desirable for any hunter.

There are many reasons you would choose to make a DIY feeder over a store-bought feeder, but the main ones are expense and design. 

You can make a deer feeder much cheaper than you can buy one.

On top of that, you can make the feeder specific to your needs and requirements.

As if that wasn’t enough, you can make the feeder as simple or complex as you want.

Are Deer Feeders Legal In The United States?

You can’t start making a deer feeder without first finding out if you’re legally allowed to use one.

This is incredibly important to know because there are 22 states that don’t allow any feeding or baiting when it comes to deer hunting. 

That leaves us with 28 states that have made the baiting or feeding of deer legal.

However, even then laws vary. Some states don’t allow hunting over bait but allow the use of supplement feed when hunting season is closed. Other states make it illegal to feed deer all year round.

There are then other states that permit deer feeding all year round.

Bearing all of this in mind, you should never make a deer feeder before fully understanding the laws where you live.

To find out whether you can use a deer feeder or not, you should contact your local wildlife management agency.

Making A Homemade DIY Deer Feeder

Now you know more about why you should make a deer feeder and whether or not you can make one, we can start to show you how you go about making a wide range of different feeders.

To make sure you can find a feeder that suits your needs, requirements, and budget, we’ve decided to give you 5 different options. Each option offers something different and varies in total cost.

We’ll show you what each feeder offers, what you need to make it, and how to go about doing so. 

Let’s take a look at the first option, shall we?

Bucket Deer Feeder (5 Gallons)

We’ll start our list of options off with this excellent 5-gallon bucket feeder. 

If you have a 5-gallon bucket sitting around gathering dust, why don’t you turn it into an effective deer feeder?

Relatively easy to make, this feeder has a hole in the bottom that’s kept shut by a washer.

The washer is then connected to a light but large object.

When a deer bumps the object, the washer is moved and the feed falls to the floor.

What You Need

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • A bucket lid
  • 5x ¼-inch washers
  • 2-inch washer
  • Threaded rod (36 inches long ¼-20)
  • 6 ¼-inch nuts
  • Rope
  • Coffee cup (metal)
  • 1×2-inch lumber (15 inches long)

Making The Feeder 

Follow the steps below to make the 5-gallon deer feeder:

  1. Grab your bucket and drill a 1-inch hole in the bottom.
  2. Next, cut your wood so that it fits inside the bottom of your bucket. Longer than 10 inches, cut two 2-inch sections off the rest of your wood.
  3. You can now drill another hole in the center of your wood. Make it a little wider than the width of your threaded rod.
  4. Screw or nail the 2-inch section vertically to the 10-inch horizontal section. This will form a bridge.
  5. Next, use a drill to cut a ¼-inch hole into the coffee can.
  6. Thread one nut, one ¼-inch washer, the 2-inch washer, the other ¼-inch washer, and two nuts into the middle of the rod to assemble the hole blocking part of the feeder.
  7. Attach the can to the base of the rod by using a washer and a nut on either side.
  8. Put the bridge into your feeder and push the rod up through both holes. Attach it using a washer and nut.
  9. Move the 2-inch washer to an inch below the bucket hole.
  10. Tie your feeder to a tree.
  11. Fill your feeder with deer feed.
  12. Adjust your 2-inch washer’s height so that each bump makes food drop out.
  13. All done!

PVC Deer Feeder

The bucket feeder is perfectly fine and super budget-friendly, however, it’s also a little complicated to make when compared to other feeders.

How To Make A Homemade DIY Deer Feeder With Any Hunter’s Budget

If you’re looking for something a little easier to make without having to break your budget, try this PVC feeder instead.

It may cost a little more to make but it’s still an awesome budget feeder.

Before making the feeder, you need to decide if you want to make it out of 6-inch or 4-inch PVC.

Bigger will cost more, but it will hold more feed too.

What You Need

  • 10-inch PVC
  • 45° Y coupler
  • 2 pipe caps
  • Spray paint (camouflage)

Optional – PVC cement

Making The Feeder

Follow the steps below to make this PVC feeder. It’s worth noting that the first step is optional.

  1. Cut your PVC section into a more manageable piece. We recommend 4-inch or 6-inch.
  2. Next, cut a 4-inch section off the PVC, or from your discarded section to use later.
  3. Use a drill to cut drainage holes in one of your pipe caps.
  4. Optional: If you want a more permanent, durable assembly, cement all of the connections, except for the top cap.
  5. You should now grab the Y coupler and attach it to the bottom long pipe. Do this so the Y couplers open end points upwards and the bottom Y points downwards.
  6. To the bottom of the Y, attach your 4-inch section of PVC. Place the hole-y cap at the bottom.
  7. Once that’s done, spray paint your deer feeder.
  8. The feeder can now be attached to a tree. Make sure the Y couplers open end faces up. Attach the feeder by using the rope or a zip tie.
  9. Fill the deer feeder with food and fit the non-drilled pipe cap on top to prevent water from entering.
  10. Enjoy the benefits of your feeder!

Gravity Deer Feeder (55 Gallons)

While both of the options we’ve looked at are great budget-friendly options, they both only hold limited amounts of feed.

As a result, if you need to make a feeder with a larger capacity, you’ll have to try another option.

This 55-gallon gravity deer feeder is a fantastic option.

An amazing economical option, you can easily make this deer feeder if you own a 55-gallon drum.

Don’t worry if not, smaller drums work well too.

Gravity helps pull the feed into a tray for the deer to feed from.

What You Need

  • 1 large drum, with its lid
  • Wood, concrete blocks, or PVC to make a platform
  • 12-inch drywall mud pans or trough tray
  • 2-inch elbow joints (PVC)
  • Screws
  • Rope

Optional: PVC cement

Making The Feeder 

Follow the steps below to make the gravity deer feeder:

  1. In the side of your drum and towards the bottom, drill 2-inch holes.
  2. In the center of the side trays, drill 2-inch holes.
  3. Next, take your PVC joints and trim them so they don’t take up too much room in the drum. Push the PVC elbow joints through the hole.
  4. Put the troughs onto the end of the PVC pipe.
  5. Optional: cement everything together.
  6. Use the screws to attach the trays to the drum. Do so near the pipe.
  7. Make a platform so the base of the drum sits 2-inches above the floor.
  8. Put your drum on the platform and use the rope to keep it in place.
  9. Fill your drum with up to 100 lbs of deer feed.
  10. Enjoy your deer feeder!

Deer Feeding Trough

If you’d prefer a more traditional style of deer feeder that doesn’t rely on gravity, this deer feeding trough could be perfect. 

This deer feeder is a large trough full of deer food. It’s lifted from the ground and well protected from the rain thanks to a solid corrugated metal roof. 

You will require a decent level of carpentry skills and a bigger budget though, so bear that in mind.

If you have both, this feeder is brilliant. In our opinion, it’s also the best-looking feeder.

What You Need

  • One drum with a lid (55 gallons)
  • Several 2-inch by 4-inch boards.
  • 3x 4-inch by 4-inch by 8-inch treated lumber
  • Corrugated metal roof panels
  • ¼-inch bolts and washers

Making The Feeder

Follow the steps below to make the deer feeding trough:

  1. Start by cutting your drum in half. Alternatively, use a large trough tray instead.
  2. Using your carpentry skills to help, make a 6-foot high frame that features a crossbeam on top. Use the 4’x4’s to do so.
  3. Now, with the 2’x4’s, attach diagonal legs to the underside of the crossbeam to create the roof frame.
  4. You can now attach your corrugated metal to form the roof part of the feeder. This will help keep water off the feed.
  5. Once that’s done, attach half of your drum to the crossbeam using the bolts. The drums open-side should face up to the crossbeam.
  6. Put the feeder wherever you want it and fill it with deer feed.
  7. All done, sit back and watch the deer feed out of your feeder.

Tripod Feeder (Automatic)

The final deer feeder option we have on our list is the tripod feeder.

If you want to be able to dispense deer feed at specific times rather than all the time, this feeder is the best option for you.

It is an automatic feeder that will let you decide when the deer are fed.

As you can imagine, this type of feeder comes with a higher cost, so only make it if you have a bigger hunting budget.

What You Need

  • One drum (30 to 55 gallons)
  • Power source, preferably solar
  • Automatic deer feeder (motorized)
  • A funnel (Wide enough for the drum)
  • 6x ¼-inch washers and bolts
  • 3x ¼-inch coupler pins
  • 3x 4-inch thin aluminum tubes
  • 3x 1-inch aluminum tubes

Making The Feeder

Follow the steps below to make the automatic tripod deer feeder:

  1. In the bottom of your drum, drill a hole for the automatic feeder.
  2. Next, take the 12-inch aluminum tubes and flatten half of each one. You then need to bend them to a 30° or 45° angle.
  3. Then, drill two holes into your bolts. Drill the holes in the flat part. You should then drill a hole in the coupler pin (in the round area).
  4. Insert the thinner aluminum tube and mark the area under each hole. After that, drill out each mark so the pin can hold the legs in place.
  5. Remove the legs for the time being.
  6. Making sure they match the aluminum bolt holes, drill some holes in your drum. Mount the flattened aluminum tubes.
  7. Attach the motorized feeder by following the manufacturer’s mounting instructions.
  8. Now, insert your funnel so that the feed will go into the feeder.
  9. Plug your motor into a power supply.
  10. Head to the spot you want to place the deer feeder.
  11. Insert the coupler pins, legs, and feed before putting the lid on.
  12. All done!

Final Thoughts

Making a deer feeder is a wonderful way to attract deer to your property without having to spend a large chunk of your hunting budget. 

All it takes to make an effective deer feeder is a little bit of money, a collection of basic materials, time, and some skill.

After that, all you have to do is check that you’re legally permitted to use a deer feeder in your state.

In this article, we’ve shown you how to make 5 awesome feeders.

All you have to do now is decide which one to make.

The feeder you decide to make will depend on how big your budget is, how much feed you want to leave, and the rules surrounding deer feeders in your state.

Tim Roth
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