Once you’ve chosen the best deer feeder out there to match your hunting needs, it’s now time to choose what you’re going to put in that thing. Many hunters know the best (and easiest) thing to use for a deer feeder is undoubtably going to be corn. However, I think it’s important to highlight and take a dive into a few more things. Who knows – you might not realize what else is out there.  

The information listed below is going to showcase the four best options to use with your deer feeder. We’re going to run through the pros and cons of each, a few highlighted nutrition facts, and showcase some additional thoughts from outside resources.

We hope you enjoy the blog and don’t forget to leave a comment below for other hunters in case there’s anything we missed!

1. Corn

There's no doubt that corn is the best and most popular thing to put in your deer feeder. Read the pros and cons below to learn more!


The most notable pro to choosing corn is the fact that it's inexpensive and easy to find. Most hunters can pick up a bag of corn at their local sporting goods store, feed location, and sometimes at country gas stations. 

While corn isn't necessary characterized as a great deer attractant, it does have the ability to bring in deer to designated locations and keep them coming back for extended periods of time. It's well known that corn can draw in deer from "long distances", and at inexpensive price points it's definitely worth the try.


According to the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, corn is relatively low in protein (9%) which may result in less than ideal antler growth when compared to protein feed.

Furthermore, because corn contains a high amount of starch it might produce digestive issues as deer are ruminants. To quickly summarize, deer have what's called a rumen within their digestive tract. This rumen contains microbes that breakdown and ferment starch more rapidly than other items, leading to problems.

Lastly, in reference to Deer Associate eNews, eating too much corn can cause hoof problems. 

Deer Feed - Corn Problems

2. Pellets

Deer protein feed or deer protein pellets have grown in popularity over the past several years, with more substantial deer management properties relying on them with greater consistency than the average hunter. 


It's clear that the greatest advantage to deer protein pellets in the targeted nutritional advantage present over cheaper items such as corn. These formulations not only result in healthier deer, but also produced much large racks. Purina Mills notes,  "Unless there is enough protein in the diet to meet all the priority needs and have enough left over for optimal antler growth, trophy racks will not happen".


Of course, this biggest con to protein deer pellets is the cost. Prices can range from $15-$30 per 50 lb. bag - a value that's much larger than your average bag of deer corn.

Keep in mind that deer protein feed is not a single solution to outrageous antler growth. This particular supplement is just that - a supplement. It's there to enrich an already reliable diet while filling in the holes and providing some additions. So make sure this feed is placed in a type of feeder that's already in an appropriate deer feeder location.

Lastly, purchasing these items and expecting it to be used a nutritional replacement is not just going to get the job done.

3. Mix

If you decide to incorporate a deer pellet feed on your property, you might find that deer are a little hesitant at first. As a result, it's recommend to start with a mix of corn and pellets to get them accustomed to the feed.


The biggest advantage to using a mix of corn and pellets is the fact that it easily introduces pellets to a herd of deer that are used to either corn or other deer attracts. It's recommend to start with a 1/3 or pellets and 2/3 of corn to see how deer first react. If they don't initially take to the pellets, introduce more corn then wean them off over time.


While there aren't a lot of cons to use a standard mix for feeding deer, it does require a little more work. Measuring out the right mix and going out and purchasing two different types of feeds isn't the easiest thing to do. While these are both relatively small callouts it is important to note before you begin down this path.

Deer Feed Mix

4. Natural Mix

While it's not the most popular deer feed chosen by many hunters, I thought it was beneficial to list a more natural option out there. In case you don't want to choose corn or a formulate pellet mix, you always have the option of putting together a mix that contains items such as apples, grapes, cherries, pears, carrots, snap peas, and acorns.


Having a natural mix ensures that your deer herd is being given something that naturally aligns with their local diet. The only thing you're really doing is guaranteeing the availability of this and steering deer towards your desired location. This particular mix also helps to avoid any digestive system issues.


Aside from costs, which is going to be pretty expensive, especially if you're putting together a mix of fruits and vegetables, is the way you feed your deer with this. Choosing a standard automatic feeder isn't going to work well with this type of mix, so it's important to choose a different type of feeder. We'd recommend building a homemade deer feeder or purchasing a simple gravity feeder to get the job done.

My Final Take

In the end, it's going to be up to you to see which one of these deer feed options best aligns with your budget and desired results this upcoming season. Of course, everyone would prefer to purchase a high quality feed solution that not only attracts deer, but produces solid antler growth.

However, sometimes this isn't always the most feasible or realistic choice a hunter can make. We hope the information above sheds some light on your options and helps you during that final choice.

For a blog about the Best Hunting Fanny Packs take a look today!