season is no time for your equipment to fail. Even as you sight
in your scooped rifle before the opener, your deer feeder should
be well checked before and during the season.
A feeder with
a motor and timer battles all of the elements and delivers the goods
on time - rain or shine. If a feeder is not delivering routinely,
the deer will soon change their habits and bypass the feeder altogether.
Just like your
vehicle, a feeder should be kept on a regular maintenance schedule
and each visit to the lease should include a quick inspection.
Here is a list
of items that should never be overlooked:
- Take tools
including screwdrivers, allen wrenches, pliers, electrician's
tape, a length of insulated, 18-gauge wire and a voltmeter or
multimeter to check the batteries and solar chargers.
- Take a charged,
spare battery in case one in the feeder has died.
- Inspect the
ground under the feeder. If the feeder is functioning properly,
deer are visiting regularly and there will be fresh tracks and
- Make sure
the slinger is securely tightened on the motor shaft.
- Spin the
slinger by hand to make sure the motor moves smoothly and corn
- Check battery
connections. Make sure they are clean and erosion-free. Use a
silicon spray to prevent corrosion.
- Test battery
under load with a voltmeter. A sudden drop in voltage indicates
the battery needs charging or is bad. Charge battery, if it is
rechargeable, and test again before buying a new one.
- Trip the
timer to make sure the battery is spinning the motor properly.
Don't forget to protect your eyes from the flying corn.
- Check the
time on the clock, settings and duration of feeding.
- Test the
solar charger, if the feeder is so equipped. Disconnect the charger
from the battery and connect it to a voltmeter. It works if the
voltage is equal to or greater than it's rating.
- Inspect wires
for frayed insulation, especially if any are outside the timer/motor
box and may be damaged by animals.
- Check the
lid on the barrel to make sure the corn is staying dry.
If you have
a problem with your feeder or timer, call the manufacturer to seek
advice or see if the company can repair it. Note that these companies
will be swamped during hunting season.
To prepare your
feeders in time for the season - preferably late summer - do the
- While most
motors have sealed bearings, some have sleeve bearings and need
a drop or two of 3-in-1 Oil or any 20-weight, light motor oil.
- Open the
timer/motor box and inspect the seals on the door, if there are
any. Inspect for holes where bugs, dust or water may enter and
fill with silicon caulk.
- Brush out
the box thoroughly.
- Put a mechanical,
quartz clock in an airtight container to keep out bugs and dust;
poke a hole in the container for wires and then caulk the hole.
- Open the
casing on digital clocks and inspect the printed circuit board
for dust and bugs. Dust with a soft brush if needed. Do not use
- Put ant poison
in the timer/motor box.
- Just before
the season opens, recharge the battery if you do not have a solar
charger. If the battery is not rechargeable, replace it.