8 Things You Can Use to Bait Deer

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Do You Bait Deer, Or Not?

Baiting is a controversial topic. Hunters either love it or despise it. Few are indifferent about it. Naturally, it’s the center of many debates across the hunting community.

In some states, baiting is legal. In others, it isn’t. Still, others allow it but implement strict guidelines on how it can and can’t be done. Some common restrictions regulate:

  • Animals that can or can’t be baited.
  • Amount of bait allowed out at once.
  • How close to the bait you can hunt.
  • Times you can and can’t bait deer.
  • Types of bait that are permitted.

For example, in my home state of Kentucky, there are no restrictions on feeding deer from June 1 to February 28. But it’s illegal to feed any wildlife from March 1 to May 31.

To my knowledge, in virtually every area with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), it’s illegal to feed or bait deer with anything. It’s also illegal in areas with known pockets of other deer-to-deer diseases. If you’re in such areas (or near them), don’t feed deer — even if it’s still legal. The risk of spreading disease is too great.

Personally, I rarely if ever bait deer. Not that I’m against it, I just rarely do it. That said, where legal, I certainly have baited deer in the past. I’ve even killed a handful of deer near it. But there are many instances when I chose not to — even when I legally could.

In short, it’s your responsibility to know the legalities, and possible implications (health-wise), of feeding deer in concentrated areas. Be smart about it. Do your research. Understand when you should or shouldn’t bait deer. But when you do, here are 10 things that work pretty well.

Shelled Corn

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1 | Shelled Corn

The crowned king of bait. No type of bait is used more often than that of shelled corn. It’s extremely common and fills the bellies of more whitetails around the country than likely all other baits combined. I obviously don’t have research on that. But, if I was a betting man, I’d lay down some money on that wager.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Isabel

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Ear Corn

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2 | Ear Corn

This one ranks high among many deer hunters. Truck bed loads are purchased every fall to feed the deer hunters are gunning for. Road signs dot the highways across the nation advertising ear corn. It’s a method of baiting that certainly rakes in its fair share of the baiting coin.

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Acorns

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3 | Acorns

The natural bait. This one takes a little more effort. But technically, time spent excluded, it’s free bait. Simply go out with a big bucket, put on some gloves, and start picking up acorns. Fill the bucket. Dump the bucket out where you want the bait. And voila.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Wayne

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Vegetables

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4 | Vegetables

Deer love the garden patch. Carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, etc. The whole gamut. Deer eat them all. Just think of all the garden growers who gripe about deer each year. If you have access to garden produce no one wants, use it for bait. It’s that easy.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Doug McLean

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Apples

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5 | Apples

Deer love apples. Deer will travel long distances to get to an apple tree. I know this because I’ve hunted around them. Have access to an old orchard? Get a few buckets or baskets and get to pickin’.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Pawle

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Peanut Butter

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6 | Peanut Butter

Everybody and their brother has screwed a peanut butter jar top to a tree, cut the bottom out of the jar, and screwed it back on the lid. Deer eat it up. Where baiting is legal, peanut butter is a prime method for attracting deer.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Siber

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Salt and Mineral Salt

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7 | Salt and Mineral Salt

Salt is a great year-round (again, where legal) attractant. Deer need salt. Putting it out in historical salt site locations is a steady way to keep deer coming to a given locations. When putting it out, use either blocks or loose salt. Deer flock to mineral salt mixes, too. Personally, I make my own. It includes trace mineral, di-calcium phosphate, and dry molasses. Come up with your own mix, use this one, or buy something at the local store. But if you want to attract deer and help the herd at the same time, use mineral mixes to accomplish that.

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Healthy Mineral and Attractant Options

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8 | Healthy Mineral and Attractant Options

Don’t overlook store-bought attractants. You can find quality feed and mineral in your local hunting store outlet. Big&J, among others, have great nutritional options available for attracting deer. Big&J currently offers several healthy products, including: BB2, Legit, Headrush, cubes and much more.

Photo Credit: Josh Honeycutt

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