14 of the Best Deer Baits (#5 Will Surprise You!)

It can be a bit confusing to determine the best deer bait to use while you’re out hunting. If you’re in an area where it’s legal to bait deer, however, it can be one of the best ways to ensure that you come home with a used tag and some fresh venison.

Related: How Much Meat From a Deer-Quick and Easy Way to Estimate Venison Yields

There’s a wide range of different things that hunters use, and if you’re new to hunting it can all be a bit confusing. I’m here to show you how to reduce that confusion and get you started on ensuring you make a clean harvest with minimal fuss.

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14 of the Best Deer Baits

1.) Apples

Apples are a great way to get your whitetails near your stand, and they’re particularly favored by bow hunters in most regions since rifle season usually starts after most of the apples are gone.

Related: How to Get Deer to Come to You in 6 Easy Steps

In many places, particularly the Northeast US they’re a treat that offers your prey something out of the ordinary. The novelty of the apple as well as them being a sweet fruit makes them rather alluring for the animal.

If you have access to private property to hunt on, some hunters with an eye on the long term even make small apple orchards as “food plots” designed to attract the deer to the area each year.

Related: How To Attract Deer Fast- 6 Steps That Will Have You Attracting Whitetail Like A Pro

This can help to keep the deer around and get them used to an annual schedule which will allow you to easily find them when that time of year rolls around.

Pretty much any kind of apples will work, even crab apples. You can either set down a pail some distance from your stand or plant some of the trees on your own land which might require some knowledge about growing the trees. Either way, apples are a great way to get the deer coming to you.

2.) Corn

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Corn has long been a favored bait for deer, and it’s primarily used in dedicated feeders as scattering it on the ground can be both expensive and ineffective. You want to habituate the animals to coming to your feeder in the off-season if it’s on your property and then you can move in and make your harvest.

Feeders can be expensive, and many hunters have taken to using a home-made solution in order to avoid the extra expense. Commercial feeders can do a lot of tricky things, but all you really need in most situations is a gravity-fed system which will keep them coming back.

Remember that when people talk about using a bait pile, they’re not actually talking about a pile but instead about spreading the food over a fairly wide area. You’ll have a lot more success with this method, especially with corn.

Now, one thing about corn is that it can be considered bad for the deer. If you’re using it in the late season after they’ve primarily been eating woody roughage the microorganisms in their stomach can’t keep up and it can cause a number of fatal conditions.

Aflatoxins are also a concern, while not generally fatal to deer they can kill game birds and other animals so be sure to pick up your pile when you leave the area.

Read More: Best Rubber Hunting Boots

3.) Chestnuts

Chestnuts were a common plant in the American East until they were killed off by a disease known as Chestnut blight. Some hunters claim that deer in these regions are still genetically programmed to eat chestnuts over everything else, and a lot of hunters have reported a great amount of success with using them.

Chestnuts can be a bit expensive, but they last for a long time and if you use them with a feeder you may only need to refill it once or twice through the whole season.

You might even want to consider growing them yourself, hybrid species which are resistant to blight are available and they make good eating for humans too if you end up with an excess of them.

There are some rumblings that deer may not be used to them anymore from some people, and deer in the West were never used to them anyways so they’re primarily a regional bait for the East. Give them a shot, though, some hunters swear by them.

Related: What Do Deer Eat In The Winter? – The Best Facts

4.) Acorns

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Acorns are frequently used by hunters to make bait piles. These hardy little nuts are available almost everywhere, and deer will readily accept them as food. The best acorns to use are definitely ones that aren’t on the land you’re using to hunt since it will add variety to the deer’s diet.

You can collect them quite easily and if you pay attention to the trees in your area you’ll be able to figure out which ones are new. Typically deer will prefer those lower in tannic acid, but if the area you’re hunting in is already flush with white oaks you may be able to get some takers with something a little bit more bitter.

When there’s a great season for acorns, you may want to take note of where the best feeding locations are for deer because they’ll likely ignore your bait pile in favor of the wild acorns dropping. It’s not quite baiting, but if you know where your prey is eating you’ll be able to locate them more easily.

Acorns are the preferred bait of a lot of hunters and a much safer alternative to corn as well. They can be stored for long periods, and those who choose to use them often find quite a bit of success with the humble oak seed.

5.) Salt

While not exactly food, salt is hard to come by for deer in the wild. Some folks choose to scatter it on the ground, while others will use commercially available “licks” designed for livestock and horses in order to get the deer to come around.

There’re a couple of bonuses to using salt over more traditional baits as well. The first is that the mineral content will help to keep the deer in your hunting area healthy, which is good for you. Healthy deer and bigger and taste better.

The more obscure advantage is the fact that in some states where baiting isn’t legal, the use of minerals to attract deer isn’t actually considered baiting. As always, you’ll want to make sure that you check the laws in your area, though, as some sites forbid using minerals to attract deer entirely.

The last fringe benefit of using salt or other minerals is that it can help to attract a higher deer population to your own private property during the warmer months and with a few strategically placed licks you’ll be able to know where the deer like to hang out on your property.

It’s not traditional bait, but it can make a huge difference in your hunting experience.

6.) Sugar Beets

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A lot of hunters swear by sweeter fruits and vegetables, and sugar beets come highly recommended as a great bait to get the whitetails where you can hit them from the stand. A lot of animals will actively seek out fruit with a high sugar content, and deer are no exception.

You can use these pretty much the same way as you’d use apples. Either spread them out or set up a bucket where they can get at them and let the waiting game begin. You’re sure to be able to nab a big buck over your pile with a little bit of patience.

They also make a great crop to use for food plots in places where a pile isn’t legal. They’re especially useful when they’re not native to the area since the deer will be intrigued by the novelty of the delicious vegetable. If the deer don’t eat them… well, they go great in a lot of recipes.

Give them a shot, they’re sure to attract your prey.

7.) Home Made Mixes

If all else fails, there’s plenty of recipes readily available online that can help you find the perfect mix of ingredients in order to attract your deer. These recipes can vary widely from region to region, and hunter to hunter and require a lot more preparation than most of the baits we’ve detailed so far.

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That said, humanity’s engineering minds can often make up for deficiencies in nature with creative tactics. If you’re the DIY type and want to make sure that you’re super-efficient in your baiting tactics then mixing up your own attractants is definitely the way to go.

Give it a shot, you’re bound to be able to come up with something that works amazingly well and increases your potential for harvesting a prize-winning buck this season.

8.Cranberries

One of the most overlooked foods that deer love are cranberries. Most people think of deer as eating mainly grass, but cranberries are actually a very important part of their diet. Cranberries are high in nutrients and can help keep the deer population healthy.

Cranberries are also a great bait to use when hunting because they are so easy to store and transport. You can simply put them in a bag and take them with you into the woods. When you're ready to bait your area, just scatter them around and wait for the deer to come to you.

9.Pumpkins

Another food that deer love is pumpkins. Pumpkins are a great bait to use because they are easy to find and inexpensive. You can either use the whole pumpkin or just the guts. If you're using the whole pumpkin, just cut a hole in the top and scoop out the seeds. If you're using the guts, just remove them from the pumpkin and put them in a bag.

When you're ready to bait your area, just spread the guts or seeds around and wait for the deer to come to you.

10.Molasses

Molasses is another great bait to use when hunting deer. It is a great attractant because it is very sweet and has a strong scent. Deer love the taste of molasses and will be drawn to it from far away.

Molasses is also very easy to use as a bait. You can simply pour it on the ground or on a log and the deer will find it. You can also add molasses to other baits to make them more attractive to deer.

11.Buckwheat

Buckwheat is another great food that deer love. Buckwheat is high in protein and is a great source of nutrition for deer. Buckwheat is also very easy to grow, so you can grow your own supply and use it as bait.

When you're ready to bait your area, just scatter the buckwheat around and wait for the deer to come to you. Buckwheat is also a great food to use in food plots.

12.Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is another great bait to use when hunting deer. It is a great attractant because it is very sweet and has a strong scent. Deer love the taste of peanut butter and will be drawn to it from far away.

Peanut butter is also very easy to use as a bait. You can simply pour it on the ground or on a log and the deer will find it. You can also add peanut butter to other baits to make them more attractive to deer.

13.Chestnuts

Chestnuts are another great food that deer love. They are a great source of nutrition for deer and are also very easy to find. Chestnuts are also very easy to use as a bait. You can simply put them on the ground or in a bag and the deer will find them.

14.Mint

Mint is another great food that deer love. It is a great attractant because it has a strong scent. Deer love the smell of mint and will be drawn to it from far away.

Mint is also very easy to use as a bait. You can simply put it on the ground or in a bag and the deer will find it. You can also add mint to other baits to make them more attractive to deer.

Deer Bait Station Types

1. The Gravity Feeder

The gravity feeder is the most common type of deer bait station. It consists of a hopper that is filled with deer bait, and a feeding tray that the deer can access. When the deer eat from the feeding tray, they will push down on the lever, which will cause more bait to fall into the hopper. This will allow the deer to continue to eat without having to walk back to the hopper.

2. The Automatic Feeder

The automatic feeder is a type of deer bait station that automatically dispenses deer bait. It consists of a feed container that is filled with deer bait, and a motor that rotates the feed container so that the deer can access the bait. The automatic feeder will dispense a small amount of bait each time it is activated, which will allow the deer to eat without having to walk back to the feeder.

3. The Tripod Feeder

The tripod feeder is a type of deer bait station that can be hung from a tree or other structure. It consists of a hopper that is filled with deer bait, and a feeding tray that the deer can access. The tripod feeder is designed so that when the deer eat from the feeding tray, the weight of the deer will cause the feeder to rotate, which will bring more bait into the feeding tray.

4. The Barrel Feeder

The barrel feeder is a type of deer bait station that can be used to feed multiple deer at the same time. It consists of a barrel that is filled with deer bait, and a feeding tray that the deer can access. The barrel feeder is designed so that when the deer eat from the feeding tray, the weight of the deer will cause the barrel to rotate, which will bring more bait into the feeding tray.

5. The Spinner Feeder

The spinner feeder is a type of deer bait station that can be used to feed multiple deer at the same time. It consists of a spinning plate that is filled with deer bait, and a feeding tray that the deer can access. The spinner feeder is designed so that when the deer eat from the feeding tray, the weight of the deer will cause the plate to spin, which will bring more bait into the feeding tray.

When choosing a deer bait station, it is important to choose one that will meet your needs. By choosing a gravity feeder or an automatic feeder, you can ensure that the deer will have access to deer bait at all times. If you are hunting with multiple people, then you may want to consider a barrel feeder or a spinner feeder, which will allow multiple deer to eat at the same time.

How to Use Deer Baits

Now that you know about some of the best deer baits to use, it's time to learn how to use them. When using deer bait, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

1. Choose the Right Bait

The first thing you need to do is choose the right bait for your area. You want to choose a bait that is easy to find and inexpensive. You also want to choose a bait that is high in protein.

2. Place the Bait in the Right Place

You also need to place the bait in the right place. You want to place the bait in an area where deer are likely to visit. You can either place it in a pile or scatter it around.

3. Check the Bait Regularly

You also need to check the bait regularly. You want to make sure that the bait is fresh and that deer are still visiting the area. If you notice that the bait is getting old or that deer are no longer visiting the area, you may need to replace it.

4. Be Patient

Finally, you need to be patient. It may take some time for deer to find the bait. Once they do, they will keep coming back for more. Just be patient and wait for them to come to you.

5. Enjoy Your Hunt

Once you have baited your area, it's time to enjoy your hunt. Remember to follow all hunting regulations and always practice safe hunting. Good luck and happy hunting!

The Best Locations for Deer Bait and Feed Sites

Deer bait and feed sites should be located in areas where deer are likely to congregate. Some good locations include:

1. Near a water source – Deer love to drink, and they will often congregate near water sources. This is a great place to set up your deer bait and feed site.

2. In an open field – Deer like to browse in open fields, so this is another great location for your bait and feed site.

3. Near a forest edge – Deer love to eat young trees and shrubs, so setting up your bait and feed site near the forest edge is a good idea.

4. In a sheltered area – Deer like to take shelter from the wind, so setting up your bait and feed site in a sheltered area is a good idea.

5. On a hilltop – Deer like to browse on hilltops, so this is another good location for your bait and feed site.

6. Near a road – Deer will often travel along roads, so setting up your bait and feed site near a road can be effective.

7. In an agricultural area – Deer love to eat crops, so setting up your bait and feed site in an agricultural area can be successful.

When choosing a location for your deer bait and feed site, it is important to consider the deer’s natural habits and preferences. By understanding where deer like to spend their time, you can choose a location that will be more likely to attract them.

Hunting Setups Over Bait

1. The Blind Overlook

One hunting setup you can use over bait is the blind overlook. To do this, you will need to find a high spot overlooking the bait site. You can then set up a blind on this high spot and wait for deer to come to the bait.

2. The Stalk

Another hunting setup you can use over bait is the stalk. To do this, you will need to find a location downwind of the bait site. You can then wait for deer to come to the bait and stalk them from this downwind location.

3. The Drive

Another hunting setup you can use over bait is the drive. To do this, you will need to have two or more hunters. One hunter will set up downwind of the bait site and the other(s) will set up upwind of the bait site. When a deer comes to the bait, the hunter downwind will drive the deer towards the hunter(s) upwind.

4. The Snipe

Another hunting setup you can use over bait is the snipe. To do this, you will need to find a location where you can see the bait site but the deer cannot see you. You can then wait for deer to come to the bait and shoot them from this hidden location.

5. The Ambush

Another hunting setup you can use over bait is the ambush. To do this, you will need to find a location near the bait site where you can conceal yourself. You can then wait for deer to come to the bait and shoot them from this concealed location.

When hunting over bait, it is important to use a setup that will allow you to ambush the deer. By using a concealed location near the bait site, you will increase your chances of getting a successful shot.

When to bait deer

1. Early Fall

The best time to bait deer is early fall, when the deer are starting to transition from summer to winter. At this time, the deer will be looking for food to help them prepare for the winter months. By using a deer bait station, you can provide the deer with an easy source of food that will help them to survive the winter.

2. Late Fall

The best time to bait deer is late fall, when the deer are in the process of preparing for winter. At this time, the deer will be looking for food to help them build up their energy reserves for the winter months. By using a deer bait station, you can provide the deer with an easy source of food that will help them to survive the winter.

3. Winter

The best time to bait deer is during the winter, when the deer are struggling to find food. At this time, the deer will be looking for any source of food that they can find. By using a deer bait station, you can provide the deer with an easy source of food that will help them to survive the winter.

4. Spring

The best time to bait deer is during the spring, when the deer are starting to transition from winter to summer. At this time, the deer will be looking for food to help them rebuild their energy reserves for the summer months. By using a deer bait station, you can provide the deer with an easy source of food that will help them to survive the summer.

Conclusion

As you can see, the best deer baits are a diverse lot and you’ll probably want to engage in some experimentation to determine what works best for the deer in the area you’re hunting in.

Make sure you check regulations in your state and know that baiting is illegal on any federally managed land in the US because the fines can be hefty.

Far from cheating, however, the use of baits is simply another strategic element in the harvest of venison, and you’ll find it can change your trips significantly.

Like our article? Have your own tips and tricks for the perfect bait? Let us know in the comments!

FAQ About Best Deer Baits

1. What attracts deer the most?

The scent of other deer

Deer have a keen sense of smell and will follow the scent trail that they associate with food. If there is enough moisture in the air, their nose can even pick up flowers and vegetation from miles away. As long as humans don't put out bait specifically for them - they're most attracted to deer pee!

2. What is irresistible to deer?

Well, we can't precisely be saying.

But we do know that the frequency of scents and other stimuli (rubberized bands and other noisemakers) is generally used to direct deer away from desired areas.

One other idea: it's been speculated that deer may not respond well to many of the common repellants because they don't have a strong sense of smell for skunk or fox urine. Deer might be able to detect such smells as threats, but not as deterrents if they don't carry much meaning for them. However, there's no hard data so this is just speculation until the next study shows up!

3. What is the best homemade deer attractant?

It all really depends on what you like and how you feel it tastes.

Some people feel strongly about Skittles; chocolate; apples; barbecued ribs; vanilla extract, etc., but it's hard to say definitively, and no science has been done on this topic.

Personally speaking though, I like the taste of dried meat (though I admit that it smells bad), and am fond of earthworms soaked in apple juice or cherry syrup mixed with a little bit of water.

Stir for a couple hours, add sugar if needed to get sweetener levels correct, freeze until solid so nobody can see them when they're put out on bait piles.

4. What is the best time to bait deer?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including what type of bait you are using, and what your goals for baiting deer are.

In general, the best time to bait deer is in the late summer or early fall, when the deer are starting to prepare for winter. At this time, the deer will be looking for food to help them build up their energy reserves for the winter months. By using a deer bait station, you can provide the deer with an easy source of food that will help them to survive the winter.

5. Where can I buy deer bait?

You can purchase deer bait at most hunting supply stores, or online from a variety of retailers. You can also make your own deer bait using ingredients that are attractive to deer, such as corn, apples, or other fruits and vegetables.

6. How do I make deer bait?

To make your own deer bait, you will need:

- 1 part molasses

- 1 part cornmeal

- 1 part flour

- 1/2 part salt

-Water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, adding water until the mixture is the consistency of dough. Form into balls or patties, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the baits are hard and dry. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

9. What is the best way to store deer baits?

Deer baits should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. Bait stations should be placed in areas where they will not be accessible to other animals, such as bears or raccoons. Deer baits will keep for up to 6 months if stored properly.

10. Can I use deer bait to hunt deer?

Yes, you can use deer bait to hunt deer. By placing deer bait in a designated hunting area, you can attract deer to within range of your rifle or bow. Be sure to follow all hunting regulations in your area, and only hunt during the appropriate season.

11. What are the consequences of using too much deer bait?

If you use too much deer bait in an attempt to increase your chances of success while hunting, you may end up attracting more deer than you can safely hunt. This can lead to overcrowding and competition for food, which can ultimately damage the deer population. It is important to use deer bait responsibly, and only in areas where it is legal to do so.

12. What are the consequences of using fake deer bait?

If you use fake deer bait in an attempt to attract deer for hunting, you may end up causing more harm than good. Fake deer bait can be mistaken for real deer bait by deer, which can cause them to become attracted to populated areas where they may come into contact with humans and domestic animals. It is important to use fake deer bait responsibly, and only in areas where it is legal to do so.

13. What are the consequences of using deer bait without a license?

If you use deer bait without a hunting license, you may be subject to legal penalties. In some states, it is illegal to use deer bait for hunting without a valid hunting license. Be sure to check the laws in your state before using deer bait for hunting.

14. What are the consequences of using deer bait in a baited area?

If you use deer bait in a baited area, you may be subject to legal penalties. In some states, it is illegal to place deer bait within a certain distance of a road or trail. Be sure to check the laws in your state before using deer bait in a baited area.

15. Can I use deer bait on public land?

Yes, you can use deer bait on public land if it is legal to do so in your state. Be sure to check the laws in your state before using deer bait on public land. You may also need to obtain a permit from the land manager.

16. Can I use deer bait on private land?

Yes, you can use deer bait on private land if it is legal to do so in your state. Be sure to check the laws in your state before using deer bait on private land. You may also need to obtain permission from the landowner.

17. What are the consequences of using expired deer bait?

If you use expired deer bait, may be subject to legal penalties. In some states, it is illegal to use deer bait that has expired or is no longer fresh. Be sure to check the laws in your state before using expired deer bait.

18. What are the consequences of using a banned deer bait?

If you use a banned deer bait, you may be subject to legal penalties. Some states have outlawed the use of certain types of deer bait, while others have placed restrictions on the amount or type of bait that can be used. Be sure to check the laws in your state before using a banned deer bait.

19. What bait attracts deer the most?

There is no single bait that will attract deer more than any other, as each deer has its own individual preferences. In general, however, sweet baits such as apples, carrots, or molasses are often effective in attracting deer. You may also want to try using a pheromone-based deer attractant, which can be placed on vegetation or trees in order to attract deer to the area.

20. What is the number 1 deer attractant?

There is no single deer attractant that is guaranteed to be effective in attracting deer. However, some common attractants include sweet baits such as apples, carrots, or molasses; pheromone-based deer attractants; and commercial deer feed. You may need to experiment with different types of attractants in order to find one that is effective in your area.

21. What should I use to bait deer?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as each deer has its own individual preferences. However, in general, sweet baits such as apples, carrots, or molasses are often effective in attracting deer. You may also want to try using a pheromone-based deer attractant, which can be placed on vegetation or trees in order to attract deer to the area.

22. How do you attract deer quickly?

There is no single answer to this question, as each deer has its own individual preferences. However, in general, sweet baits such as apples, carrots, or molasses are often effective in attracting deer. You may also want to try using a pheromone-based deer attractant, which can be placed on vegetation or trees in order to attract deer to the area. Additionally, you can increase the chances of attracting deer by keeping your bait site clean and well stocked with food.

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