I have had deer come within 15 feet of me after setting out some corn in a good spot than sitting still and waiting several hours. Whether for hunting or wildlife viewing, it’s fun to get deer to come close up.
Deer love corn. Corn has a mildly sweet flavor and more energy than any wild food options. It’s something that deer crave. Its smell and bright color can bring a whole herd of deer to one spot. Deer often work to find corn and will alter their routine around a source of corn.
If you want to bring deer in with corn, there are some tricks to it. Do it wrong and you will waste the corn, or even harm the deer. Do it right, and you will be seeing lots of deer at your feeding spot.
Does Corn Attract Deer?
Corn tends to attract deer within the nearby area. Deer comb their area searching for food and will likely find any corn you put out if it’s near their territory. If corn is put out regularly, deer will consider it a feeding area and will come by often.
Corn is the most common feed option used for wild deer. That’s not to say it’s the best or healthiest, just the most common. Corn certainly will attract deer, usually does, into an area. Does are far less shy than bucks, so it’s likely that’s all you will see.
Bucks are often nocturnal, just because they know there is less human presence then. If a corn pile smells like people, bucks may not come by at all. They are that shy. But, sometimes, you may see a buck for no other reason than does are there and he’s feeling happy.
You don’t need to put out a ton of corn or make a huge pile to get the attention of deer. Corn usually comes in big bags, but I usually only put out a gallon or two at a time. Plus, it can get heavy to carry and there’s usually no need for more.
If you just dump corn out in a random spot in the woods, you may attract deer, you may not. Deer still have to find it before it spoils and molds. There has to be deer somewhere neer already. Generally, If there are deer tracks within 50 or 100 feet, deer probably will eventually come to the corn.
Sometimes deer will notice other animals like squirrels and birds eating corn and find it that way. They are curious critters and will investigate any area where other animals are feeding heavily.
How Far Will Deer Come for Corn?
Deer won’t travel a mile out of their way for a small bit of corn. If it’s not close enough for them to find it, it will just be eaten by other critters. In my experience, you need the corn to be within 100 feet of where deer already frequent. Deer are browsers and tend to wander here and there looking for food. They will eventually find the corn.
If you put corn too close to a home or occupied structure, deer probably won’t come around because they are pretty shy of human interaction. You don’t even want to put it in a spot where you walk too much. Deer tend to be highly wary of human scent. If your corn pile smells strongly of humans, shy deer will not come near it.
That’s why you don’t put out corn every day. You will be leaving too much scent behind and deer are uber scent wary. I suggest a maximum of once a week to set out the corn. When you do go to put out corn, try not to spread your scent too much. Don’t touch things. Don’t wander around. Just walk straight out, spread the corn, and walk back.
I prefer to spread the corn in a 10-foot area rather than dumping it in a single pile. That way, it fits more deer at once and it limits the speed at which a deer can eat the corn. You want them to eat it a bit slowly. Too fast can actually hurt them.
Too Much Starch Can Hurt Deer
Too Much corn is bad for deer. Corn is mostly starch and starch can upset a deer’s digestion, especially if they’re not used to it. A deer’s gut ferments its food. Corn causes a lot of gasses and increased microbial growth during fermentation. Corn should be a small part of a deer’s natural diet.
If you offer a deer unlimited corn, it will eat nothing else. That will cause the deer to be malnutrition, leading to various diseases. Corn is a valuable source of calories but needs to be a small part of the dee’s diet. Consider it as a snack.
You can attract deer with a relatively small amount of corn. That’s why I recommend one or two gallons of shelled corn, about 7-14 pounds, once a week. It’s enough to fill up a deer’s belly, but little enough that a deer has to get plenty of brouse like grasses and leaves. They need a lot of fiber and corn doesn’t fit the bill.
How to Safely Feed Corn to Wild Deer
By offering a small amount of corn spread out on the ground, you can encourage a healthy diet and a low disease rate among deer. Feeding too much corn can cause gastric blockage and malnutrition, and a concentrated pile encourages the spreading of diseases because they all have their mouth in the same pile.
Where to Buy Corn for Deer
Feed corn can be bought at farm stores, rural convenience stores, and directly from a local farm. Walmart sells bags of corn during the fall and winter hunting seasons. You can also buy corn from a local grain mill or grain elevator, sometimes called a feed store.
What Types of Corn Should I Get for Deer?
Shelled corn is the best value grain for feeding deer. You can use cracked corn, but it will be eaten more by birds. Ear corn can be used, but it’s significantly more expensive and offers no advantages. Deer can eat any type of corn without a problem, just don’t let them eat a lot of it every day.
If you want to know more, I wrote several articles on feeding and baiting deer. Here are a few: Best Deer Attractants to Mix With Corn, and Awesome Feeding and Baiting Tips