Hello, my mighty hunting brethren! The time is almost upon us as deer season is right around the corner. Many of you have been working hard, setting up food plots, and eyeing deer feeders on your favorite outdoor website. The more affordable ones only hold 6 gallons of feed, which doesn’t work for those of us who don’t live nearby our hunting lands. However, if you already own one of these, upgrading to a 55-gallon feeder is easier than you might think. You’ll need to source a few materials, but once you’ve gathered everything you need, you’ll have a setup you can walk away from for months that will last years.
To upgrade, you’ll need an automatic or manual disperser, a 55-gallon metal drum that wasn’t used for hazardous materials, three metal legs at the appropriate height, a funnel extension, and a band with tripod slots for the drum. You’ll also want spray paint to camouflage the finished feeder. Many of these can be found in the sell pages on social media. For the drum, choose one that has a lockable lid and is watertight.
Mount the band around the drum, careful to tighten it just enough, but not so much that you buckle the drum itself. Once that’s done, slide the metal legs onto the tripod slots. Set it outside or in a well-ventilated area and camouflage it from top to bottom, paying careful attention to the pattern. Deer spook easily, so be sure no spot is left uncovered. Let it dry for a day or two, and then remove the legs and lay the drum on its side.
Modify the funnel to fit the drum by adding sheet metal around it or buy a funnel large enough. Next, disassemble the smaller feeder, making sure to count all washers, nuts, and bolts. With a sharpie, align the bracket of the disperser in the middle of the bottom and mark the holes for the bolts and the funnel. Carefully drill into the bottom of the drum and mount the bracket. Believe it or not, you’re almost done. Now place the funnel inside the drum, and take your new deer feeder out for a test run. If it’s automatic, double-check that the battery is still in the proper condition, or the solar panel has access to the sun and set the feeder up near your game cam. Depending on how tall it is, you might need a ladder to fill it up, so be sure to take one with you.
Once it’s set up, leave the area alone for a few days before your return to ensure it’s properly working. If you see feed scattered on the ground, you’re good to go! Check your game cam to see if you’ve drawn any deer into the area and if not, consider setting it up elsewhere or mixing buck protein with the usual corn feed for optimal interest. Depending on the timer, 55 gallons of feed should last at least a few months.