Every year I see pictures of downed deer feeders with their contents spilled out on the ground like a giant steel pinata. Most likely culprits are hogs and cattle. On our ranch in the Texas Hill Country we employ multiple wildlife corn and protein feeders inside of a pen that have helped tremendously at keeping wild hogs from destroying feeders and has actually cut the hog traffic on the ranch to almost none.
What you will need.
6 Feed lot panels. 60″ tall and 16′ in length. If you can round up used panels even better as these will need to be cut. If you have old roll wire lying around that will work as well. 48″ tall panels can be purchased as well and this will save you from having to cut the panels down
24 T posts.
The ever popular T-post driver.
Bailing wire…the fix it all.
When you decided on your feeder location stick a t post in the center temporarily, then with the help of a friend measure out approximately 15 from the t-post outwards, you are shooting for a 30′ diameter enclosure. Most feeders will cast around a 24′ spread of corn. Mark the spot and continue to measure out several more spots from center to outer edge. When you have a general area laid out begin by driving a few t posts along the perimeter every 10′-12′ feet. Once your a circle beings to take shape start placing the panels, smaller holes on bottom, on the outside of the T-posts and secure with bailing wire making sure your panels over lap at least one section of the squares. We want to keep animals out so it is important the t-posts are inside the panels. Now your circle may vary in size but 24′-30′ is about what you’re shooting for. You may find that your panels do not reach each other when your circle is complete and that is ok. This is where you’ll want to install your access gate. This can be anything from a smaller section of panel to an old chain link fence gate. If you find your panels over lap a bit at the end over your circle that is ok as this may be used for a gate. Now place the rest of your tposts inside the panels, you want to have about 3 tposts per panel. Now go to town with your bailing wire. Set your feeder up. Stake the legs down with T-posts! This will protect it in case the swine manage to get under the panel as they have been known to pull up the panels if they can get their snouts under it.
Now deer are excellent jumpers but we still like to cut the top section down with bolt cutters to about 48″-50″. Make sure you cut down to the next section as you don’t want any steel protrusions sticking up that may injure wildlife. This is where using old field panels is great, not many folks like cutting brand new ones down if they plan on reusing them after deer season. Some people will actually cut smaller holes in the panel close to the ground for fawns to get into the pens, but remember if a fawn can get in so can smaller hogs. We have been running these pens for years and have yet to have a feral hog get into one. There is always a possibility as hogs are jumpers as well! You can use roll wire as well as this is a fairly inexpensive set up. Always reuse old material lying around as it will save you money that you can be using to fill the feeders with. Hope this helps, good luck Bone Hunters!