How to Bait the Trap and Keep Deer Away
- Keeping deer off hog bait is a challenge, so we tested several repellent options.
- Top Two? Sour corn (maybe with sour rice bran) is effective but it stinks. Liquid Fence™ is effective but costly.
- Twilight is likely the best time for laying out bait, but check your cameras for pig activity to be sure. The less time the bait is out, the better.
We all love deer, right? Sure, as long as they’re in the right place. Many Pig Brig Trap Systems customers remove pigs to improve deer hunting, but it’s frustrating when the deer steal your pig bait and compromise your trap.
So how can we keep deer off our bait while attracting pigs? We experimented with several options: dried blood meal, dried bone meal, dried rice, dog food, fermented blood meal, fermented bone meal, fermented rice bran, putrefied egg solids (Liquid Fence™), sardines mixed with corn, and soured corn (fermented).
Here’s what we found, in order of effectiveness.
Level One: Sour Corn
The standard recommendation has been that fermenting/souring corn will deter deer and keep the pigs coming. (Careful now; we don’t want the revenuers snooping around; we’re not looking for West Virginia Spring Water here.) Souring corn is attractive to pigs but a mild deterrent to deer. If natural food resources are high and deer densities are low, souring corn may be all you need to keep deer from stealing your bait. But this approach takes time, storage is a headache, and you don’t want to spill it when you move it. Y’all better have a tight lid on that vat. The good news? It’s cheap.
Level Two: Sour Corn with Sour Rice
To step up your game, add rice bran to the brew. We recommend adding 1 pound of rice bran to a 5-gallon bucket of corn. If not fermented well, rice bran can attract deer, but fermented properly, it does an excellent job of keeping deer back and pigs coming. It has the same downsides as soured corn — but it’s even more pungent. It stinks! If it smells only mildly unpleasant, it’s not ready, but don’t go overboard. When it’s 100% rotten it’ll repel deer and pigs. Usually, three to four days in the Texas heat gets it just about right. This mix is much more effective than soured corn alone. It works well at moderate deer densities and when natural food resources are less widely available.
In our trials, pigs fed 26 out of 39 opportunities while deer only fed 8 out of 39.
Level Three: Liquid Fence™
The most effective and most convenient deterrent in our trial was a topical application of Liquid Fence™ to the bait. This product was designed to deter deer and rabbits. We mixed the concentrated version at 2X (20%) the label rate and applied it with a hand-pump sprayer over the dry corn, wetting it down. Cost is the challenge here — a gallon of concentrate costs ~$100, so it’s not small potatoes. The upside is that it goes a long way. In our trials, pigs fed 26 out of 30 opportunities while deer only fed 4 out of 30.
Other Options, Pros & Cons
The other deterrents we tried all had drawbacks.
- Sardines mixed with the bait kept deer away, but the smell lingers and raccoons love them.
- Dried blood meal dusted on wetted corn deterred deer and raccoons well, while pig visitation and consumption stayed high. But if pigs don’t appear and the blood meal stays wet too long (in humid conditions), it smells like decay and becomes a pig deterrent.
- Dry dog food worked moderately well for pigs (10 out of 20 feeding opportunities) but it broke down fast in the environment. It was also expensive and attracted raccoons.
- Dry rice actually attracted deer and was only moderately appealing to pigs. Skip this approach.
- Fermented blood meal and bone meal kept everything away, whether fermented or dry. Oops. We saw significantly reduced deer, pig, and raccoon activity with the use of both products.
- Electric fencing may be useful. During a cattle exclusion trial, we saw anecdotal evidence that it helped deter deer, but this may not work for all properties.
We suggest you use an integrated approach.
- Put bait out close to dark. Pigs usually come to the bait after dark, so deer are less likely to get a crack at it. Deer don’t like to feed around pigs, which are more aggressive. Your mileage may vary, so check the cameras (if you have them) to see when the pigs come around.
- If deer densities are low to moderate, see if soured corn with or without soured rice bran reduces activity. This saves a few bucks and is easy to do if you're careful.
- If fermented corn does not work, try concentrated Liquid Fence™treatment at 2X the label rate. This is very effective, but cost is a factor.
Good luck — and happy trapping!