Feeding wild deer has become a very popular hobby and over the years my company has literally provided tens of thousands of these feeders. It is not uncommon for us to receive requests from woodworkers and others who wish to build their own feeders. Unlike most companies, we are glad to help anyone wishing to make their own homemade feeder since often times we receive replies from these same people with ideas for improvements, or more than likely new product ideas.
To build your own 36" trough style deer feeder in the Hurley-Byrd fashion you first need to gather some materials. You will need lumber of course and all Hurley-Byrd Deer Feeders are crafted from western red cedar. You are welcome to use pine but only expect it to last a few years. Purchase one 1x8 piece of lumber that is eight feet long and a 2x4 with a minimum length of three feet. Keep in mind each piece of lumber will need to be ripped to narrow widths. Some lumber yards will be glad to assist if you do not have the tools capable of performing this task. While at the lumber store, also purchase 14-#8x1 ½" wood screws. We use brass screws in our feeders but any good wood screw will be fine for a short term feeder. Also buy four ¼" x 20 x 3" carriage bolts, matching wing nuts and washers. These are used to attach the legs to the trough.
Once the lumber is home, it's time to build the vee shaped trough. Cut your 1x8 into 2-36" lengths. Leave one piece its full 7¼" width and rip the other to 6 ½". Take the remaining two feet of the 1x8 and rip it to 3 ¾" in width. This piece of lumber must be cut into two triangles with a miter saw. Since these four pieces of lumber get attached to one another at their edges, screw holes must be drilled first or the lumber will soon split. On the 1x7 1/4"x 36, drill two holes at each end 3/8" from the end and 1 1/2" from the sides. Along one long edge, drill six equally spaced holes 3/8" from the edge. On the 1x6 ½"x 36, drill two holes in each end 3/8" from the end and 1 ½" from the sides. Take the two triangles and drill two 5/8" diameter holes perpendicular to the short point that are located 1" and 2 ¼" from the long flat edge.
Now that the lumber has its screw holes in place, it is time for assembly. Lay the 1x6 ½" board on a flat work bench so that one edge is close to the bench's end. Stand the 1 x 7 ¼" on its edge next to the 1x6 ¼ so the screw holes are closest to the bench and aligned with the 1x6 1/4. Secure the larger piece of lumber to the smaller one using the wood screws making sure the ends of each board align with one another. Once all the screws are in place, turn the trough over and set it on one the triangles so that the triangle sets flush with the trough's end. It's a good practice to predrill the screw holes for the triangle using the holes you previously drilled in the long length lumber. This will keep your triangles from splitting or breaking prematurely. Attach each triangle to the trough. Drill out four 5/8" drain holes in the trough's vee bottom. Your trough is now complete and can be sanded if desired or left rough but we suggest a little sanding to remove any sharp edges.
Now it's time for the legs. Gather up your 2x4 and cut it to 36" in length and rip it into two equal halves. Using the triangles as your guide, drill two 5/8" holes in one end of the leg on its center line. Each hole will be 1" and 2 ¼" from the top of the leg respectively. Once you have done this, you can apply an exterior grade finish to the whole feeder or leave the lumber raw. We use a high grade penetrating oil finish to enhance the feeder's beauty and add longevity to the feeder. If you apply a finish, allow it to dry appropriately and you are now ready to set out the new feeder.
To set the feeder outside, you will need to attach the legs to the trough using the carriage bolts, washers and wing nuts. Once it is assembled, it is time to set it up. Find the location you desire for the feeder. See my eZineArticle "Deer Feeders and Feeding Tips - A Guide to a Safe and Enjoyable Home Hobby" for setting the feeder in a safe and proper location. For this type of feeder, you will need to dig two holes 12" deep and 36" apart. Once complete, stand the feeder in the holes and backfill the holes enough to hold the feeder. Stand back, look at the feeder and level it in all directions. Once level, completely backfill the holes and tamp down the fresh dirt. Fill your feeder and within a few days you will start enjoying the deer on a regular basis. Read my previously mentioned article regarding safe feeding locations and proper feeds for your deer. Enjoy and contact us with your success stories.
The author, The Hurley-Byrd Bird Feeder Co. and EzineArticles.com is not liable in any way for any person(s) who builds or uses this product. By building and using this item you are accepting all liabilities regarding your own personal safety in building said item and that of all other persons and property and are fully responsible in regards to all federal, state and or local laws regarding the use of this item in any way.
Peter Hurley has been an active nature lover, wildlife enthusiast his entire life and is the owner of The Hurley-Byrd Bird Feeder Co. His vast experience with wildlife has led him to produce some of the finest bird, deer and wildlife feeders in the world. Visit http://www.hurleybyrd.com/DeerFeederTips.html for more information regarding the white-tailed deer and the enjoyable way of feeding this beautiful animal. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to visit Hurley-Byrd's site and write Mr. Hurley directly.