Before you decide to bait
First and foremost, always check your state hunting regulations to see if baiting is legal in your area. Then check your hunting area for any natural food sources. If there is a natural food source, such apples or acorns, baiting may not be an option. The same holds true for agricultural areas.
What to use for bait
The most common bait for deer is corn. Carrots, beets, apples, pears, peanut butter, molasses, and marshmallows all have been used to bait deer. Other fruits and vegetables can be used as bait, it depends on what the deer like and if they eat it.
How much bait to use
Use 1 or 2 gallons at a time, any more than that is a waste. You want to attract deer and get them to come in when you want them to. A doe with fawns may eat your bait before something worthwhile may come to your location. If nothing else use that doe and fawns as live bait. They will let you know if something is coming or not. Most times the deer will get in a pattern and come in at regular intervals just to see if anything is there or not. Anything more than 2 gallons will make the deer go nocturnal and this something you want to avoid.
Always scatter the bait over an area, never in a pile. This will spread the deer out and not have them concentrated to one area in mass. Place the bait off to the left or right of your stand but where you can keep an eye on it. Deer have the tendency to stop and look around before they actually come up to bait pile. This can be used to your advantage, especially if they stop in a shooting lane.
If the only thing coming in your bait is does and fawns, watch them. Over the years seen many a buck come in to check on the does. They will be restless and constantly be moving around when they first come in. Let them settle down and watch the body language of the deer. They will show signs if anything else is coming in or not. Fawns are also exciting to watch, most of the time they don’t even know you are there. If anything it makes the time go faster.
Broadcast feeders or other devices for the purpose of feeding deer are available. Some states do not allow the use of such devices. Food Plots or other agriculture crop sources are another good option to use in place of baiting.
Most importantly, always check your local game laws to see if baiting is legal in your area. In some states, baiting is illegal.
And good hunting!