Introduction: How to Eat Deer Corn

Picture of How to Eat Deer Corn

Corn is an essential survival food because of its high carbohydrate content, nutritional value, and is easy to store. It is considered a vegetable when it is harvested fresh; what you, I and most humans eat. It is considered a grain when it is allowed to dry out in the fields (commonly referred to as dent or field corn) and harvested for animal consumption. If you've ever seen a corn field all brown and yellow, your first thought may have been, "they must be having a drought." The case may very well be that the corn is being allowed to dry out to be sold as livestock grain.

Deer Corn, Cracked Corn, and Whole Corn are commonly found at feed stores like North 40, hunting stores such as Cabellas, and of course superstores like Walmart. Deer Corn is the cheapest of these feeds and is the very cheapest at Walmart because of their buying power. Here in Northern Idaho it is currently $5.97 for a 40 lb bag of deer corn. Pretty darn cheap, in fact Walmart's buying cost is above their retail price (their loss is your "Grain"!).

So what's the difference between the vegetable corn that you and I eat, and the field corn thrown to the chickens? Not much, in fact you are perfectly ok to eat the corn grain straight from the bag; however it is a little hard (corn nuts anyone). When you do the math six bucks a bag is a bargain compared to the corn from the produce and frozen departments at your grocery store. I did a small comparison to show the value of a bag of deer corn at Walmart compared to common corn products, and none of them come even close to the price per pound of deer corn.

If you're into food storage, emergency prep, or survival prep, you might consider adding deer corn to the must-have-storage list. When all the lights go out, the wells have dried up, and your money is worthless, a little prep work and ingenuity can go a very long way. Let's dive in and I'll show you what you can do with all that corn!

Step 1: Choosing a Mill

Picture of Choosing a Mill

Of course you can open the bag and just go to town. I don't think your teeth will thank you for this so we must do a little prep work. You will need to grind the corn or soften in for effective human consumption. You can grind your field corn into corn flour (masa) to make corn tortillas, tamales, empanadas (yum), and much more. You can also grind it for corn meal to make corn bread and other deliciousness!

There are many grinders and mills out there that can turn your corn kernels into masa or meal. When choosing a grinder for survival situations you will want to find one that can be used without electricity. The grinder I have and recommend is the Victorio VKP1024 Deluxe Hand Operated Grain Mill. It does a great job grinding corn into meal, it's fairly inexpensive, and it's easy to take apart to clean. I honestly don't think you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a hand grinder, but they are definitely out there. The Country Living Hand Grain Mill has some of the best reviews, and will last you a lifetime; however it comes with a hefty price tag. If you can afford it, this might be the one to get. Check them out and choose whichever one suits your individual needs the best.

Step 2: Grain Into Flour

Picture of Grain Into Flour

Turning grain into flour is very simple. If you're using a hand crank version you just need to load up the top of the mill with your grain, place a bowl down to catch the extrusion, and crank away. It's really that easy. You can reload the mill with the ground grains depending on how fine you want the flour to be.

FYI, If you're not in survival mode, or you have access to electricity, a Vitamix will turn deer corn into powder in a matter of seconds.

Step 3: Eating Your Bounty

Picture of Eating Your Bounty

Consuming field corn isn't just for survival mode. I just made some Jalapeno and Cheddar Cornbread with my cornflour, and I'm still alive (and diarrhea free)!. Actually they were quite delicious! So far I've used deer corn to make cornbread, corn tortillas, corn chips, and empanadas. Not bad for survival food if you ask me. While this instructable is intended to show you how to utilize deer corn as a survival staple, it really can be used in every day life.

Step 4: Long Term Storage

Once the corn is turned to flour or meal it will be a little harder to store, but it can be done. I recommend sealing the flour in Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers, then placing the bags in a 5 gallon bucket and sealed with a Gamma Lid. This would be ideal for long term storage of the flour; however if you have a cool storage area you will get longer life out of your corn by storing the grains before grinding them. Make sure they stay cool (60F or less) and dry. Doing this can increase the shelf life by double. How you choose to store your grains/flour all depends on the conditions and what is available to you.

If you have enjoyed this instructable, and feel it's worthy, please submit your vote for it in the Survival Contest.


Spaceman Spiff (author)2015-09-11

If you have enjoyed this instructable, and feel it's worthy, please submit your vote for it in the Survival Contest.

I'll vote. :)

I too like C and H. :D

Thanks for the vote!

No problem.

camalo171 (author)2017-01-02

Nice ible. im always looking for different ways of using my corn storage. some things you may enjoy, is making corn nuts: Basically soak the kernels for a day, dry em off, deep fry then season them. they're awesome. another thing I do is homemade fritos. basically mix 1 c. cornmeal to 2/3 c boiling water, add a pinch of salt. place the dough in a baggie, cut off a corner, and squirt it into some oil and fry them. the don't taste much like fritos, but they are super tasty

james.l.stephens.33 (author)2016-04-08

i worked in a feed mill where we made chicken feed for the folks raising poultry for Conagra about 20 years ago. the only thing they looked for was a fungus or mold that could potentially kill all the chickens on a farm in one feeding. corn came in on train cars except during the harvest when the grain hauling trucks would line up for testing. i saw the corn ground into meal by the ton and i could not tell any difference between that corn meal and store bought. our corn meal was probably higher in bug parts, rat droppings, pigeons, gloves, hats, and boots than commercial grind but chickens don't mind. i stopped eating corn and chicken for a while after working there. if you only ate the feed corn you could become malnourished over time, as someone else said Nixtamalization will release the nutrients locked in the corn that we can't access otherwise and the lye soak and repeated rinse might take care of other nasty stuff that may have been sprayed on. grind some of that for hominy grits and it will keep you alive for a long time.

JamesW33 (author)2016-01-22

This is a very resourceful instructable! Lets just hope we all live in places where animal food has to be safe for human consumption, by law!

tv2284 (author)2015-12-13

You may want to know that animal feed corn is a GMO and unless noted is sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. I have grown and harvested thousands of acers

Spaceman Spiff (author)tv22842015-12-13

All I eat is GMO! I'm practically a GMO myself!

JamesW33 (author)Spaceman Spiff2016-01-22

I like how people say GMO like we can have GM things that aren't organisms.

Mind you, GM isn't necessarily bad, my dog is GM from a thing called selective breeding, which is usually how they do it with plants, too. No seringe in sight!

vladivastok (author)2015-11-19


Penolopy Bulnick (author)2015-11-02

Interesting. Can you use it as a straight flour substitute or does it need anything added to it to make it the equivilant of flour?

I MP (author)2015-11-01

You can parch the corn to a very light brown then grind it to make pinole a staple of the long hunters of years past and still a travel staple in areas of the Southwest, Mexico and some parts of Central America. Washing it in several changes of water before parching will remove any external "contaminants" and he heat will help to further "purify" it if those are concerns. Living in Minnesota I have direct access to dent corn before it get bagged for commerce.

Spaceman Spiff (author)I MP2015-11-02

Thanks for the tip!

Garadin (author)2015-09-14

Nixtamalization is necessary to make the corn into a form that the human body can process. See recipe here:

This is a great idea, now I just need a backyard stone mill for that 'stone ground' taste.

Spaceman Spiff (author)Garadin2015-09-14

I would love to have a stone mill!

RebeccaH7 (author)Spaceman Spiff2015-10-05

Making one would be a wonderful instructable, just saying :P

neo71665 (author)2015-09-11

Feed corn can often be swept up off the floor with who knows what else, processed by machines not properly cleaned, had chemicals used on it not approved for humans, and so on. Thats why its often marked not for human consumption. Corn is fine and when it starts out it might be fine but after that there is no telling what it might be introduced to and have on it. Be careful eating feed corn.

Spaceman Spiff (author)neo716652015-09-11

I was wondering how long it would take for the FDA police to show up. Thank you for your comments. Tell that to anyone that has lived through the great depression. Or go visit a disparaging village in Malawi. My guess is they will gladly eat corn that is allowed to have a few extra grass hopper parts.

I have eaten this corn for YEARS! I grind it for tortillas,cornbread,pudding,hush puppies,corn chowder.I do it because I can.I have not grown a third eye in my fore head or had my liver fall out.I have no cancer in my body.It's sad that people have been conditioned to be fearful of everything unless some Government "expert" TELLS THEM IT'S ALL RIGHT!these same people will go chow down on crappy fast food where the FDA allows them to classify chemicals as spices.That's the nature of human sheep.It's a great tutorial for those who can decide and act for themselves.I believe C and H would approve SPIFF...

neo71665 (author)JT steelheart2015-09-15

I could care less what the government says. I have seen farmers bring feed corn in on trailers that smelled like the day before full of animal manure. I've seen feed processors scoop feed corn up that had been on the ground in a pool of diesel fuel. It doesn't matter to them because "its just for livestock". My point was to just make sure what you are eating is what you want to and not laced with something else. You can eat cow pies and drink tea sweetened with antifreeze for all I care I'm not gonna knowingly do it.

JT steelheart (author)neo716652015-09-19

I understood your point.That's why I wasn't responding directly to you.Common sense has been replaced with conditioned fear.That's my point.I feed corn to my animals all the time.I inspect it,smell it first cuz I depend on my animals for meat,eggs...don't want them dying on me.people locally have died from eating lettuce. A little thing called rat lung disease and snails that carry meningitis.Farm hands crapping in the lettuce fields in Ca. spreading filth.COMMON SENSE dictates ya better wash your veggies but people don't.Bought a bag of cat food a few days ago that was bad.Soon as I opened the bag I new it was spoiled.Point is and I agree you have to be smart about it.People eat fast food,smoe,consume alcohol,abuse drugs both legal and illegal.They ARE AWARE they are bad for them yet they still do it.I just lament the fact people get so afraid over every thing now that may not be a mainstream idea or belief. When you have been to places where hungry people will eat ANYTHING they find in the garbage and still survive it changes your perspective on what constitutes safe food.You will see it here in America on a bigger scale than the homeless when the economy fails and we fall into another depression.Many other countries are all ready there...

43totheN (author)Spaceman Spiff2015-09-12

The concerns aren't entirely unfounded I'm afraid. I've purchased bags of feed seed from certain stores and they seemed just fine to me. But to my surprise, all the critters rejected it. Even the squirrels and raccoons wouldn't eat it. It seems that the seed was treated with some kind of chemical, likely a pesticide, that made the seed entirely inedible to every critter I tried it on. If a raccoon won't eat it, it would be wise for me to follow suit.

That said, if the critters are willing to eat it, I'd probably consider it too. We're far too picky about food in the western world. Heat and fire will kill anything biological after all.

neo71665 (author)Spaceman Spiff2015-09-11

Wow, remove the cob. I have livestock and live in a farming community, have seen first hand how feed is sometimes handled. Buying it first hand like I do by the trailer load I would trust far more than the stuff you get in the bags from a box store.

Spaceman Spiff (author)neo716652015-09-11

Sounds like your cattle eat better than half the world.

nevadasun (author)2015-09-15

Great info! Question for there a way to reconstitute dried corn (deer corn) to make a regular cooked side dish out of it?



straviss1 (author)2015-09-14

I love that you posted this even knowing the haters would jump on you for it.
Add a section on how to lye the corn and you've got my vote.

Spaceman Spiff (author)straviss12015-09-14

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. I found some instructions on how to lye corn as follows:

"Place 2 quarts of dry field corn in an enamel pan; add 8 quarts of water and 2 ounces of lye. Boil vigorously for 30 minutes, then allow to stand for 20 minutes. Rinse off lye with several hot water rinses. Follow with cold water rinses to cool for handling."

crispenrand (author)2015-09-13

Nice idea, in a pinch I have eaten young field corn off the stalk when lunch didn't show up. However, speaking as a midwest farmer who has applied chemicals (pesticides) to corn in the silo to keep the bugs from eating it up, I myself would not eat corn from a feed store. If you must do corn, get it straight from the farmer around harvest time; current price is around $5 per bushel (60 lbs). If you don't live near the corn belt then you might shift to rice, soybeans or wheat. There are different pesticide rules for grains intended for human consumption. Preparing rice is pretty straightforward, soybeans you may have to process a bit. I recognize that wheat would throw a wrench into the works for those gluten-free survivalists.

Thanks for the advice. I'll keep my eyes open.

KKT1 (author)2015-09-12

interesting never thought of that..makes sense surprised what people will eat when the "shtf" (naysayers)

but if its suitable for animal consumption then by god its fit for human consumption as well...many Indians watched dear eat so they could know what was edible and non poisonous..i grew up I mean POOR.. I remenber as a small kid of 6-7 living in a shack in the middle of a pecan orchard in south Georgia we survived on anything we could get our lil' hands on..i remember eating turnip roots(oh damn ,I wont eat a beet to this day)...also peanuts dug-up from same garden of local farmers but what really pulled us through the hard times was a huge sack of dried it by the handfuls..actually it didn't taste as bad as you may think......all about survival and I got a head start over most....

Marmiemcgee (author)2015-09-12

THANK YOU! I have been wondering about something along the same line of thinking. Sunflower seed kernels! I can buy a huge bag at the Tractor Supply store that are hulled and ready to feed the birds, but the bag says "Not for Human Consumption." Have you ever used those to eat yourself or know anyone else who has?

fred3655 (author)2015-09-12

Blue moooooon of Kentucky keep on shining... shine on.... I prefer Tennessee Sour Mash corn squeezins myself. Why barely survive when you can live!

omer ifrah (author)2015-09-11

So... It's corn kernels?

moen-the-grass (author)2015-09-11

Thank you! I am duly informed.

oilitright (author)2015-09-11

Vitamix rules. field corn from grain to ready to bake muffing mix in just a few minutes. Homemade corn tortillas are yummy. Wheat to bread dough also. Seal the corn properly and it will last a long time.

Thanks for your comments, I'm glad you liked it.

ArticAkita (author)2015-09-11

never thought of the animal grade corn to be edible for the table before? but after seeing this bit you posted here you can. out of the world's corn types out there about 15% of them are edible (probibily softer?) who knows about store bought cornmeal isn't just deer corn milled out anyway?


bruwzrd (author)2015-09-11

Just understand that corn is one of those staples that humans can't actually process in our bodies! Cows can because they have multiple stomachs with stronger acids to break it down

madmedic22 (author)bruwzrd2015-09-11

Corn is digestible. It's the husks we don't digest, not the soft inner parts.

Just4Fun Media (author)2015-09-11

Great instructable! I never realized that you could actually grind corn into flower that quickly and easily!

What other ways have you prepared the deer corn for consumption?

Grinding it into flour has been the only way I have used it consistently. I have eaten a few kernels right from the bag out of curiosity, but it was very hard.

About This Instructable




More by Spaceman Spiff:Snowman Christmas Stocking HolderMake a Mantis Terrarium in a PinchLazy Man's Automatic Plant Watering Robot
Add instructable to: