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The Best Deer Feeder: Our Gravity, Tripod, and Hanging Feeder Picks (April 2020)

Welcome! In this post, we’ll be talking about deer feeders. There are a lot of models out there, and finding the best deer feeder for your needs can be a little overwhelming. Figuring out what type you need, how much feed it should hold, and which features are actually worthwhile–it can be a little much.

So, to simplify things, we’ve put together this list of the feeders we recommend, and why each model may (or may not!) meet your needs (and if you’re unfamiliar with the types of feeders and what to look for, feel free to skip past the reviews for a “crash course” in the ABCs of feeders). Let’s jump in:

Deer Feeders: Our Reviews, Summarized

We get into a lot more detail below, but here’s a quick summary of our favorite feeders, and why:

Our Picks for Best Gravity Feeders: 

Our Picks for Best Tripod Feeders: 

  • The American Hunter Tripod Feeder: A solid, just-the-basics tripod option that can hold 225 pounds, which is a lot for a tripod feeder; and
  • The Moultrie Tripod Elite Feeder: A feature-heavy tripod with a timer you can set for six feeding times a day, with QuickLock design for easy set-up

Our Picks for Best Hanging Feeders: 

Our Pick for Best Feeder Overall:

  • The One and Done Game Feeder—of all the "best of the best deer feeders" we're reviewed, this is our pick for best feeder overall. It's manufactured in sizes that can hold 110 pounds, 250 pounds, or 500 pounds of feed; it can disperse feed 50 feet out and 40 feet wide; it's got a timer that you can program up for up to six feedings a day; it's versatile—you can hang it, put it on a tripod, or leave it on the ground and conceal it; and it's designed to be bear-proof, hog-proof, and varmint-proof. This thing, in our semi-professional opinion, is just a bruiser, and our pick for best feeder overall.

OK—now that we’ve given you our quick summaries, let’s get into more detail.

Best Game Feeder

The Best Gravity Feeders

Gravity feeders are simple, easy to set up, and easy to use. Here are our picks:

The Moultrie Feed Station

Summary: Very small, simple to install, and can hold 40 pounds, but will require frequent refills

The Moultrie Feed Station is about as uncomplicated a deer feeder as you'll find in our reviews. It's got no batteries, no timers, no distribution mechanisms, and no moving parts. You strap it to a tree or pole, deer come and eat from it, and when the feed runs out, you put more feed in it. Easy to install, and easy to maintain. Modern hunters have so many technical/digital advances, and if you've ever been out in the field and your GPS blacks out, or your rangefinder decides it wants the morning off, or your hunting watch starts flashing for no reason... well, that can be a great reminder of the power of simplicity. There are no digital parts to disappoint you here!

With a 40-pound capacity, it's a little on the smaller side, and you may have to refill it frequently—so it may make sense to get an idea of when game visits your feeder, so that you can refill it without coming into contact with them. And, because it's a pretty basic-model gravity feeder, you will probably see some spillage on the ground around the deer feeder—that’s to be expected.

With all that in mind, if you're looking for a smaller, no-frills gravity feeder, we think this one is a good bet.

The REDNEK Redneck Outdoors T-post Gravity Feeder

Summary: A durable feeder that can hold up to 80 pounds of feed—a solid choice for mid-sized properties

The REDNEK Redneck Outdoors T-post Gravity Feeder is a very good mid-range gravity feeder, in our humble opinion, and it's got a lot going for it: it's made from all-weather, heavy-duty polyethylene, and designed to be weather-resistant; it's got an 80-pound feed capacity, which can cut back on the occasions you'll need to refill it; and the cover is designed to snap on tightly and keep rain and moisture out, so your feed doesn't get ruined (and that can actually be a problem on some basic gravity feeders). It's also got a 4-inch x 5-inch opening, which is plenty large enough for deer to consume the feed / corn—some smaller feeders have smaller openings, and only smaller deer are able to eat from them. It would be nice if this had two or more openings, to increase the changes of more than one deer feeding at once, but having one opening is a pretty common feeder in mid-range gravity feeders. 

Like many gravity feeders, this is easy to set up / easy to install, and you can mount it on a t-post or work with a ratchet strap to put it on a tree. The piece itself isn't heavy—about 10 pounds—and that's a nice feature, as well: some gravity feeders can actually be a bear (ha) to mount, but ten pounds is on the lighter side. If you're looking for a gravity feeder that's not too cumbersome but can hold a fair amount of feed to attract deer, this is the one we'd go with.

The Banks Outdoors Feed Bank Gravity Feeder

Summary: A high-end waterproof feeder that can hold 300 pounds and feed four deer at a time—a gravity feeder great for mid-sized to large properties that you probably won’t have to refill too often

The Banks Outdoors Feed Bank Gravity Feeder is... well, we consider this the "Big Daddy" of gravity feeders, and while it's not as easy to set up as some more basic models, it's got a lot of features that make it stand out from the crowd:

  • It's got a 300-pound capacity, and that's about as close to a "set-it-and-forget-it" gravity feeder as we've seen. If you've got a larger property, or if you simply don't want to be replenishing your feed supply all the time, that can be a great feature;
  • The feeding ports that deer eat from are adjustable, so you can control the amount of feed that they're able to eat. That's a really clever feature, because it can allow you to spoil the deer a little bit, and let them know there's a bounty on your property, but you can also restrict the flow of feed, and that means you don't have to refill it as often; and also
  • There are four spots for deer to feed from. Most gravity feeders have one spot (or two at most), so if you've got a lot of land, or a lot of space for multiple deer to converge, that can be a great feature;
  • The cover is waterproof, and... it's got a lock on the top! Such a simple, simple feature, that provides us with so much peace-of-mind—it's designed to keep some ambitious critters from finding a way in and gobbling up all the chow; and finally—one of the features we consider most important:
  • It's designed to last a while. The big complaint that a lot of hunters and land owners have against gravity feeders is that they don't always last too long, and the plastic they're made from is good... but not great. From what we've seen of the Banks Outdoors, it's a step forward, and the manufacturer explicitly states it's designed for durability.

It requires mounting—it's designed to mount on an 8-foot 4x4 that you need to set three feet under the ground—and that makes it a little more labor-intensive than most gravity feeders, but if you have a lot of deer you want to feed, and you don’t want to be constantly refilling feed, it can be worth it. This gets our vote for best gravity feeder, and one of the best feeders overall.

The Best Tripod Feeders

With spinner plates and timers, tripods are designed to cast feed over land and attract multiple deer. There are a lot of models out there, but here are the ones we like:

The American Hunter Tripod Feeder

Summary: A tripod feeder with a barrel container and all the essential features that can keep a surprising amount of feed

The American Hunter Tripod Feeder, in our opinion, is a great what-you-see-is-what-you-get model, and that's the draw for this type of deer feeder—some feeders get pretty fancy, with dozens of features and an instruction manual as thick as a phone book (remember those?)—but not everyone wants that.

With all that said... for a what-you-see-is-what-you-get model, the American Hunter Tripod actually has a lot going for it! It's a simple barrel feeder with a removable lid atop an unadorned trip, but the barrel can hold 225 pounds of corn—and that's a fairly large capacity!—and it's got a digital timer you can schedule for different feed releases / feed times. Those are really all the fundamental features we'd look for in a feeder. 

It doesn't have too many "extra" features—no extensive digital displays, and no tools to protect it from it from hungry critters—but not everyone wants that sort of thing. If you're looking for a no-frills tripod option that's relatively simple to put together and operate, but has really generous feed storage capacity, this is the one we like.

The Moultrie Tripod Elite Feeder

Summary: An easy-to-set-up tripod with lots of features, including a timer designed for six daily feedings, and a spinner plate designed to disperse feed evenly

The Moultrie Tripod Feeder is one of the more high-end tripod feeders we've come across, and there's a lot we like about it: it's got a digital timer that you can set for six feeding times a day, and the timer can administer feedings from a single second up to twenty seconds, depending on how much feed you want to disperse; the metal spinner plate is designed to distribute feed evenly, to avoid "clumping" on the ground; and it's got a battery life indicator, so you can tell how soon you need to switch out the power source. That indicator is actually a great addition, because tripods *will* become useless after their battery source runs out, and you need to know how much juice your deer feeder's got left.

Perhaps our favorite aspect of the Elite, however, is the QuickLock Technology. Moultrie (and a lot of other hunting companies!) are big on naming their features, and "QuickLock Design" is basically a descriptive term that means "you can set it up without tools." That's actually a really great feature, in our opinion, because some tripod feeders require a lot of technical know-how to get them going. Tool-free set-up can be a great thing, especially if you're setting your feeder up in a remote location on your property, and don't want to lug a whole bunch of tools out with you to set it up.

The Elite isn't perfect, though—while it does feature a varmint guard, those varmints can be pretty clever, and they may find a way around it. The Elite does have an adjustable height, and you can set it at 5.5 feet, 7 feet, or 8 feet, and raising the feeder higher and higher can deter some of the less-motivated varmints.

Nonetheless, we're fans of the Elite, and this gets our vote as the best tripod feeder. If you're looking for a higher-end tripod, this is the one we like.

Our Picks for Best Hanging Feeder

There are two hanging feeders we like—one simple, small model, and one bigger, more rugged model. They are:

The Wildgame Innovations Pail Feeder

Summary: A bucket on a string with a spinner plate and a timer—easy to use, and you can place it just about anywhere

The Wildgame Innovations Pail Feeder is nice and simple, and it's basically a 6.5-gallon bucket with a spinner and a timer. It's capable of holding 50 pounds of feed, and it's got a dawn-and-dusk setting for feed times. It shoots feed 360 degrees, it takes a 6v battery (which doesn't come with the unit), and...

That's it! It's light, versatile, and because it's so light (relatively—50 pounds can be a lot in the grand scheme of things, but not when it comes to deer feeders), all you really need is a rope to hang it from and a branch to tie it to. You'll have to refill it more frequently than you would a larger hanging feeder, but that's how it goes.

We like this if you don't need anything "extra," and it can be a great option if there are a couple of spots on your property where you want to hang a feeder.

The Moultrie Pro Magnum Hanging Deer Feeder

Summary: An incredibly durable model made from metal, with a timer, a spinner designed to equally distribute feed, and a varmint guard, that can hold 200 pounds of feed

The Moultrie Pro Magnum Hanging Deer Feeder has a lot of the features you'd expect from a Moultrie: it's got a timer that can spread feed six times a day (very good, especially if you've got a lot of game traffic in your area); it can disperse feed at 360 degrees in intervals of one second to seconds (so you can control the amount of feed you put out); it's got a varmint guard (OK); and a battery life indicator (very helpful). All good. The Pro Magnum is a 30-pound monster that can hold up to 200 pounds of feed, and that's VERY good. All good, all what we'd expect from Moultrie.

The real benefit of the Moultrie Pro Magnum, though, is the metal housing of the deer feeder itself. So many of the feeders we've seen are plastic—and while many of them are truly strong and well-reinforced, they're just not as strong as metal. And when you consider that this is one of the few Moultrie feeders that comes with a lifetime warranty—well, that's a perk you won't find on many feeders.

So it's big, it's tough, and it's got the timer, which is something we always look for. The biggest complaint we have about the Moultrie Magnum is that you may want to use your own bar or post to hang it from, and as it is a BIG feeder capable of holding 200 pounds, you need to make sure your set-up—however you do it—can support two hundred pounds of feed (and the weight of the model itself).

Even though you may want to use your own bar, metal is metal, and we consider durability one of the most important features of a deer feeder, so the Pro Magnum gets our pick for best hanging feeder.

The Best Deer Feeder Overall

Our last feeder is a brute. It’s basically every type of feeder rolled into one, with a ton of features we think are worthwhile. It is…

The One and Done Game Feeder

Summary: our favorite feeder. This thing is nuts—read on. 

We're not really sure how to classify the One and Done Game Feeder—all we know is that it's an incredibly versatile module that's designed to hold and disperse a *lot* of feed, and keep our furry friends away while doing so. This is a huge, rugged model, and it gets our vote as the #1 deer feeder overall. Let's take a look at why we rate it so highly:

  • It's Got a Large Capacity. The OAD is basically a 55-gallon drum holds 250 pounds of feed, and that's one of the largest containment units we've seen. One of the only few that we've found that's bigger is the OAD 110-gallon drum that holds up to—check it—500 pounds of feed! These guys like to go big;  
  • It's Got Broad Dispersal. Feed is dispersed 50 feet outward and 40 feet wide. That covers a great deal of area, and if you have a lot of land—maybe you've got private property that you rent to hunters, or you just enjoy yourself—that can translate to a lot of game interested in visiting you;
  • There's No Set-Up Necessary. If you want to keep it on the ground, simply roll it to the spot you want to keep it. If you want to hang it or put it on a tripod, that might take some effort, but...
  • It's Versatile! You can sit it on the ground, strap it to a tree, hang it from a (very strong) branch or pole—whatever you want. We haven't seen too many deer feeders that allow you so many options, and that's fantastic—especially if you want to take the time and find what works on your property;
  • It's Easy to Hide. If you want to keep your local game from equating your feeder with humans, you can conceal it in bushes or behind shrubs you've set up. Because the OAD is designed to disperse feed over such a broad area, it’s capable of shooting feed through the bushes;
  • It's Rugged. No plastic here—the barrel is made from 16-gauge steel!
  • It's Designed to Be Bear-Proof and Hog-Proof. If you look online, there are a bunch of fun videos of bears crawling all over this thing, unable to get to the feed inside. If you've ever seen a bear in action, you know that those fellas can mess things up—a barrel that's designed to be bear-proof and hog-proof can be a great thing; and
  • It's Got a Range of Settings. The timer allows for six dispersal sessions / feeding times a day—that six sessions seems to be the industry standard; will we see seven or eight soon??—and you can set the dispersal time from a single second to 99 seconds (which is a lot longer than many feeders, which cap out at 20-second sessions).

This isn't for everyone—not everyone needs this sort of capacity—but if you want to disperse over a large area of land, shot from a drum with a lot of protection of bears, hogs, and little critters, this is the best feeder we know of. This gets our vote for best deer feeder. This thing is a beast.

Deer Feeder Guide

Deer Feeders 101: Types, Features, and How to Choose

OK! Let’s talk basics. In this section, we'll give you some introductory material about deer feeders—the types of feeders available, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to use them. Consider this a crash course in deer feeders.

We'll start with the #1, most relevant, most important factor you need to consider:

Know Your State's Laws About Deer Feeders

Job #1: you'll need to find out if deer feeders are legal in your state. In some states, they're legal, and in other states, they're not. You can be the proud owner of the best deer feeders ever made, but if they're not legal, well, they're not legal. 

Sometimes, it can get even more complicated than that, because some states will allow them at certain times (during the growth season in the spring, but not during the actual hunting season), or in certain locations (on private land but not on public land, or within a certain number of yards of a property boundary), or something like that—some states are strict, some states are lax, but they all have laws about feeders.

To find out your state’s laws, you can try a few things:

The Moultrie website has a very helpful page with a quick (albeit brief) summary of each state's feeder laws, but we don't know how up-to-date that page is, and whether or not it's accurate. 

You can also visit your state's hunting website about their regulations concerning deer feeders, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a very helpful map linking each state's hunting websites.

But... here's a pro-tip for you:

It's much, much, much easier to get on the phone and talk to one of the folks at your state's hunting agency. They usually have a vast and in-depth understanding of the state's hunting laws (and they're usually really pleasant to talk with), and they'll be able to tell you immediately whether or not you're allowed to use a deer feeder, or what restrictions apply to feeders. Give them a call, have a nice chat, and save yourself a lot of time.

Types of Deer Feeders

Deer feeders come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and while there's no "official" set of types, here are the different types of deer feeders you'll usually see. Keep in mind, the "best deer feeders" are different from person-to-person, depending on your needs/opportunities. 

Gravity Feeders. These are the simplest type of feeder, and they're basically just containers that have a trough, and deer come and eat feed from the trough. When the grain is eaten, gravity pushes more feed into the trough.

They're pretty simple and easy to install, but that's not to say their simplicity makes them not worth your time—just the opposite, in fact. For many people, a simple gravity feeder is the best option, and if you've got a small plot of land or don't mind refilling your feeder, a gravity feeder can be a great option.

Advantages of a Gravity Feeder:

  • They're a great option if you only need a little bit of feed. Some feeders can get pretty large—30- to 50- to 110-gallon drums—but not everyone needs that sort of capacity. If you have a small property, or just want to draw deer to your property because you're a wildlife lover / photographer / etc., a small gravity feeder can be a great fit;
  • They're usually pretty simple to set up, and it's quick and easy to add lightweight models to multiple spots on your property—plus, they usually feature ZERO electronic parts (and don't require batteries), so you don't have to worry about your deer feeder stalling out or acting glitchy; and
  • They may not attract a "wider audience," the way that some other types of feeders (particularly tripods with a spin plate, which we'll take about in a second) do. Because the feed is kept in the feeder, and not dispersed over the ground, it's not as obvious a draw to critters, and they have to work a little harder to get at it.

Disadvantages of a Gravity Feeder:

  • They're not usually the sturdiest things you'll find (although there are some high-end models that are pretty rugged), and they can be susceptible to critters and varmints, who break into them and steal the feed;
  • Because they tend to be smaller, they may require repeated fill-ups, and that can take time and energy (and you need to remember to do so!); and
  • Many models only feature a single trough, so only one deer can feed at a time. 

The best gravity feeders will be ones that are easy to fill and RUGGED. Whenever we look for a model, "rugged" is the term we keep in mind.

Tripod Feeders. These are a little more sophisticated, and can be less easy to install, and they usually have more "bells and whistles" than gravity feeders. They're basically a container that holds the feed—either a barrel or a drum or sometimes a round-ish pod—held aloft by the three legs of a tripod, and most have a spinner plate, which is an electronic device that takes the feed and whirls it outward, usually in a 360-degree circle around the feeder.

Advantages of a Tripod Feeder:

  • Can cover land around the tripod with feed, attracting more than one deer, and most have timers that can be set to disperse seed a multiple times per day;
  • The timers actually preserve feed, by only spreading it a little at a time, compared with gravity feeders, where animals can take whatever they want, as much as they want it;
  • You can set them up in a field or an open area, and don't need to rely on branches or posts; and
  • Many have a large capacity and can hold up to 200 pounds of feed or more.

Disadvantages of a Tripod Feeder:

  • The timers can be a little difficult to adjust, and they can break—and because you're not frequently checking on them (tripod users usually get them with a "set-and-forget-it" mindset), you may not know that they're not working properly;
  • Because the spinner plates spread feed over the ground, you're likely to attract varmint, in addition to the deer you actually want to see; and
  • These tend to be pretty obvious, and it can be difficult to cover them.

The best tripod feeders will be ones that can effectively cover the surrounding ground with feed, have a timer that you can set feed times, and can meet your capacity needs.

Hanging Feeders. These are just like the other two models—a container in the shape of a drum or a bucket, that you hang from a post, branch, or fixture of your own making. These *would* be like gravity feeders, but they usually have a spin plate that disperses feed.

Advantages of a Hanging Feeder:

  • Can be used in woodsy environments, which can be difficult with other deer feeders. If you find an area where deer may funnel, you can set up a hanging feeder, and see if the feed captures their interest;
  • Some hanging feeders are small-container feeders, which can be a great thing if you want a smaller feeder but don't have the opportunity/set-up to use a gravity feeder;
  • Can be a little easier to conceal, and deer may not equate feed with the feeder. With other feeders—particularly gravity feeders and tripods—deer may come to understand that the feed is related to the feeder, which is related to you—and you don't want that; and
  • Certain creatures can't get to them. Tripods are very popular, but it's not uncommon to see four-legged creatures climbing up the legs of the tripod to get to the feed. Hanging deer feeders may attract squirrels, but they're less likely to fall victim to bears and hogs and such.

Disadvantages of a Hanging Feeder:

  • Can be difficult to refill, especially if you've hung them from a high location (and, pro-tip—if you do hang them from a high location [and that may not be bad idea], try to set up a simple pulley system, so you can make the feeder ascent / descent without too much effort);
  • If you're hanging a high-poundage feeder, you need to find an adequate support. Some hanging feeders have a capacity of 200 pounds or more, and finding an adequate support can take some legwork—and not all hanging feeders come with a kit to hang the feeder from;
  • Just like with tripod feeders, they usually function with a spinner plate, and that can draw four-legged friends (like bears, hogs, raccoons, squirrels, etc.) who you don't want around.

The best hanging feeders can blend into their surroundings to attract deer, are easy to set up, and don't overburden their supports (and you'll have to figure that out, for your own situation!).

Now let's look at some of the features you may want to consider when getting a deer feeder.

Deer Feeder Features to Consider

Deer feeders aren't the most complicated tools you'll find, but there are some features which make a model unique and distinct, and each attract deer in different ways. Here are the factors you may want to consider:

Barrel Size / Containment Capability. This is, perhaps, one of the most important features you want to consider in a feeder: how much feed do you want to hold? Smaller feeders usually hold 10/20/40 pounds of feed, whereas bigger, industrial-sized feeders can hold up to 200 pounds or more. Do you need a lot of deer on your property? Just a few? The size of the feeder is also related to...

Refill Requirements. This is pretty common-sense, but it's easy to overlook: small-capacity feeders need to be refilled frequently, whereas high-capacity feeders can be left alone for a while. Do you find frequent trips to refill the deer feeder peaceful and calming, or a chore? Do you have so much land / so many feeders on your land that you don't have the time to re-fill them? Consider your time and your needs, and figure out how often you can/want to refill them.

Spin Plate / Dispenser Type. A spin plate is located at the bottom of the feeder, and it whirls feed outward in a 360-degree circle at set times throughout the day. Some spin plates are pretty basic, while others are high-tech, and the big selling point is how far a spin plate can spread feed. Most can only spread feet a couple of yards out (and for most circumstances, that's fine), while some high-end models can shoot feed 30+ yards outward and 30+ yards across. If a manufacturer has spent a lot of time on its spin plates, they'll usually let you know in their marketing materials.

Timer Settings. Pretty much every type of feeder except for gravity feeders feature a timer mechanism that disperses feed from the spinner plate. Basic ones have a sunrise/sunset dispersion feature; many of them have the capacity for six timed releases per day (and that seems to be the industry standard found on most models). Again, consider how many deer you hope to see, and how much feed you want to spread. Feed times are very important to some people, and not to others. 

Battery Requirements / Battery Display. Gravity feeders usually don't require batteries, whereas any feeder with a spinner usually does. A battery life indicator / battery display is a great tool, because it'll let you know when you need to replace the battery, so you don't have a non-functioning feeder wasting away on your property.

Durability. This is a pretty big one, because there are a number of factors that can do a number on a feeder: the weather, the animals try to pry it apart (bears, hogs, raccoons, etc.), and general wear-and-tear. Feeders are usually made of plastic or metal, and plastics degrade a lot more quickly than metals. Gravity feeders are generally plastic, and you'll see some of the stronger, higher-end tripods and hanging models made of metal. A weather-resistant model can be a great option. 

Varmint Protection. You're trying to feed deer, but... well, you're going to find that you're a lot more generous than that! It can be very difficult to keep other animals from eating the feed you put out, and some models come with a "varmint protection" feature. Sometimes it's sharp teeth on the tripod legs, other times it's a mesh cage around the trough, other times it's a barrier around the spinner plate. In our experience, varmint protection is a very worthwhile feature, but it never works 100%—and if you're spreading your feed over the ground, you're going to attract some non-deer creatures anyway.

Lid / Lid Lock. You wouldn't think this is too important, but it ends up being something to consider. Some models have lids that snap shut, keeping animals and moisture out; others have actual locks that you use to ensure your feed is safe. Locks are great, because we're always amazed at how creative and persistent some animals can be—you think you have your unit locked down, and somehow, somehow those critters get it open.

Waterproof Capability. Waterproof containers are important, because even the slightest bit of moisture can get into the barrel and ruin your feed (and, as you probably know, feed ain't free!). Manufacturers have various ways of water-proofing their feeders, from shields or barriers atop the feeder, to waterproof materials (plastics, or paints on metals), to sloped and domed feeder tops.

Warranty. Last but not least! It's our experience that most feeders do NOT have a warranty, because some of them aren't really made to last forever (and that can be fine—you may want to replace smaller models every now and again anyway). As a general rule of thumb, warranties are only included with higher-quality feeders, made with high-quality materials. It's not too common for a plastic feeder to have a warranty, whereas it's a lot more common with a metal-walled feeder.

Thus Concludes Your Crash Course on Feeders!

Hopefully our discussion above has provided a little guidance, and you’re on your way to finding the exact feeder you need. If you have any questions, please feel free to jump over to our “Contact” page and drop us a line. And, in the meantime—be well, be safe, and all the best to you!