This weekend I implement Phase 2: Setting up my trail cameras over top of my mineral stations and on some heavy trails. After using trail cameras religiously over the past 5 years, I can’t imagine my life without them. I live an hour away from my main hunting farms so trail cameras do my scouting when I can’t. I get just as excited pulling my SD cards in the summer months as I do hunting a stand for the first time. I love seeing old friends with new antlers and documenting their growth or downfall over the seasons as well as getting introduced to new bucks that catch my attention. One of my favorite things about trail cameras is they provide the ability to get more of a personal look into the psyche of the animals.
For example: There is a buck I have named “Nerd” who seems to be a very timid and observant deer. He runs solo and most of the and pictures of him are at night. On the other hand, “Johnny Utah” a 5 or 6 year old 10, looks to be a bully. He kicks all the other deer off the mineral stations. When he is in town everyone knows. Last but not least, does. I have watched a particular group of does for the past three years travel through an area on almost on a daily basis. Where the does are the bucks will be.
After they lose interest in the mineral and we get closer to the hunting season, I move the cameras to a variety of different locations. Mostly field edges, pinch points, heavy trails, and fence crossings. As the season progresses I start placing the cameras over open scrapes, the entire time trying to get a potential shooter patterned. This typically tells me the who, what, when, and where information I need to know when making a decision on whether or not I need to make a move on a particular buck. Why waste your time in an area when there are no deer?
Last year I was able to obtain a trail camera that would send pictures to my cell phone. This technology is awesome… if you can get good cell phone reception in all of your hunting areas. I can see how these cameras would be very useful. For me I hunt in a lot of low river bottom locations where even 20 feet up in a tree I have little to no reception. Therefore I am limited to where I can use this setting on these cameras. None the less, when the reception is good I find myself checking the pictures that are sent all through the night. My wife thinks I’m crazy.
We can all agree that trail cameras are an important tool when pinpointing a specific buck, observing deer numbers, and watching movement during the rut. With that said, you have to know how to use them, because nothing pisses me off more than realizing I missed 3 weeks of pictures. Below are a couple tricks and tips that may be useful when hanging your cameras.
Distance – Give yourself enough room between your camera and your target area that when deer do make their way through, you don’t get a bunch of deer butt pictures. When possible I like to position my camera looking down a trail so that the animal is in the field of view for the longest possible time. Quartering towards or away from the camera.
Direction – Because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and deer movement is typically in the morning or evening when the sun is lower in the sky, you don’t want a bunch of pictures that have been blown out by the sun unable to see what is in front of the camera. The best directions are north and south.
False Triggers – How many of you have ever had your excitement crushed when you found out your SD card is full of wind? It does not make me happy. That is why, just like tree stands, I do a little extra trimming and foliage removal to prevent this from happening.
Be Anal – Double and triple check your camera to make sure your SD card is properly formatted, you have enough battery life, and most importantly, your camera is in the ON position. All these things I have learned the hard way.
Below is a short list of trail camera companies you might want to check out before making your next purchase. They range in both price and function.
Covert Scouting Cameras – www.covertscoutingcameras.com
Reconyx – www.reconyx.com
Moultrie Game Cameras – www.moultriefeeders.com
Cudde Back – www.cuddeback.com
Spy Point – www.spypoint.com
I would also like to inform you about a fairly new trail camera accessory company owned by one of my dearest friends Jesse Hurley, Stic-N-Pic (www.sticnpic.com). Before I talk about the product itself, I would like to mention that owner Jesse Hurley is one hell of a guy, loves the group Hall and Oates, and might have one of the best free range goatees I have ever seen. It’s perfect.
Now back to the topic, the Stic-N-Pic is basically a trail camera stand you can use when you want to place a camera where there might not be any trees. Honestly, I never thought I would ever find a need for this product but now I use it all the time in creek crossings, fence crossing, corners of fields, and my front yard to see who is stealing my Sunday newspaper.
Hopefully you were able to walk away after reading this blog article with some useful information that might help you when setting you cameras this year. If not, well, that’s OK too.
That is all,