It’s that time of year again — everyone is getting ready for the big hunt. A trail camera can help you capture solid information about the best time of day to set up camp to hunt. However, trail cameras are a bit expensive, so you can’t put one on every tree in your woods. Wildlife professionals have been using trail cams for years to study the traveling and eating patterns of deer and other animals.
If you don’t know where to get started, how many trail cameras you need to cover your space or exactly how they work, these tips that will help ensure you place your cameras to get the action you’re looking for and pinpoint your ideal hunting spot.
Adapt Your Strategy
Deer are crafty creatures that change their patterns several times during the year. Depending on the season, you may be looking to create an inventory of deer on your hunting property, establish their location pre-rut, checking travel status during the rutting season or when you’re going for the last-minute tag late in the year.
Look for areas where there is moderate traffic from deer and either create a salt lick, add commercial scent or some bait. You’ll only need one salt lick for every 40 acres of ground, so this isn’t overly intensive work. You’ll want to hang your cameras quite high — from 5-7 feet in the air — on a tree quite near the salt lick or spot you’ve established. When you angle the camera down slightly, you may be able to get a better shot of the bucks coming into your space.
Bucks often relocate after they shed their velvet, making this a crucial time to track the deer. When you create a mock “licking” branch, you’ll be able to bring in the big bucks. A licking branch essentially asks as a bulletin board for deer, as bucks rub against the branch and nuzzle the loose ground around it to learn more about their competition before the rutting season heats up. You’ll first create a mock scrape section by raking up leaves and loose soil, then attach an active licking branch that’s been broken off from another location. Set up cameras overlooking this space, and you’re sure to capture some action.
When you’re ready to pinpoint travel routes, you’ll want a 45 degree mount for your cameras. Bucks are often moving quickly during this time of year, so it’s crucial to create a bit of interest for them to check out — hopefully pausing long enough for your trail cameras to get a good shot. Look for a trail cam that is set up to shoot very quickly, perhaps storing a large quantity of digital images.
Late in the season, you’ll need to look specifically for feeding spots to place your trail cameras. Mount cameras lower than they hang the rest of the season, but be sure to only check the trail cameras towards the middle of the day when deer are less active to keep from making them skittish.
Consistency is crucial to your success with trail cameras. If you check them regularly at the same time of day, deer are much less likely to get spooked by your presence and you’re more likely to get a good shot. Happy hunting!
~ Ready to Fire News