We all do it. Set out each year, before, during and after, just hoping to get that one picture of the giant buck we know is making that particular rub or scrape. We set out numerous of trail cameras and monitor them closely. Through the years, I have learned from my mistakes and will continue to learn. However, I do have 5 Tips that will help you secure better trail camera photos!
Scent Control. I cannot express enough how important this aspect is. Scent control, when running cameras, is a must. You may get one picture of that giant, but if he smells you, you are done for. We spray all of our Covert Scouting Cameras down with 33 Point Buck Cover Scent, which is also an attractant. Wear your rubber boots and spray down each time you check your cameras. Do not waste your precious time by allowing the deer to pattern you.
Location. Location is key when it comes to placing cameras. I like to put my cameras in an area that is as close to the middle of the “X” as possible. That point where all those trails cross, that’s a funnel. Place your camera where you’ll catch a deer coming through from all angles. Also, creek crossings. Creeks, or any watering hole for that matter, will draw wildlife. Makes for some pretty awesome pictures!
Strategy. You obtain a new property, get a mineral and feed site going. Doesn’t mean you have to hunt it, but it is an awesome tool when monitoring your deer herd. It will become a social site and mature bucks, when the pre-rut approaches, will check the reception and location of does when traveling through there. This is my go-to when I am not having luck on my funnel locations. From here, you can expand your camera locations because you will be able to tell where your deer are coming from.
Changing Locations Throughout The Year. Start your cameras on a mineral or feed site. When the acorns start dropping, find your oak flats, find the hot oak trees and I promise you’ll get some great pics of mature bucks feeding. Once the pre-rut hits, move them to your heavy funnels. I like my cameras to be in my rut funnels no later than October 15th. Even if I do not get any pics there for a week or two, I’ll know exactly when the big boys are cruising through. The moment you start seeing mature bucks in daylight cruising through those funnels, you know its game time baby!
Don’t Over Check Your Cameras. Deer will pattern you, just as you are patterning them. Yes, some feed sites, deer will wait until you refresh and walk right in, but a mature buck, 9/10 times will begin to stray away, especially when their horns are hard. I like to wait a minimum of 7-10 days, 2 weeks in most spots. Sneak in, sneak out. However, with today’s technology, invest in a camera that will text you pictures from that specific rut funnel. That keeps you purely Covert in that set of woods. Once the big boys appear in daylight, watch your wind and the temperature, and jump in there!
I hope these tips help you in the future obtaining better trail camera photos. Running cameras can truly help a hunter figure out a property and hunt it efficiently. Good luck!