Mounting your camera properly can spell the difference between successfully capturing your game and ending the hunting season with no trophy to show off. A trail camera makes a good investment as long as you are able to make the most of the device using these simple tips.
Mount in a location where in and out will be easy for you–without being detected by your prey.
Overuse of the trail cam can be your undoing, so fight the huge temptation to do more frequent checking than necessary. Checking to see results on a daily basis can result in your target becoming familiar with your activity instead of the other way around. You don’t want whitetails to be able to know of your daily intrusions into the woods more than you know of theirs. Fight the urge to inspect the trail cam for at least a week or so.
Choose locations that are more transitional than anything, where entry and exit will be easy for you without being detected. Some seasoned hunters even suggest covering your natural scent using rabbit tobacco or sweet balsam. Another effective scent masker would be crushed fresh pine needles that you can wipe the juice of on your hunting apparel. You can also try rubbing the juice side of an apple on your clothes, or spritzing them with some apple cider.
Mount the trail cam where there’s heavy traffic, as well as farther away, when needed.
The best locations to mount the unit are main trails that lead to water and food. Deer tracks should be easily found along the muddy bank of a creek or pond, on favorite mineral licks in the spring as well as the fence line adjacent to a field of beans in the summer. Pay attention to areas where the deer are most likely to cross.
One essential thing to also take note of is that most top newer models of trail cams provide motion detection along with passive infrared heat detection, and that both must be triggered for the camera to start event recording of image capture. This is a memory space-saving feature that ensures that no snapshot is wasted on images that are not of warm blooded creatures. Trail cams of more inferior quality take longer to power up, focus and capture an image, with some economy units even having an annoying delay of five seconds or longer. To combat this, you may want to set up a supplemental camera farther from the trail or at an angle of at least 45 degrees from deer paths, so you can get a wider angle of coverage.
Make an effort to create a bedding area proximate to a food source.
Ever wonder why the food plot you create only generates shots on a mounted trail cam after 10 pm? It’s a sign that mature bucks are staying away from that site, as they prefer to spend the day in an area where there is less pressure or more protective daytime bedding. You should simply make a better bedding area for your target near the food source to motivate bucks to bed much closer where you want them and to show up immediately before or after dusk.
Be cautious about locating a buck’s hideout.
While it does require a greater amount of food for taking care of the fawn, and older fawns and yearlings need protein-rich food to fuel their growth, mature bucks often form bachelor groups in remote sites where there’s enough food to support their needs for mineral to grow back their antlers, and enough protein to help them gain back the weight they lose during the rut and to help maintain muscle mass.
Studies on deer behavior have found mature bucks to seldom veer away more than 55 acres in the summer season. However, if you find that ideal spot, do not overload it with too many cameras as well as your natural scent.
Take extra care when placing trail cams on areas with rubs and scrapes.
A beginner trail cam owner might eagerly place units over rubs and scrapes, which is fine as long as the flash has been disabled prior to mounting and the unit is not checked more than once every week. Nonetheless, one thing going against you here is that at pre-rut, mature bucks will freshen their scrapes after the sun sets. Mounting the trail cam about 30 to 50 yards from the scrape over a path going to and leaving the path is sensible. This will effectively prevent the batteries from getting drained due to overusage of the flash at the rub or scrape site and will also help you get a better perspective of the direction of travel of the buck.
It’s all about seamless integration.
Deer can be particularly wary of potential danger and remain on high alert. That being said, a trail cam is designed to capture images without the deer knowing. Help the device do its job effectively by making sure it won’t be seen by your target. hide the unit in a pile of brush, sword fern fronds or moss, making sure the face or the lens and infrared sensor are not obstructed . Leaving it out in the open on a single tree only creates the possibility of vandalism by other people and detection by your target.