The Most Effective Trail Camera Tips for Bucks Hunting

Do You Use Any of These Trail Camera Tips?

All across the nation, deer seasons will soon open. That means hunting efforts will soon crop up. But not yet. For now, it’s still only scout mode. Here’s the most effective and comprehensive trail camera plan you’ll find for deer hunting. It’s long. But worth the read.

Prep Your Cameras

I’m an average Joe hunter, just like you. I can’t afford to go out and buy a dear trail cam hd wireless cameras. It would be nice. They’re fine cameras. But it isn’t feasible. Instead, make due with what you have, but make sure your equipment is in top condition before putting it out.

Things to remember:

Replace old batteries.

Wipe battery contact points clean.

Ensure cameras seal well.

Empty and format SD cards.

Check cameras settings (date, time, etc.).

Understand Coverage Areas

Trail camera efforts aren’t effective unless you have adequate gear. You need enough cameras to effectively cover the land you hunt. Some sources recommend one camera per every 100 acres. In a perfect world, that’s enough to capture most bucks, as their home ranges often average out around 600 to 650 acres. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and I don’t follow the 100-acre rule.

Use the right number of trail cameras for the area you hunt. (Heartland Bowhunter photo)

Use the right number of trail cameras for the area you hunt. (Heartland Bowhunter photo)

Why? Because deer don’t read scripts. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve posted two trail cameras — 100 to 200 yards apart — and watched completely different deer. Sure, some deer visited both. But I’ve witnessed enough cases where they didn’t to convince me that the 100-acre rule isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Deer do their own thing. Home ranges aren’t necessarily circular, triangular, or any other defined shape. Shapes of home ranges vary, and the paths deer travel vary within them.

Personally, I don’t worry so much about how many acres I have per camera. Instead, I look for the best locations — with the highest odds of capturing photos of deer — to post cameras. That might mean I have one camera on 100 acres. That might mean I have three cameras on 100 acres. It always differs.

Know Where to Focus

This is the snag people often get caught up on. Have the right mindset based on the time of year. That’s essentially what you’re doing. You’re hunting them with a camera. Take advantage of their seasonal behaviors.

Food is king. Focus on it. Remember water, also. And certainly don’t forget bedding and security cover. You know the property you hunt better than anyone else. Look for these things. Beyond that, look for trails that deer frequently travel along. Set up along those routes where deer are forced to pinch down.

Positioning the Camera

Positioning of the camera is very important. You need quality photos to distinguish different deer, and you can achieve that by effectively arranging your cameras.

Keep in mind the following things: 

Hang cameras at waist height (3 to 4 feet).

Don’t angle cameras pointing too high or low.

If on trails, angle cameras at 45 degrees.

Secure cameras down tight enough there is no movement.

Knock down all limbs, grass, and debris in front of the camera.

Notice that I suggested 3 to 4 feet for trail camera height. Sometimes I follow that; sometimes I don’t. It depends on how well my cameras are camouflaged. If they are concealed well at that height, I leave them. If not, I hang them higher (6 to 7 feet) and angle them downward.This will keep your cameras off their radar, as they rarely look up at cameras like they do when they're at eye-level.

 Ways to Distinguish Bucks

You need to be able to distinguish one buck from another. Most times, it’s easy to do. But sometimes it’s not. Here are some of the physical characteristics that make it easier:

Facial coloration,

Fur patterns,

Fur coloration,

Scars and markings,

Body size,

Antler spread,

Antler mass,

Tine length, and

Abnormal points.

Use trail cameras in conjunction with other scouting strategies. (Brad Herndon photo)

Use trail cameras in conjunction with other scouting strategies. (Brad Herndon photo)

As you can see, there are a lot of small things you can look for to distinguish bucks from one another. All deer look different. The more you study trail camera photos, the more you will notice this.

Ways to Spook Less Deer with Your Trail Cameras

Trail cameras are extremely innovative. But they can be extremely ineffective if used improperly, too. Are you spooking deer with your trail cameras? Odds are high that you are unless implementing these seven tactics.

The age of big, bulky cameras is over. They’re too noticeable. Those larger models also seemed to be louder models. If you want to spook less deer with your cams, use smaller and quieter models. That’s the first step in keeping deer off your radar.

Forget the flash cameras, too. Choose LED models. This will help reduce the number of deer you alert to your cameras. Keep your cameras more covert with this simple tip.

They don’t put Realtree camo on cameras for no reason. Buy cameras that have camouflage on them. This will help conceal cameras.

Take the camo option one step further and “brush in” your cameras. This will make those camo cameras even harder to detect. And if you want to go all-out with this, do something as shown in the photo above. That's hard core.

Don’t hang a camera in a deer’s line of sight. Hang them up high where they’re out of view. As the old saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” The same goes for trail cameras and deer.

As always, scent is very important. Reduce it as much as possible by spraying your cameras down after handling them. Also, wear gloves when checking them and keep the wind in your favor when doing so, too. These also are things you can do to spook less deer.

This is likely the best tip on this list for keeping deer from detecting your cameras. Put them in locations that you won’t spook deer when checking them. Don’t hang cameras in or near bedding areas. Instead, hang them on food sources, water sources and other locations that won’t take you close to bedded deer. Then, only check them when you know deer won't be up on their feet.

Think Effectiveness vs. Invasiveness

It’s important to be smart about how you use your trail cameras. You want to gain the scouting intel you need without alerting deer to your presence. That’s why I use reserved tactics first, and then I move in deeper. But always use strategies to reduce pressure whether your approach is low-impact or high-impact.

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