Caught on Camera

Technology has made its way into every aspect of our lives and hunting is no different. With high powered scopes, binoculars, range finders, and many more helpful tools, it is no surprise that cameras and video cameras are in that category too. Utilizing trail or game cameras in your hunting adventures can greatly benefit your land and your hunting success. There are a variety of sizes, styles, functions, and price ranges to fit every hunter’s needs allowing for accessibility to almost everyone.

 

Placing game cameras out in an area considered for hunting will aid in the scouting process because as much as I would love to be in every corner of the ranch at all hours of the day and night, it’s just not possible. Cameras can be great in helping you pick a prime hunting spot as well as monitoring behavior and action during the season as well. Before deciding on a new spot to hunt, take some time to put out a camera or two in the area; pay attention to any trails or bedding areas to help you determine the best place to set one up to maximize your results. Hopefully you will be able to see patterns and behaviors of deer (or any animals) coming and going, the time of day or night (most include a time & date stamp and temperature reading), as well as other factors that occur before and after noticeable movement. Pay attention to these patterns and monitor weather conditions as well; even keeping a log or journal of activity, especially if you have a high number of cameras out, will be beneficial. These cameras should be used in conjunction with your own scouting and observations as well.

 

Utilizing game cameras right before and during your season will provide an inventory of deer in your hunting area and can help tremendously in game management, especially in a new area. The pictures taken can be reviewed and allow you to determine what kind of deer are there and get an approximate age as well. When you head to your stand or blind to hunt, you will have a general idea of which deer are coming to your area and will help you make an informed decision on which deer to harvest or if you should wait for increased activity. For example, if in early season you see on camera repeated activity of a smaller buck that is still in a bachelor group with larger bucks, then when you are hunting and you see the smaller buck you will know that the possibility of the larger bucks coming in are high, therefore reminding you to wait or prepare for what may come.

 

Game cameras should not be your only source in determining which animal to harvest though because sometimes angles, lighting, and obstructions can prevent a good look at an animal on camera. Many times an animal will look different live than on camera and can be deceiving. If a buck is always facing away from you on camera or has his head down it may be difficult to get a true age determination on him until you can see him in front of you; but at the same time you will know to expect that buck and be ready to judge him quickly. The bottom line is that you should not base your decision to take an animal solely on a picture from a game camera, rather use them as a tool to aid you.

 

Although game cameras can be an extremely helpful tool, if you are not careful in your actions they can ruin your hunting area in a heartbeat. I am referring to ensuring you practice the same scent elimination and noise reduction when entering an area to set out cameras. Pay attention as if you were going to your stand or blind to hunt when setting up trail cameras; wear gloves or scent eliminators if necessary and keep the noise and amount of people and trips to a minimum. Make trips during low animal activity hours and be very observant of your surroundings. I have even heard that the best times to check your cameras are before or during rain storms because the rain will help wash away any scent you leave behind.

 

Finally, one of my favorite parts of using game cameras is catching unexpected animals, activity or surprises on these cameras. From catching a sweet moment between doe and fawn, an intense moment between fighting bucks, or other critters such as raccoons or foxes enjoying their nightlife, even if you don’t have your prime hunting animal on camera, you might just be pleasantly surprised or shocked at what you find. I know many of you have seen some interesting game camera picture so please share!!!

 

Feb 12, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: 4

 

4 comments on “Caught on Camera

  1. Candace, this is the perfect example of what it means to properly plan a successful outing.
    “Knowing is half the battle” – G.I. Joe
    We use technology in all facets of our lives, hunting is no different. Evolution is occurring so take advantage of it when you can. It will help with blind placement, movement patterns and becoming more familiar with your surroundings.
    As always, what we do is not just about the harvest, because like you said you can capture a really precious moment that people only see in movies or fantasy, the chance to witness nature unchanged by human influence.
    This is really just a long winded way of agreeing with everything you’ve said. I would recommend any of your articles to hunters of every variety

  2. Thia

    Great blog!! I especially love your last paragraph about the those cool, unexpected moments on game cameras. I use cameras that take pictures every 5 seconds during the day, so I can watch activity from animals off at a distance and the interactions between different animals, birds flying by, chipmunks,etc. Its always fun to see some creature that you don’t expect to see. Last fall, my camera caught just the nose of a moose! I had never seen a moose or even moose sign in that area, so that was a complete shock!! It’s such a blast to watch nature happen, whether you are there in person or watching via game camera!

    Thia

  3. My son puts out about 6 cameras starting in the summer, by the time fall comes around he knows which buck he will hunt for. This has worked for him very well and has shot many great bucks here in Northwest Ohio. Your right you capture many other animals during the day and night. It is a lot of fun checking the camera to see what you captured. have a nice evening.

    • Candace

      Thats awesome scott that you are seeing the benefits of using trail cameras. And yes it is fun to see some surprises on those cameras!!

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