In a lifetime of hunting Whitetail Deer, I have witnessed nothing that changed the sport more than the advent of the Trail Camera. In the past, we hunters had to depend on fresh deer sign and the interpretation of that sign, as a major way of scouting for deer and any mature bucks that might be present. We learned to scout out food sources and the trails leading to and from these sources and bedding areas. Often we scouted sign that showed a nice buck was in our area, but could only guess at what that buck might look like.
The development and evolution of the trail camera changed all of this. When used correctly, we can now see photos of the deer in our areas, and keep better track of their daily habits. This includes different behavior and travel routes, as food sources change with the season and deer adjust their patterns relative to these changes.
In order to make the most of trail cameras there are a few things we as hunters must be aware of. My main objective is to learn more about my quarry, while not educating them on my presence. I like to use quality IR cameras, as they do not flash and alert the game to their presence. The newer camera systems that use no-glow or black lights are even better. The photos included in this article were all taken with what I think are the best trail cameras made today, Spypoint IR 10 cameras.
It is paramount that you are as scent free as possible and that you leave no scent evidence of your visit to check your camera. To make this possible I, and my staff, wear Grub’s Rubber bottom hunting boots. I insist on spraying these each trip with N-O-DOR Scent Elimination Spray from ATSKO. It is also important to wear rubber gloves while checking cameras and handling anything in the scouting area. I also like to spray down the camera with N-O-DOR after changing SD cards.
Trail Cameras are fun and a great way to learn much about the wildlife in your area. I like to set my cameras at food sources or on main trails leading to them. When the oaks start to drop acorns, everything changes here in WV and I start looking for acorns from white oaks and set my cameras relative to these. I also start to plan for stand sites for the next few months, as acorns will be the main food source during this time.
As you can see from some of the photos, I have some good bucks and bears to match wits with this season. Gotta love these cameras!