Early Scouting for Deer: Use Trail Cameras After Feeders are Removed



By: John E. Phillips
By: John E. Phillips

You must remove all bait and deer attractants from the property where you’ll hunt deer in many states at least 10 days before hunting season starts. (Be sure to carefully check the regulations regarding baiting deer and using deer attractants in the state where you hunt.) Many hunters recommend removing all feed or attractants 15 – 20 days before the beginning of hunting season, so as not to have any problems with game officials. You still can leave your trail cameras out once the season starts to see if the same deer will walk the same routes they’ve used when you’ve baited them, or where you’ve used attractants in months past. By putting-out bait or attractants before the season and placing your cameras close to those places, there’s a very-good chance the deer will walk the same routes they’ve used as they’ve come to the bait or the attractants. If you remove your bait or attractants well ahead of deer season but leave your cameras out, your cameras will let you know what’s happening.


Some trail cameras feed photos and videos to a website you can visit anytime day or night to see what deer are moving in front of each one of your camera locations. These trail cameras allow you to stay at home and do your scouting from your computer. A trail camera that shoots video usually will let you get a longer look at the deer on your property and better study the antler development of each deer that walks in front of your camera. Don’t forget to look for deer sign also when you’re in the fields hunting doves in September. You may be able to pinpoint deer trails and bedding areas near green fields.


Early-season scouting for deer has become so high-tech that today we can learn probably 100 times the amount of information through using bait stations and trail cameras as we’ve once learned by scouting all season and after deer season on foot. You can learn information now that will help you hunt more efficiently during the rut too. If you’re getting far-more pictures of does than bucks on a camera at a bait station, don’t forget – that’s where you need to hunt during the rut. A concentration of does means the bucks will show-up there then.


Yes, trail cameras, feeders and attractants can be expensive to use. However, if you consider the amount of time required to scout effectively, and the vast information you’ll learn from these tools, you’ll find them inexpensive and learn they’re much-more reliable than the hours you spend in the woods. Although scouting for deer has gone high-tech, it enables you to manage your deer herd better, determine the quality of bucks on the property you hunt and better learn how and when the deer on your property move.

To learn more about John E. Phillips’ book, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” click here http://amzn.to/1IXH08l.

Know bucks and bows

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