Overusing Your Trail Cameras?

Sunday Oct 16, 2016

We love the rush, that’s partly why we hunt. Harvesting a deer is top of the list for excitement, but getting that buck on camera that you’re trying to harvest isn’t far behind.

It’s like opening a present on Christmas morning, every single time. You never know what’s hiding underneath that wrapping. Sitting around at your desk all week wondering just what is walking by my camera right now. Luckily, some may actually know with the invention of the trail cam texts or emails.

For the rest of us, it can be a struggle. Pulling that card is often the first thing on our minds come the weekend or any amount of free time, but should you check it? As fun as these toys are to use as hunters, they can often be detrimental to our success.

Big, giant, monster, ghostly, mature bucks, the kind we all dream of, are smart. If you have a trail camera focused on their core area, it’s likely they know of it and know every single time you go in and check it. However, will this disturbance be enough to affect their patterns and behavior? This is a question you should ask yourself every time before checking a camera.

Early season, it’s much easier to get away with a little scent and check your camera more often. When the velvet comes off, it can be a different story. Patterns changes and the wisdom reappears. Hardly ever will I tuck a camera deep into a bedding area or somewhere I may see a buck when I actually go to pull the card. If a camera does find a spot in these locations, usually it will typically be close to a stand only to be check after a hunt.

For me, it’s mineral licks early and then transitioning to scrape limbs or food plots. Usually, there are some classic trees I can count on every year for great, consistent pictures while using a few as rovers to check new and different areas.

Checking these cameras mid-day or when you go to the stand is certainly the best options for the least amount of disturbance. However, holding off and waiting as long as you can between pulls is certainly going to help minimize disturbance. For this reason, reliable cameras with a long lasting battery can be very worth the expense. When you don’t have to worry about a camera not working or something going wrong, you can sleep much easier at night.

Before entering the woods, just ask yourself, “Is it worth the disturbance?” If you can justify it, then go see what treasures that card may be holding for you. If not, it might be worth it to hold off until your next trip. A little self-restraint could help you get an opportunity at a deer rather than pushing him out in an attempt to see if he came through the previous day.

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