Trail cameras provide hunters with vital information about their deer herd. It can tell a hunter how big the herd is, what their eating, and what time of day they usually pass through the property. All of this information can set you up for a successful hunting season in the fall. We’ve suggested the top three places to set up a trail camera for maximum surveillance and maximum success.
Food sources are prime places to set up a trail camera during the summer. Deer will be looking for protein during these months, especially does that are nursing their fawns. The protein is vital to the fawns’ development and will help them grow and prepare for the cold winter ahead. Bucks also need protein to grow their antlers as large as possible. Set a trail camera pointed at your food plot or Feedbank Gravity Deer Feeder and monitor how often, and when, the deer are eating. If they are not responding to the food you’re putting out or are eating more than you anticipated, now is the time to make adjustments so they can get on the right track before fall.
Water sources are also deer hot spots. Set out a Wild Water® System if you haven’t already and place your trail camera nearby. The water system will attract deer to your property, especially if you also have a food plot. The one-two punch of food and water in the same location will entice deer to set up shop with bedding areas nearby. They don’t like to have to travel between necessities, so having access to everything in one place will encourage them to stay. Track the buck to doe ratio and monitor any deer that are approaching a size or age that would make them eligible to harvest. They might hit a growth spurt between now and hunting season, so make note of any deer that are on the cusp and monitor their progress.
Another great place to set up a trail camera is in an area where two or more trails intersect. These crossroads offer a way to monitor deer from multiple directions and you might catch a deer that doesn’t normally visit your property. This will give you information about neighboring herds and what kind of deer are on the outskirts of your property. Try to set up your camera in a central location that has a view of every entrance. Place it at the edge of a clearing that has a clear, unobstructed view.
Even though the information on the trail cameras is important for your research, try not to check them too frequently. It may be the off season, but you still run the risk of alerting the deer to your presence if you’re not careful. Use a scent eliminator when you visit your trail cameras and try not to linger.
Monitoring trail cameras is an important way to gather information about your herd, keep track of their growth, and the analyze the trends from year to year. Trail cameras can give you insight into increasing or decreasing populations and any changes in diet. If you know what your herd looks like in the summer, you can make changes to their diet if necessary and anticipate what you’ll be hunting in the fall.
Where do you set up your trail cameras during the off season? Let us know your trail camera tactics the comments below!