By: Jeff Sturgis
Do you capture more daytime or nighttime trail camera pictures? For most, nocturnal pictures rule the majority of their trail cam pics. However, I have experienced that being disciplined in your trail cam strategy approach, can deliver great rewards! While the primary cause of nocturnal buck movement is hunting pressure, the good news is that tactful hunting and habitat practices can combine, to increase the amount of daytime buck trail cam pictures on the lands that you hunt.
4 Tips TO Get more daytime trail camera photos
While hunting pressure is the main reason for a lack of daytime buck pictures, it comes in many forms. When you combine hunting pressure with habitat deficiencies, you can easily create an environment where card pulls result in mostly nighttime trail cam photos. Here are 4 ways to increase your number of daytime trail cam photos.
Knowing when to access is also critical to preserving the sanctity of the property and influencing daylight deer activity. Hunting whitetails aren't about trying to learn how to hunt during every condition. By staying out of the woods on poor condition days, the local mature buck herd will be lulled into a pattern of daytime use that you can take advantage of when the conditions are optimum. The same goes for checking trail cameras. Unnecessary or additional trips through the woods increase the likelihood of spooking deer and encouraging nocturnal deer activity. Check trail cameras sparingly and only when the conditions permit stealthy access.
Concealing your scent, sound, and sight from the local herd is critical to increasing daytime movement. Deer can be turned off by human odor several hours after your enter or exit a stand location. When accessing a tree stand or checking a trail camera, it is in your best interest to avoid walking on or crossing, any heavily trafficked deer areas. If you are already committed to a stand location and access route, avoid the temptation of rotating your SD cards prematurely. Instead, plan trail cam locations and access routes that allow you to change cards on the way to or from your hunting activities, as well as during the middle of the day within deer-less locations.
If your gear squeaks, rattles, rips, snaps or zips...I would personally fix it, or toss it. The same goes for treestands. If it makes noise, your hunt will often be over before it even begins. If someone could stand 50 yards away and hear your access, just imagine how far away a deer could hear you.
Lastly, conceal yourself. Walk to and from the woods in a manner that leaves you undetected. Using screening or elevation changes can also increase the number of daytime trail cam pics in your favor.
Use Blackout Infrared Trail Cameras
At this day in age, it’s time to accept the idea that Blackout Infrared Cameras are the way to go. Traditional red-glow infrared trail cameras tend to spook deer, and that’s not something to risk when it comes to trail cam strategy.
Provide Quality Daytime Deer Habitat
While most habitats tend to be ok when it comes to being able to hide and hold deer, various improvements can drastically increase a parcel's potential to hold a quality herd throughout the daytime. Hinge cutting and other timber management techniques can drastically insulate your hunting movements and define where deer will bed and travel on your land. The more you define where deer bed and travel, the more that you can define how, where and why you hunt. These improvements will, in turn, provide an added sense of security that promotes not only daytime deer movement but daytime trail cam pics.
Provide a Preferred and Secure Afternoon Food Source
You can have a great deer parcel without great cover, but you can't have a great deer parcel without the ability to control a deer herd's preferred movement to a great afternoon food source. Providing a diverse and bountiful food source to the local deer herd can help to hold deer on or near your property, however, by also allowing the deer to use it daily without interruption throughout the entire hunting season, is crucial for developing a daily feeding pattern that will take place before nightfall.
Daytime trail camera buck pictures are a reward worth working towards. We as hunters and habitat managers have a direct influence on whether we have a high number of daylight buck movements, or not. Through strategic access, habitat improvements and trail cam strategies, you can achieve a greater number of daytime buck trail camera photos. Make sure to be disciplined in your trail cam approach this season, so you can enjoy the rewards that will follow.
Jeff Sturgis is a whitetail deer habitat consultant and writer of the whitetail series "Whitetail Success by Design". For more information on Jeff and to read more of his posts, visit www.whitetailhabitatsolutions.com!