Are you getting the most out of your trail cameras? If you only use them during season, you could be missing out on critical information.
By: Alex Comstock
Trail cameras are such a popular tool to be used for deer hunting, you’d think that more hunters would be using them all throughout the year. Time and time again, I see hunters that run cameras all summer and fall, and once the season ends, the cameras come down. I think there is a lot of information you can learn by running cameras through the offseason, and in order to get the full maximization of a trail camera, it could be best to run them throughout the whole year. Here’s why.
Who’s Still Around?
Among the uses for trail cameras in the offseason is being able to identify what bucks made it through the hunting season. I like to check cameras throughout the late winter after the season comes to a close, but when bucks are still holding antlers. It lets me know whose survived the season, where bucks are spending time in the late winter, and what bucks I could be after next year.
When Should I Shed Hunt?
One of the most important reasons for running cameras in the off-season for me, is they can help me determine when to shed hunt. If you’re worried about blowing deer out of an area while shed hunting before the majority of bucks have actually dropped, trail cameras can aid in letting you know when to start shed hunting. If legal, I like to run some type of bait to get bucks in front of my camera, and once I can comfortably say a majority of bucks have shed their antlers, I’ll get out to start shed hunting.
If you own property or have access to private land, trespassers don’t only trespass during hunting season. As I’m thinking about this, one of my buddies just recently was able to capture trail camera pictures of a guy stealing his stand. This doesn’t particularly apply to me as I don’t own property, or keep stands up on land I have permission to hunt usually, but if you own land, using trail cameras for security seems like a smart thing to do. If you are going to have trail cameras up specifically for security reasons, don’t be placing them in a normal fashion if you were just trying to get pictures of deer. Think about getting your camera(s) out of the line of sight of a person. Consider bringing a set of climbing sticks and putting a camera up high and pointed down. Think where people would most likely trespass, and have your camera set up almost as a trap.
It Gives You an Excuse To Be in The Field
Above everything else, running trail cameras throughout the year gives you an excuse to be out in the field, and can get you excited to do something. I don’t care if it’s July or January, I always get excited when I insert an SD card into my computer. Besides the learning that can happen, the information you can gather, and the chances of catching trespassers, trail cameras are fun. The fun doesn’t have to be limited to just summer and fall.
Trail cameras can be used for a variety of things. When it comes to the time of year after deer season, trail cameras can be more useful than some people think. I’d recommend if you don’t have any cameras in the field right now to go grab a camera, and head out to put one up.