By Alex Comstock
Trail cameras can sometimes be an overthought when it comes to turkeys and turkey hunting. But if you put them to use and do it correctly, trail cameras can be an asset to you when chasing spring gobblers. In this blog post, we’ve taken some of the best information from previous blogs here on Exodus and compiled them into your go-to resource for everything pertaining to trail cams and turkeys. Plus, we’ve added a little extra information to help out!
The Right Level
This might seem obvious, but out of habit we often put trail cameras at the height to capture a picture of the game we are hunting. Since turkeys are smaller and aren't as always as easy to get on trail camera, adjusting the height according to the land is essential. Some rules of thumb to remember are: a higher trail camera set could cover more ground. Turkeys are much shorter than most game hunters use trail cameras for, so setting the camera at a lower level in a more dense area will allow for more vivid images.
If you've been hunting the farm for a few years, it's likely you know the hot spots for spring turkey strutting and traveling routes from the roost. However, if someone were to start from scratch, trail cameras could take the guesswork out of spring turkey hunting. Some great spots to start monitoring would include sunny hillsides and low forage field edges. Strutting areas can change quickly, but turkeys can become creatures of habit if abnormal elements stay out of the equation.
In order to find success, be open to optimizing your trail camera strategy. Try to run multiple cameras in various locations to gather enough information to zone in on the birds for the given area.
Trail cameras are great for turkey scouting, but remember some of the other basics that help fill tags. Roosting birds at night and glassing areas mid-morning help put turkeys on the ground. That isn't always an option, so employ a dedicated trail camera strategy and practice your diaphragm call for this spring.
A Great Example
A few years ago, I embarked on my first turkey hunt in Nebraska with my cousin who is a turkey nut, and the first thing we did was look through his trail camera photos to help determine where to hunt. The first-morning hunt, we knew based on trail camera pictures there was a great spot to be sitting come about 9:00 am. Knowing that we tried a new area right away in the morning, hoping to find birds come off the roost, and struck out. With the previous trail camera knowledge, later in the morning, we switched spots, and right on cue, I arrowed a bird a little after 9:00 am. Long story short? Don’t be afraid to use trail cameras to aid in your turkey hunting efforts.
Cellular cams can also be a great tool when it comes to turkey hunting. Often times, toms will be utilizing sunny areas to strut during mid-morning, but those areas can shift slightly from day to day. You could be out hunting near one of these areas, but then get cell-cam images that come through at one of these other nearby spots. If and when that happens, you’ll know where toms are spending their time that day and could decide to make a move.
Ultimately, when it comes to turkey hunting, you want to stack the deck in your favor as much as possible, just like any other kind of hunting. Trail cameras can undoubtedly help you in your hunting efforts. When put to use correctly, they can most definitely increase your odds of shooting a big ol’ Tom.