Trail cameras are meant to help you, don’t let them ruin your hunting area, especially a honey hole.
By: Alex Comstock
A honey hole, it’s usually what you’d think of as a go-to hunting area. A place that you save to hunt for where there are perfect conditions, or for that perfect time of the year. They are sacred, and few and far between. Going about monitoring an area such as this with trail cameras can be trickier than you might think. Trail cameras can have a major effect on your success levels when it comes to hunting a honey hole, but if you’re not careful, you can ruin it before you ever get the chance to hunt it. Here’s how to effectively wreck that sacred hunting spot through using trail cameras.
You Check Your Camera Too Often
The biggest mistake I see with people and trail cameras is the urge to check a camera too often. By continuously checking a trail camera, you’re doing a few negative things that might reduce your chances of triumph. First of all, a honey hole is usually a place that you already know is a noteworthy hunting area. With that in mind, you don’t need to run in and check a trail camera in that location every week. Be mindful that deer are just as good (or better) at patterning humans, as we are at patterning deer. If you are stomping way back into the timber, into your secret honey hole to check a camera often, it can have the same effect on the area as if you were actually hunting it. In this case, waiting to hunt the area can then subsequently become pointless. The odds of pushing a buck out, or helping influence him to become nocturnal can be done simply by you being in the area multiple times to check a camera.
You Don’t Worry About Scent/Wind
Even if you don’t check a trail camera often, there is still a way to ruin that honey hole by checking your camera sparsely, and that is if you don’t consider the wind and your scent. Think about how you access that area to hunt. You will probably play the wind to your advantage, with the goal of not letting your scent blow right to a mature buck. If you don’t worry about this when checking a camera, you can educate a mature buck before you ever get the chance to hunt him. The same goes with your ground scent. Don’t go checking a camera in a honey hole wearing tennis shoes. You may be able to get away with this if you have cameras along a field edge and can drive your four wheeler or truck right up to it, but going back into a honey hole is a different game. Wear rubber boots, or one thing I even like to do is wear hip waiters. This way I don’t have to worry about brushing up against small trees, branches, and other foliage like this with my legs, and having a buck come by after I’m gone, and knowing I was there. The last precaution to take is to wear some type of gloves. Any type of gloves should do the trick, the goal is to simply minimize your level of scent as much as possible, so a buck doesn’t walk through the area hours after you, and know you were there.
You Place Your Camera “In The Good Stuff”
Odds are, if you have a honey hole, it’s a honey hole for a reason. Whether you’ve had previous success there, or it always seems to have mature bucks show up during a certain time of the year, you know it’s a place you’re going to hunt eventually. With that said, why place your trail camera smack dab in the middle of that area, and have to walk right through the good stuff to check it? Instead, consider placing a camera or two on the outskirts of that honey hole. That might mean on a field edge, or over a scrape on the outside of a bedding area. Whatever the case may be, you can still learn what deer are in the area, with the only difference being that it won’t be right in front of your tree stand, and you might get more nighttime pictures. By having a little restrain, and keeping that camera out of the good stuff, it won’t hurt you, and you’ll hopefully have that success you dream of when you think of hunting your honey hole.
Like I said in the opening, trail cameras are meant to help you, not spoil your odds of having an encounter with a mature buck. The camera itself can only gather the information that you set it up to get. If they are going to hurt you, it will be because of an error on your part. When it comes to a honey hole, you need to be especially vigilant with how you use a trail camera. If you can be smart with them, odds are you’ll get them to help you, not hurt you.