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Using Trail Cameras Throughout Bow Season

Using Trail Cameras Throughout Bow Season

How to use trail cameras throughout the entire deer season with simple, yet effective tactics. 

By: Dan Johnson 

Time, it's one thing we all wish we had more of. Particularly during the hunting season. And without boring you to death with a ton of unnecessary details, I would like to tell you how trail cameras play their role in my yearly whitetail adventures.

Spring/Summer Months:

velvet-trail-camera-picture

I use trail cameras in the summer season for one reason, and one reason only, the Velvet Rut! Usually, in early May, I set out trail cameras over mineral stations to attract deer and basically take inventory of the deer that made it through last season and watch their antlers grow. I know this term is overused, but I’m like a kid on Christmas morning when I know I will be pulling my cards. There is no better feeling than flipping through the pictures your camera has taken over the past month and seeing a buck show up that you have been chasing for the last three years with his best set of antlers yet, or, having a picture of the biggest deer you have ever seen. Those “Oh shit!” moments really get me fired up for the season.

Fall Months:

scrape-trail-camera-picture

When September hits and the deer stop visiting the mineral stations and the velvet starts to come off, it’s time for me to migrate my trail cameras from those mineral stations to the travel corridors. Pinch points are my absolute favorite places to not only hunt but hang trail cameras as well. These areas concentrate the deer into a smaller area where you will more than likely get more pictures of the deer you are chasing. Statistics, ya know. Then in October, as I begin to hunt, I will start to use that information from those cameras to assist me in making my decision on where to actually hunt. Also, as the season moves forward and scrapes to start to pop up throughout the farm, I will move any extra cameras to capture what is hitting those scrapes. Long story short, this time of year my trail cameras are just as mobile as I am.

Winter Months:

 winter-trail-camera-pictures

It sucks that I even need to write this, but once bow season comes to a pause in December and the shotgun season starts up, I take my cameras out of the woods. There simply too many people running through the woods for me to feel comfortable with leaving them up. Unfortunately, in the past two years, the other hunters who share I the property with had multiple cameras, and tree stands stolen over the last two years.  Then, once the Orange Army splits, I try to put the cameras back out in those same travel routes including and food sources that might still be standing or are currently being worked. Again being mobile with my camera locations. In late January it’s time to remove 90% of the cameras from the woods and let them hibernate in my garage. The 10% that are left get moved over top of corn piles that I drop to get once again an inventory of the deer that made it through the entire hunting season and most importantly get some knowledge of when the antlers start to dropping so I know when to start shed hunting.

Overall, trail cameras play a huge role on how I approach my season. The information they provide helps in my decision making on where to hang my stands and when to move in for the kill. A friendly reminder just is sure to turn them to the “ON” position.