Trail Camera Tips for Serious Whitetail Hunters
DuckBuckGoose -PHJ ProStaff - Cincinnati, OH
As the old saying goes, “luck is where preparation meets opportunity”. There is no place where this more true than it is in hunting trophy whitetails. Using a trail camera properly will help you better prepare for your hunts and choose ambush locations that can provide more opportunities to see big bucks. If you follow some of the tactics discussed here, and the new ones you discover along the way, maybe you’ll get lucky this season and take home the trophy of a lifetime.
Setting Up Your Camera:
If possible, face your camera in a Northward facing or Southward facing position. This will help prevent the sun from backlighting your subject and making it a non-descript silhouette in the photo.
When placing your cameras make sure you keep a low-profile and stay as scent free and quiet as you would if you had your weapon in hand. Make sure you wear rubber boots and find the most low impact route you can to the camera’s location. Also, spray down the camera with a scent killing spray, but make sure not to get spray on the lens, since those sprays can leave behind a residue that can cover the lens and blur your pictures.
Leave It Be:
Just One Piece of the Puzzle:
Once you have the picture of a good animal ask yourself questions like:
- Where do I think he’s bedding down? If you don’t know, use the digital scouting tools available on ProHuntersJournal.com, Google Earth, or other aerial photo resources and terrain maps to help you make and informed “best-guess”. Knowing where he’s bedding down is valuable information and will help you better determine his travel direction and the best spot for your ambush.
- Did I get pictures of the animal at night? Is the animal moving around at all during daylight? If he is, chances are he’s moving somewhere between where you captured photos of him in the dark and where you think he’s bedding down.
- Did I get any pictures of the animal in the morning? If so, you need to get further in and up the trail you suspect he’s using — so that your odds are better of intercepting him during daylight hours and before he returns to the bedding area. Mature bucks do most of their moving around under the cover of darkness, so you have to use all the information you have to help increase your odds of seeing him in the light of day.
Keep A Running Journal of Your Photos:
If you use a digital scouting camera, we recommend you get an extra memory card, so you can swap in a blank one in the field and take your photos home for closer study and record keeping. Upload your best photos into the PHJ Journal as a scouting record. That will let you keep an organized, searchable record of your photos, and will allow you to easily keep track exactly where they were taken, when they were taken and other observations or lessons you learned from the evidence the photos captured. Not only that, but you’ll be able to share photos with your buddies on the site (only if you want to of course…make sure you don’t give away too much information or you could create unwanted competition for yourself). If you use a film based scouting camera, ask the photo developer for a digital copy of the images on a CD. That way you will also be able to add your photos and records to your PHJ Scouting Journal.
Do you have other scouting camera tips or strategies? Have you learned something new since using scouting cams? Please share what you’ve learned with other site users by posting a comment in the comments section below.
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