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Tactics

Recon the Right Way: 10 Ways to Improve Trail Camera Effectiveness

by Tony J. Peterson   |  January 6th, 2015 0

The easiest way to enter the bowhunting season with false expectations about early season success is to use cameras wrong—or at least—lazily. Taking your camera out to the edge of a food plot or a soybean field, hanging it, and then checking it every week or two may feel like you’re scouting correctly, however you’re probably under-utilizing these new-age tools.

Instead, consider hanging your cameras to answer questions about deer movement. For example, it’s Whitetail 101 to know that deer are going to use prime food sources throughout the summer. How they get to and from those food sources, where they bed, where they water, and where they browse are all questions that are far more difficult to answer. And they are perfect for scouting cameras.

Aside from taking inventory and getting some sweet pics of velvet-racked bucks, setting cameras in easy spots doesn’t do you much good as a hunter. Cameras hung on places that aren’t easily observable will tell you things that can lead to quality fall hunting spots, which is the goal. They’ll also tell you whether the deer use those places at all, which is like pre-fishing for a bass tournament and eliminating dead water until a pattern or hotspot emerges.

If you plan to run cameras next summer, start thinking about where you’re going to place them now. Although a subtle trail in a wooded finger leading to an alfalfa field or clover plot might not be as exciting as hanging the camera directly on the field edge, it might just tell you when and where a mature buck likes to travel before and after he eats. That’s a good step toward getting an arrow into him, especially since he is likely to reduce daytime movement once he sheds his velvet.

If you’re interested in truly scouting with your cameras, take a look at these 10 prime camera locations for pinning down deer movement.

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