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The use of trail cameras...advantage or disadvantage?

11/30/14 @ 1:23 PM
MEMBER since 6/13/06
I have been contemplating the use of trail cameras for about 5 seasons now. We have a little more than 350 acres and just over 20 stands on our property. We have hunted this land for 43 years and have been very successful in taking deer. I've used cameras in the past, but I never really felt like they gave me that much of an advantage. First, where do you put cameras on 350 acres? We have a bit of everything...marsh, hardwoods, cattails and redbrush, crop fields, etc. If I put a camera on all 20 stands, It would break me financially. Second, how does knowing a buck that is nocturnal on your property give you an advantage? All of the pics that I got of bucks were always at night and since you can't legally hunt at night, this information to me is not very helpful. Third, how can you not be spreading scent around the entire property checking cameras or even bumping deer? Like I said, with that much land, I can't possibly check all of them without disrupting some of the bedded deer on the property. We have 4 main crop fields on the property, half of them are alfalfa, and the other half are corn. They get rotated every 3 years. Just before archery season, the farmer takes the corn off for bedding and silage. This also always screws up the patterns of the deer. I don't need trail cameras to tell me this, I've seen it first hand every year.

If somebody has some legitimate techniques on how to use cameras and solutions to my perceived problems, I would love to hear it. Hope everyone is having a great season.

12/3/14 @ 4:35 PM
User since 2/2/09
Went and pulled my cards and half my cams yesterday. The one over the butcher scraps had neat pics. Crows (of course neither of the 2 gray ones I've been trying to get proof of for people ) 3 eagles at once, a pair of red tails, a fisher and a coyote all visited. Back to deer......Friday night before gun opener there were 6 deer in a plot..not another one in there until this past Monday night. This is where the cams are kind of nice. You wouldn't know the place is loaded with deer based on gun season sightings, but the cams don't lie. Same scenario on my other cams too.

12/3/14 @ 4:22 PM
User since 6/17/01
I use to giggle about how my buddies would react when they brought in their "chips". Then they actually created a website to enhance what they were seeing. (BigGameLogic). I now have two cameras and thats not enough! Cameras prolong your season of enjoyment. The images that can be captured are priceless, coyotes, coons, fawns, you name it. You just have to be smart about placement, frequency of checks and scent control.

12/2/14 @ 1:03 PM
B Fish
User since 6/26/10
I personally don't use them but I have first hand experience with two people on totally different parcals of land who do.

1. The one guys has many of them, like 15 or more and they are the higher end ones that he can view without pulling a card or going into the woods. I don't know much about them but I am guessing they are costly. He uses them exclusively for bow hunting. He watches them very close and when the buck appears that he is willing to take and the wind is correct he hunts and more often than not kills a dandy. He actually spends very few days on stand. (Right or wrong, I don't know. It's just the facts)

2. The second guys used to bow hunt a lot, and did good. But now he has trail cameras and to be honest he now spends more time dinking around with his cameras and doesn't get on stand. He sure has some nice pictures of big bucks but because he is spending so much time messing with his cameras he is probably scenting the place up and it never fails year after year the neighbors kill most of the bucks he has on the camera earlier in the year. (I wonder why they always move?)

So I am not saying if they are right or wrong but these are two situations I know of. For me I have found that less time on the same stand/area is probably more productive. I really like to watch the scent/wind because once you get busted, the spot is probably done.

1/9/15 @ 2:49 PM
User since 7/20/09
I've had them help already. I don't have much land to put them on where I feel they will be there when I go to check them, but one spot behind my house I always have one. One year I had a nice buck on there during day light a number of times. Not a spot I hunt all that much but after seeing the pictures I decided to put more effort in there. Only needed one sit though and he came by right on queue. Definitely won't work that way all the time, but I thought it was pretty cool.

I did have one older buck up north I shot that scented my trail near my camera. I had rubber boots on and thought I was scent free (as much as a guy can hope) and I checked the camera first, then sat in my stand. The buck came in and as soon as he hit my tracks in the snow he froze and started back pedaling. Luckily it was ML season and not bow season.

12/1/14 @ 6:52 PM
MEMBER since 6/13/06

This is exactly what happened when I was using the cameras...for four years in a row!!! That is why I sold them all. Ignorance is bliss I guess. I just kept passing and passing, each year eating my tag.

I don't need to see the big bucks on camera to know they are out there. I either see them the first two weeks of archery in the marsh with binoculars or I get the report from the neighbors. The biggest bucks I have seen on our property have always been in the marsh, either in the cattails or in the red brush. There is really no place to put a camera in the marsh...there are no trees. I know they are there, that isn't the issue. I hear guys using these cameras to "pattern" big bucks. I however never have gotten pics of big deer in the daytime. This is why I am questioning the use of cameras to help me shoot a big mature buck.

12/1/14 @ 6:32 PM
User since 4/7/10
Could also think of it this way. You know what's out there, and if you see a small buck when hunting, you decide to pass on it to shoot that bigger buck(s) that you got on cam even though its at night. Next thing you know, season is over and you haven't shot a deer even thought you had a chance.

12/1/14 @ 3:31 PM
User since 2/2/09
I run 4 cans on about 350 acres. I can say that a camera has never directly resulted in a a buck being killed by our group. We don't use them in a sense to really "pattern" a particular animal. We use them for inventory in the summer. And honestly notice more than entertainment and confidence boosters during season.

12/1/14 @ 2:28 PM
User since 1/8/13
they are both good and bad. better to keep near food sources or mineral sights (if legal). not good to have by the area your stands are going to be in for the fact that one will want to check them and leave their scent and ruin the spot. I like them for inventory. once I know what is around, there really is no need to run them and ruin a spot. when getting night time pics, that animal is most likely bedding somewhere off your property and making his rounds for the night and passing through your land. it's not necessarily nocturnal. most deer are not. if you can get close enough to their beds, you can kill them in the day.

12/1/14 @ 12:36 PM
Cold Front
MEMBER since 7/9/01
To answer the question , I think they offer you an advantage. In my case, I use them to determine what bucks are around. It allows me to figure what buck I will shoot and how hard to hunt. If I don't have a stud around, I may take a decent 3 year old. If there is a big one around, it will be that one or nothing. On off years, I won't hunt as hard either. Some of my neighbors and I share our pictures so the photo evidence is more comprehensive than if I just had my cameras to work with. I only have 2 out there and they both are in areas that I can drive the wheeler right up to them. I only check them every 10 days or so. You have to be careful that you aren't leaving too much scent around. Mrt.

12/1/14 @ 12:12 PM
User since 7/5/01
X2 on a lot of what willfish had to say. We have a similar sized property and run 8-10 cameras. Most of them are placed on field edges and logging trails, so they are easy to get to. We have 1 that is not, and that one will get retrieved via ATV or if hunting in the area we will bring a card to swap out. If you are anywhere decent, you will be amazed at how many bucks you will never lay eyes on. Also, very good at patterning certain deer. On a propery your size, If you run a half dozen cameras or more, you will notice some bucks hang only or mostly in certain areas. You will also learn more about the deer on your property. You will find out which ones are homebodies and which ones are roamers. They have different personalities in that aspect just like people do. If you want to pass certain deer to give them an additional year or two, your homebodies are the safest bet. Also, we don't put the cameras right by stands on purpose. Some stand locations might work out that way, but it is just random odds. If the buck is on the property and active in that area, a well scouted and placed stand will produce whether or not you are placing a camera right there for confirmation. One of our best spots is 200 yards from the closest camera.

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