In today’s world of hunting, trail cameras are a vital tool to help hunters scout for deer that are in the area. Most hunters set out there trail cams and leave them in one area all season long. Do not make this mistake. To get the most out of your picture scouting, be sure to move the trail cams to prime locations based on the season. Here is a rough schedule to maximize the effectiveness to scout for big bucks for your hit list. This schedule will change based on the state you hunt and peak times of the rut in your area.
June – July – August
Where: Summer food sources, mineral blocks, supplemental feeding locations (where legal), and water sources in dry climates.
Why: Summer bucks will visit these places routinely, providing you the perfect chance to take an inventory of deer and check out antler growth.
Tip: Your cams will take lots of pictures now, so consider a secondary battery source and a big enough SD card.
Where: Trails leading to and from food sources and any new rubs appearing.
Why: The evening feeding pattern is a buck’s most predictable routine as archery seasons are opening. These pictures will tell you where to hunt.
Tip: Big bucks often hang back from field edges before entering. When you get pictures of a good buck near rubs 20 to 40 yards off the edge, hang a stand close by.
Where: Field-edge scrapes and rubs.
Why: As the rut gets closer, bucks will hit these spots to measure up rivals. These are great places to take a quick inventory of bucks after bachelor groups disperse.
Tip: Adding tarsal-gland lure or fresh urine to scrapes, especially later in October, can increase the number of buck visits.
Where: Doe bedding areas and trails leading to them. Another good option are pinch points, funnels and travel lanes.
Why: This is peak breeding time. Does will spend the majority of their daylight hours here and bucks are seeking out the hot does.
Tip: Check these cams only when you need to make a decision on where to hunt. Too much scent near the bedding areas is a bad decision. You will get more pictures of cruising bucks if you aim your camera down the trail head.
December – January
Where: Trails leading to prime food sources.
Why: With no rut activity, it’s like the early season. Deer are hitting the food to recover the chase of the rut.
Tip: Cold weather kills both batteries and scent. Check your cameras more often.
After deer season ends, I pack in all my trail cams, clean them up and let them have a short break before scouting season begins all over again.
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