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Trail Cameras

First Summer Trail Cam Pics

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Since they first became popular a few seasons back, trail cameras have been a part of my deer hunting strategy. Not only do they allow you to keep tabs on the bucks in your area, but they become a valuable tool for those practicing QDM on their land and keeping track of the herd size.

This season I started putting cameras out in early June. I like to place a camera in a funnel, known travel route, or completely new area and leave it for two weeks. This allows you to capture pictures of almost all of the deer that are using a particular section of the woods.

For my first two week period, I chose to place my camera overlooking a break in a stone wall where three trails converged. I had never hunted this section of the land, but it connects a large parcel of woods with a very narrow and secluded bedding area/deer sanctuary. I know the sanctuary holds a lot of deer at times and have jumped them, found several rubs including two the size of my thigh, and even seen them bedded down in this area. I only enter the area at the end of the season when I need to make a last-ditch effort to tag a deer.

To my surprise, there were quite a few deer using the stone wall as a crossing point from the feeding areas to the bedding areas. The deer tended to travel early in the morning and during the mid-afternoon hours and, of course, during the night. Another thing I made sure to note was which way the deer came from and where they were headed. The deer seemed to use the trails going both ways giving me clues as to which times they would enter and leave their sanctuary.

While I was able to capture several pictures of young bucks that will probably be four and six-pointers this season, but only one buck stood out as a definite shooter:

Already sporting 6 points and spanning from ear tip to ear tip, this buck looks to be a mature deer that will either sport 8 points or he could possibly be the 10 pointer I had pictures of last December – I’m hoping he’s the 10 pointer.

I was also able to find out that the horse trails that run through the area – the ones I’ve never seen anyone ever ride a horse on – actually do get used. This break in the stone wall, although not on a horse trail, shows me that the riders will venture off their normal trails to wander the more open sections of the woods. This is something I will note and keep in mind during hunting season. The last thing I want to do is have someone on horseback ruin my hunt.

One thing that shocked me in the 37 pictures I acquired over the 14 day period was that there was only 4 pictures of a doe and single fawn. I would have expected to see more fawns in the pictures, so I’m hoping the other does are using different parts of the land to raise their young.

Since viewing these pictures I moved my camera to a swamp where the deer travel through and I’ve spend a good deal of time hunting. The swamp is roughly 250-300 yards away from the break in the stone wall and will give me some clues as to where the big buck travels. My goal now is to use my trail cams to decipher how this buck travels my 100 acre hunting area. I’d also like to find some of his buddies too! Guess we’ll just have to see what walks in front of the camera next.

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Trail Cameras

Putting together the Hitlist for the 2014 Bowhunting Season

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Trail cams are running and big bucks are showing up. Time to put together the hit list for the upcoming archery season.

This year is shaping up to be a good one! Several good bucks have shown up on trail cam and hopefully, I can catch up with one of these deer during the season – the Tall Tine 8 pointer (pictured above) would be an awesome encounter.

I’ve been setting cameras along travel routes and focusing on trails between bedding and feeding areas as well as pinch points such as creek crossings. So far the strategy has paid off and I’m catching the same deer on multiple cameras which has given me more insight on how they travel this property

crooked-g2-eight

Another nice deer on camera has be the Crooked G2 Buck. He’s got great mass and fairly symmetrical rack with long sweeping main beams. He’s going to be a tough one to pass up.

heavy-wide-eight

Then there’s Wide Guy with great mass and width, but weak brows and G3’s. This buck is similar to the wide 8-pointer I took last year during rifle season. There’s no doubt this is a great deer, but I’d like to pass him up.

ten-point-buck

I rarely get 10 pointers on my hunting properties so I was pleasantly surprised to see this guy. This one is going to be tough for me. I think this buck could use another year, but there’s no way any of the guys hunting the surrounding properties would let him walk. Do I shoot him or do I let him walk? I guess it all depends on whether or not the Tall Tine 8 shows up first.

I have a lot to look forward to this season and still have a few areas to scout. Who knows what else will show up on camera, but there are still a few big bucks from last season who haven’t showed up. Hunting season can’t get here soon enough.

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Trail Cameras

Trail Cams Tell the Story of My Halloween Buck

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Trail cameras are an invaluable information gathering tool for deer hunters, they tell the story of the deer and give you a look into their habits and home range.

On Halloween morning I was fortunate enough to connect on a mature 9 pointer in Westchester County. It’s my biggest buck and a buck my brother didn’t know he had on trail camera until he pulled a card from a card on another property a few days after I arrowed the buck (you can read the story on NY Antler Outdoors and NYBowhunter.com).

The day I arrowed this buck you could just tell his testosterone was through the roof. Every tree in sight was being rubbed and torn to shreds. He was looking for a doe – or a fight. The trail camera pictures from the day before I shot the deer show him trailing a doe and looking for love. It was a sure sign that the bucks were losing their patience and the rut was about to get underway.

What’s really interesting about these pictures is that they’re not from the same property we were hunting on Halloween morning, but a different neighborhood that the woodlot we were hunting connects to. The buck was over 700 yards away from where I ended up getting a shot at him. Just goes to show you how big the home range of these animals are – even when we’re hunting tiny suburban woodlots.

A lot of times I wonder where these bucks that show up on trail cam in the summer ‘disappear’ to, but the truth is these deer have home ranges much larger than the size of the woodlots I have permission to hunt. It was cool to get these pictures of my buck and get a little idea of how he was using the land. Its information we can use to our advantage next year as we try to put another mature buck on the ground.

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Trail Cameras

Big Bucks on Trail Cam During the October Lull

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Trail cameras allow me to pinpoint when bucks are moving and tell me which stands to hunt and what times to hunt them.

On Sunday, October 6th at 6:38 pm this big-bodied, heavy antlered whitetail walked within 20 yards of my stand. This is a Pennsylvania buck so there’s no hunting on Sunday and he seems to know this. The good news was it motivated me to stick it out on the stand for the rest of the week – the bad news was after 25+ hours on the stand I only saw one deer and it was a spike at last light.

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