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Trail Cameras

Pre Season Trail Cam Tactics

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June is a great time to get your trail cams out into the woods. The turkey hunters are done chasing gobblers and the deer are – for the most part – undisturbed. This allows the deer to remain in their natural behavior and they tend to travel the same routes around the same times of day during the summer months helping the savvy hunter discover a pattern.

The summer months are a great way for you to determine active travel routes, estimate the deer population in your hunting area, figure out an approximate buck to do ratio, and watch the bucks as they grow throughout the summer. Antlers are one of the fastest growing tissues known to man and they grow between 1-2″ per week – that’s a lot of antler!

In my experiences, these pre-season trail cam pics are most helpful for the first two weeks of bow season where I hunt in CT because the season opens on September 15th and the bucks are at the tail end of their summer feeding patterns. I believe that once the bucks shed their velvet they begin disbursing and tend to wander from where they spent most of their time during the summer months.

I have a few places I like to place my trail cams – where well used deer trails cross, in feeding areas, and along thick swamp edges. So far this season I’ve hit the converging deer trails where I’ve actually never hunted, so it was nice to see a mature buck utilizing that area. Right now I have the camera set up in a feeding area where I took two bucks last season.

I like to keep the cameras out for a two week period during the summer so I catch every deer walking through a particular area, but once the season starts I move my cameras every week or so to keep on top of the deer movement.

My next spot for a trail cam will be along a swamp edge that I have never hunted before. During my winter scouting I came across a huge buck rub that a very mature whitetail with a huge set of antlers made. Hopefully, that buck is still alive and roaming the area. There is a stone wall along one of the edges of the swamp and I believe the deer travel between the edge of the swamp and the stone wall – the perfect funnel. The deer also exit the swamp on one end and follow the edge of a marsh to a creek crossing – another travel route I discovered on my late season hikes through the deer woods. This trail was subtle and if it weren’t for the snow I probably never would have seen it. Once I found it though it instantly hit me that these were the deer I saw off in the distance from my stand that would never come my way.

I use my trail cams on about 100 acres of land in hopes to learn how the deer travel through the land. Once I have this figured out even better I will – hopefully – be able to ambush one of the mature whitetails on the property. I say hopefully because last season I hunted for about 50 days and only saw 6 bucks – three were in shooting range and I got two of them; only one buck was a mature 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 year old deer. With a mature buck already showing up in my pictures, I’m hoping this season will be different.

If you don’t have a trail cam I suggest the ones made by CuddeBack, even their lowest quality camera will offer all the features you need to capture great pictures of the game in your hunting area. Set up your camera(s) as soon as possible and get ready for some big buck action. Watch them grow now and learn their habits, you won’t be disappointed once opening day rolls around.

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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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