Here in Southern Ohio we’ve been getting ready for bow season over the last few months. Whether scouting a new spot, or going back to that funnel you’ve hunted for years, setting trail cams is a great way to get your plan of attack dialed in. A properly placed trail cam takes only minutes to put up, but can help you to achieve weeks or months-worth of insight to what your local herd is doing, and help you pattern that big buck you’ve been after.
When scouting new spots we recommend putting cameras up far in advance so you can adjust locations and decide where to set stands before season opens. On the flip side, when hunting a stand set in a spot that deer use heavily every year we like to wait about 2-weeks before hunting that area to go set a camera. This way you can usually get a glimpse of what is out there without alerting the deer to your presence.
Today we went out to a key funnel between a bedding and feeding area to setup a camera and check movement on a stand that has paid off many times.
Here are 5 key things to keep in mind setting trail cams:
- Test your camera and have it set to the setting you plan to use before you go out in the woods
- Make sure you have new batteries, and a memory card large enough to hold as many pictures as you think you’ll get between camera checks.
- Make a plan for when you’ll check your camera next
- Use larger cards like 16 & 32 gb cards and set the camera in early season. Later in the season you can change the settings or put smaller cards in if you have a better idea of how much movement you have.
- Make sure you have the right straps
- Taking extra straps or different sizes never hurts in case you find that the tree you need to use is smaller or larger than the stock straps.
- Always have a goal in mind with any camera you set
- Check a mineral lick to see who is hitting it
- Check a shooting lane to see if the deer you’re after is using that lane
- Check a food plot to see when they are coming and going
- Check a bedding area so you know when you can enter an area
- Check a feeder to see how quickly they’re eating
- Last but not least check the edge of your property for exiting/entering deer, and in unfortunate cases trespassers
- Come back at a time when you don’t feel like you’ll alert deer to your presence and swap cards, or pull pictures from the card, and carefully look through all of the pictures.
- Taking back up cards help you keep your cameras running and eliminate multiple trips into the woods
- Once the season opens change cards when you leave from a morning hunt or enter for an evening hunt
- Looking closely at all the pictures can help you to spot an older buck who is staying just outside of range
- Don’t become too reliant on your camera as animals are always unpredictable
- Have fun – and share your pictures with us on Facebook and Instagram!
Written by Ryan from Rocky