Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In-Season Scouting With Trail Cams

Trail cameras come in all sizes and shapes since they have swept the market in modern day hunting.   Like any other tool, if used properly, they can be deadly.   Pun intended...
There are two types of scouting, preseason and in-season.   We are only going to talk about in-season for this post.   The difference with in season scouting is that this information is relevant right now not when season comes around.   You want to know what the deer are doing at this very moment as to form a plan and bring one down.
So lets get this started.   Before we do, you need to ask yourself a question.   Are hunting deer as in plural or are you hunting a deer as in singular?  I mean are you trying to get a shot at a deer or are you scouting for one particular buck lucky enough to get your tag?   Once you know the answer this will make more sense.
So you already have your property staked out.   You need to find the "starting point."   Find the most social area on the property.   Something such as a heavy concentration of crossing trails or a staging area covered in tracks and poop.   Place the camera here and cover as many trails and as much area as you can.   Turn it on and wait.
How long you leave the camera(s) at each station all depends on how much time you have to invest.   Once you've determined the a very social area it's time to move the camera.   At this point don't worry about most of them being night pictures.   Look at the pictures you do have and try to get a basic direction the majority are coming from.   That is the direction you need to begin your new search.
 From this point on your sign will not be as concentrated, don't let this get you wondering if you're doing something wrong.   Instead of four intersecting trials you have only two a few hundred yards away in a little more heavy of cover.   Set the camera here as the second station.
If you don't get much activity on the camera try another trail.  It is process of elimination.   No action is helpful as well.   Now you know not to sit on certain trails that could have been used more so earlier in the year.   Once you pick up on some good activity.   Repeat what you just did from the starting point.
The further you get and the more of their corridor you get the more daylight pictures you start getting.   Even if they are still a bit farther and few in-between that's fine, it's improvement.   Find a nice ambush point towards the end of your route that you have put together.   Look on an aerial map and track the route your camera has discovered.   Reason being, this could help give you answers to justify the traveling and help you look for more similar situation in a more efficient manner.  
This works well when you are after one particular buck.   Just keep moving it back and "track" him.   Do not become to invasive and mind your routes.   If you use your cameras in this type of method, you will kill deer.   This works very well when you're on a trip and are limited for time.   Time is of the essence.
Now get out and deploy some trail cameras and start back tracking to your next kill!