Summer is a time when most hunters are starting to feel a little starved for some hunting activities. I love to shoot my guns, bows, get my gear organized, make lists of things I may want for the upcoming fall, but I also am super-interested in the growth and patterns of whitetails on property I hunt. Even though bucks are not yet at their full antler growth, I still love putting my Cuddeback’s out nice and early to watch them grow. This is also a great way to scout for those early season opening day hunts as a lot of these deer will still be in their summer patterns into September.
So, to maximize your photos I’ve come up with a few helpful tips for early season scouting. First, be aware of how high the weeds may be in front of your camera. The grass and CRP is much higher this time of year, and if you have a camera setup and the wind blows you’ll end up with a ton of images of just grass. I like to bring a saw along to cut the grass down in front of my camera to help avoid this.
Next, utilize the guard duty function on your camera. This provides a time lapse of any given area and transforms into an amazing scouting tool that many people are unaware of. I’ve found it’s really hard to pinpoint exactly where deer are entering a field early season. Green fields are usually key early season- things such as early green beans, alfalfa and clover. I know they all end up there in the evening, but figuring out what trails they’re using to get there can be difficult. With the camera setup in this time-lapse mode you can visually see where the bucks are coming out from and make a plan to hang stands accordingly. The nice part is when your camera is on guard duty, it will take photos without any needed motion all day, and then turn back into a regular motion activated camera at night so you won’t miss a single thing.
Another problem I’ve run into over the years is finding a good tree to attach my camera to near a field. Usually it’s a field with crops, a weed line, then timber. If you try and find a tree in the timber it’s simply too far off the field to cover it all. I’ve started using what’s called a Genius Post Mount that simply sticks into the ground anywhere and has a camera attachment that’s vertically adjustable to line your camera up just right. This has saved me a ton of headaches and has truly helped getting better pictures not only near field edges, but in a wide variety of places. Now instead of looking for the perfect tree, I can find the perfect spot I want to cover and setup accordingly. Another great tip is to be aware of where the sun will rise and set in relation to your camera. I like to use my post mount to get the best shots and usually face my cameras North/South to avoid that glaring sun right into the lens during sunrise and sunset.
Lastly, if you live in a state where it’s legal to bait or place minerals out this can be a great way to get an inventory of what deer are on your property. It’s not only fun to see all the game that come into a feeder, but it can be the easiest way to bring all the deer to one location and get amazing photos. I like using Boss Buck gravity feeders as they are extremely durable, light weight, and can hold a high capacity of protein or feed. If you can get one of these on your property, put a camera out…you’ll be amazed at the photos you’ll get and the amount of scouting intel it can provide!