How do you use trail cameras?

Discussion in 'Bowhunting' started by Andy Backus, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Andy Backus

    Andy Backus Field Editor Staff Member

    Dec 21, 2009
    How many do you use?
    Where do you put them - food sources, field edges, bedding areas, stand sites, trails, rubs, scrapes, feeders?
    During hunting season only?
    How often do you check them?
    Have you had any problems with them spooking deer?
  2. Forester

    Forester Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    In the off season through late summer I leave them up on food sources and check them every couple of weeks.

    Late summer/early fall I will move them to travel corridors and start to try and get an idea on travel patterns in an area. I check them every week or so at this point and move them around some.

    The flash cameras tend to get the deer's attention but it does not seem to keep them from coming back to an area. They either never associated them with danger or they think its lightning or something.

    Oddly enough I have seen some IR cameras seem to spook deer more than some flash cameras. A Moultrie IR camera I tried could not have spooked deer any worse if it made coyote howling sounds. The better IR camera's though the deer seem to be oblivious to. I am steadily switching over to better IR cameras at about 1 new one a year.

    Right now I have a half a dozen cameras out on ~200acres. Probably none will need to be replaced next year but if I buy a new IR camera I will just move a flash camera somewhere that I only expect daytime pics and set it to turn off at night.
  3. Dgutter

    Dgutter Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    Have 5 or 6 up at any given time on a couple different plots of land.
    Couple are usually posted on food sources. But I'd say the majority are on travel corridors/trails leading to and from bedding sites and food sources. Generally closely to the food sources where many trails converge. Have put a couple on some heavily worked scrapes and get some awesome pictures...definitely good for a lot of buck activity.
    When I'm on top of checkin them I like to keep them up almost all year round. Generally late spring and early to mid-summer they're usually all down though. Late-ish summer early fall they all get put back up. Get an idea of their early patterns and what kind of activity we have. Move them accordingly for hunting season. Then late season I like to know when and possibly where they drop their antlers, if they survived hunting season, and where they be spending their winters. I like to check them almost weekly but time constraints and battery life kind of dictate that too.
    No problems spooking deer even with regular flash. It may get their attention but if anything they just get curious. I've had both IR and regular and don't see any advantage to IR. I can usually get clearer pictures and more flash range with normal flash and they cost less so I can buy more of them. :D
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Much like the other posters I place them where/near I will be hunting and in possible new sites
    that show promise.

    I use the infrared type because of poachers and thieves(I have had some stolen)and conceal
    them as well as possible.

    Also the deer seem to spook more with the larger sized game cameras the first time I place
    them in a new spot so I use the small/compact size game cameras.

    Some cameras make an audible sound that gets game and other vermin's attention so look
    for the quietest camera you can find.

    I have tried the movie mode and it looks great but uses up a lot of space on the card and
    prefer the still mode because it only takes one picture of something your not interested in and
    in the 5 second setting will be gone most of the time.

    Try to find a camera that prints the date, time of day and the temperature on the image. (
    some don't).

    I don't use more than 3 or 4 cameras and concentrate them in one area for the best coverage
    of that area in off season scouting and spread them out for general scouting of an area.

    Like everything else in this sport you can never have to many but there is an amount that
    will serve you well and not become more trouble than they are worth.

    If you pre-scout and look for sign you can do with less.

  5. Dgutter

    Dgutter Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    J E Custom has a good point here. I build steel boxes for all of mine. I'll use a rachet strap to hold them securely to the tree then use a chain and padlock. The boxes have hinged doors on the front with a window cutout just big enough for the lenses and displays. The door gets padlocked too obviously. Keeps halfway honest people from tampering with them. But if they're not honest and they do somehow find it, there's no reason why they wouldn't come back with the proper tools to do the deed.

    I've been lucky enough to not have any issues...yet. But have had friends that had theirs stolen. So definitely concealment and security are important. May be something you may want to keep in mind.
  6. SpencerSS

    SpencerSS Well-Known Member

    Mar 29, 2011

    There's alot of variance in the answers to those questions.

    Two are short enough to post.

    I use them nearly year round.

    Spooking? 10yrs, 100,000+ pics, and NO.
  7. warrenhuntsky

    warrenhuntsky New Member

    Sep 10, 2011
    I run mine year round.

    It gives me a good excuse to be in the woods when the season is out.

    I target a variety of areas, but I love intersecting trails.

    I always lock them like the others say. I lost my first trail camera to a thief. It won't happen again!