Beginning last spring I started using deer cameras spread out in various areas of my woods in hopes of learning more about my 160 acre farm. It’s been interesting, to say the least, just being part of a world that we don’t normally get to see as much as we would like. In fact, aside from the raw excitement of not knowing what pictures you will get from day to day…I’ve discovered that they can be a real effective tool in deciphering the many mysteries of the woods.
Take, for instance, this photo snapped last Monday. Note the deer stand in the upper-left hand region of the picture. What I am learning from deer cams placed out at this spot is the deer like to transition through this area usually during the early morning hours. That’s vital information to know because the hunter occupying this stand on opening morning will only get to hunt a few hours (work commitments on opening day won’t allow him to be there any longer). Of course, what happens on any given day cannot be predicted with absolute certainty…but here we are using information gained from the cameras to play the odds and to give this hunter his best chance for scoring on a deer.
I’ll talk more about this deer stand after opening day and disclose if the hunter was successful or not.
Now I can see where some critics to using deer cameras might say how using such devices is a lazy man’s way of hunting. If a hunter puts in his time in the deer stand, perhaps bow-hunting in advance of the firearms opener, he would gain much of this same knowledge being garnered by the cameras. Can’t argue with that logic…but the truth is not everyone has the time these days to sit for hours in the woods to do such in-person scouting. Wish I could, but the harsh reality is I am not a full-time hunter in practice…only in my thoughts. Work and life commitments just don’t allow for me to be out occupying a tree stand as much as I would like to be there. So, I compensate by using cameras. An option not available to most hunters several years ago.
That’s certainly not to say deer cameras placed out in the woods will in any way guarantee deer hunting success. They are a definite aid, but they must also be used as part of a well-thought out strategy. Perhaps the nicest thing about using cameras throughout the summer is getting to know just what cloven-hooved critters are running around on your property. That’s a good start. I’ve placed cameras in some ideal spots thinking I would score nice photos from the location…only to learn two or three weeks later that either my luck had run out or my “can’t miss” spot was somehow terribly misjudged.
That’s sort of the way it goes for deer hunting, too. How many times have you been excited with anticipation to spend time in a new deer stand only to later learn it was a colossal dud? I’ll admit, it certainly happens to me on occasion. In some ways I believe that using deer cameras in the woods helps the hunter to hone their hunting skills because it forces you to think where the deer will be walking. Of course, when you position a camera and it doesn’t yield any photos after a few weeks…it forces the hunter to reevaluate just how you were thinking.
I’d like to believe I’ve been hunting all spring and summer long with the aid of my deer cameras. I know I’ve gotten much better at figuring out where to place the cameras. Now that fall has finally arrived I am giving them a real workout next to some important deer stands where I want to determine what type of deer and action is being seen.
Yes, folks, it is now crunch time…and the deer cameras and trail timers are working overtime just trying to figure out what is happening in my little woodlot. It’s exciting…it’s challenging…and the moment of truth (the MN firearms deer season opener) is now less than two weeks away.
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.