4 Tips To Reduce Summer Trail Camera Intrusion

Ohio Bucks Battling
by Eric Hall
What a rush!  Pulling the cards from trail cameras takes me back to Christmas as a child.  There is so much excitement about what could be on that SD card that we dive in repeatedly and end up doing more harm than good.  Here are four tips for a low-intrusion summer camera strategy.
Place cameras where they can be checked with limited intrusion
Field edges are a great place to put cameras without too much intrusion on a whitetail deer.  Look for inside corners and points of the cover extending into a food source.  These are great places to set up cameras to catch summer whitetails on their way to feed.  Use a motorized vehicle (truck, ATV, tractor etc.) to check field edge cameras, deer are used to these in the fields and will not alarm them as much.
Check your camera with scent control in mind
You can get away with some scent with an immature deer, but a mature whitetail will know you were there and begin its strategy to avoid you.  Just because it is a month or more before the season isn’t a license to be reckless.   Why tip off a mature deer by being careless with scent control?  In everything you do, act like you are hunting.  Clean clothes, clean boots, spraying down equipment, and playing the wind when checking cameras is paramount to success.
Plan your camera strategy and stick to it
Use a calendar to note the days you will check your camera cards.  I use Google Calendar and mark the days 2-3 weeks apart that I would like to check my trail cameras.  I allow a day or two of leeway to be sure I am checking on the best possible wind direction.  Having a written plan holds you accountable and helps avoid going into an area too often.  If you don’t have a good wind, don’t check that camera.  Re-age the calendar and work from there.  It is better to go an extra week or more than announce to every deer in the area that you are there.
AVOID overdoing it
The size of your parcel will determine the number of cameras in a location.  No, I do not have a magic formula for determining how many cameras per acre.  I do know that you do not need to have a trail camera on every trail leading to a food source.  Too many cameras is just as bad as not enough.  The longer you are in the area the more human scent that is left behind.   Consider that the whitetail herd is on a bed to food and food to bed pattern in the summer, and often will bed very close to the food source.  On land you know, select the trails from the best bedding and set your cameras accordingly.  For new parcels, use topographic and aerial maps to select the most likely bedding areas relative to food and locate those trails to set your cameras.
To get the best results from our summer trail cameras we need to forego childlike ambition.  It may feel like Christmas to pull that card, but too much intrusion will only lead to coal in our stocking.  Consider the tips above and pause long enough to decide if we are helping or hurting our efforts to harvest a mature deer.

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Author: Eric Hall

Afflicted with Whitetail OCD, I have been addicted to the Whitetail Deer since the late 1980s. It is an all-consuming and never-ending passion to learn about and ultimately preserve the heritage of whitetail deer hunting. Now I feed that addiction with the Whitetail OCD blog.

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