Scouting trail camera placement is easy when you know where to place your scouting camera. High-speed trail cameras now make it a lot easier to find that ideal tree to secure your trail camera to.
Most of the higher quality trail cameras can be tested and aimed with precision on well-traveled deer trails. Of course, you need some openings through the bush that won’t hinder your trail camera from being triggered.
Getting out in the forest after that first fresh snow will often pay big dividends when you find crisp tracks cutting across the main trail. I head out after a leisurely breakfast with some comfortable hiking boots and a few layers of clothes to shed as I hike.
Most times after walking into a forest for ten or twenty minutes I’m far enough away from the road and the deer are more at ease wandering back and forth from bedding area to find feed. If there is a farm near crown land I will walk in that direction if the trail permits. Harvested grains and clovers will attract deer.
Snowmobile and ATV trails (if they haven’t been used yet) are great to travel along to dissect a forest in sections and find deer tracks. I find more wolf or coyote tracks traveling down the main trail with deer tracks crossing perpendicular.
My daypack carries one of my SpyPoint scouting cameras with a set of fresh batteries and a locking cable. Also packed away are my Navionics GPS, plastic gloves and a set of branch clippers. While not essential at this time of year I still use Buck Fever Scent Elimination spray to keep human scent off my trail camera.
I will set up my SpyPoint Pro-X camera about 200 yards deeper in the forest where it opens up. As mentioned earlier, today’s high-speed cameras will trigger in less than two seconds so getting that buck or doe in the frame is easier. Depending on how you set up your camera is also important. Keep it facing north to avoid false detections. I have found if you just want a photo for information on what deer are traveling down that trail, set your camera at a lower setting to get as many photos as possible.
Personally, I prefer the full resolution photo that my SpyPoint Pro X provides (12 MB) as often they may be published in magazines. With a one and half second trigger video or photos are easily captured. Additionally, the camera’s case small size is easily concealed when attached to a tree.
Do a test walk-by, then lock it up and leave. I usually wait for at least a week before returning to check for activity. Wait longer if you don’t plan to hunt that area.
Keep it simple, get in and out quietly and you may find that trophy buck you’re hoping to find on your digital card. At the very least your photos will make you smile.
Using a quality scouting trail camera just adds another dimension to your hunt, It’s also a great way to scout 24 hours a day year round.
Lessons learned the hard way – keep your expensive camera locked and secured no matter where you use it!
Losing an expensive trail camera like the SpyPoint Pro-X is no fun. When used on public lands I always use a lock box and python cable to secure it to a large tree. Sadly, I’ve even had one camera that was on private land stolen, as I didn’t lock it up.
I frequently use the SpyPoint Tiny-W game camera. The Tiny-W includes a unique, separate “Black Box” radio receiver that receives backup copies of the images captured by the game camera. The ultra-compact Tiny-W is only 4.5” x 3.5” x 2.7”, so it’s easy to conceal anywhere. You can choose from video recording mode or multi-shot mode, which takes up to 6 shots in a row. Take crystal clear 8.0 megapixel color images and 640 x 480 video by day. At night, 38 powerful infrared LEDs allow recording of black-and-white images and video. Seven zone detection sensors are fully adjustable from 5’ to 50’. Date, time, temperature and moon phases are stamped on each photo. You can store footage on removable SD/SDHC cards as large as 32GB or output through USB or to a TV. It also has a 2” viewing screen. The Tiny-W runs on 6 AA batteries or a rechargeable lithium pack (not included). The Tiny-W includes Black Box receiver, 12V/solar panel power jack, mounting strap, USB cable and video cables.
The best feature about the Tiny and Tiny-W is that these cameras have 0 sec trigger time. These cameras have two extra detectors to wake up the camera and the other five sensors to take the photo. This is why you have no trigger time! The Tiny-W was developed for all the people like me who lost their camera in the field because somebody stole it. The camera takes photos and records them on the cameras and on a receiver you can hide anywhere around 50ft away from the camera proper. So if somebody stole your camera, you’ll get photos of him on the receiver along with any deer shots the camera captured prior to its theft.
Also available is the SpyPoint Live System, A small powerful trail camera that sends photos to your email or cell phone. One security feature on it is if it is moved an email will alert you.
Today’s trail camera technology allows hunters to scout year round from their computer, saving on fuel costs and travel time has its advantages. It also may make spooking deer while walking to your camera a thing of the past.
One tactic I use is to make a mock scrape with a licking branch close to my trail camera setup. It’s like a sign post for deer stop to do their thing then leave your mark and move on. Long lasting and effective Buck Fever Synthetic Scents keep deer attracted to your trail cam location when a mock scrape is used year round.
Take advantage of all the assets available to you and you will become a better hunter.