A commonly over looked factor is scent control. You go to great lengths to control your odors while hunting, why not do the same when hanging/checking cameras. Here are some things to consider: Touch the camera as little as possible; every fingerprint leaves a scent identifier for wild game to pick up on. One mistake most hunters have made (ourselves included) is to lean against the camera to hold it up while strapping it on. Think of all the odors you just mashed into your game camera! A good way around this is to run the strap through with the camera resting on the ground, once you have ran it through, work your camera up the tree or post to your desired height. Lastly, a quick spray of scent elimination product will go a long way. Give your hands and boots a spray before entering the woods. And after you hang/check your cameras spray the camera, strap, and tree to kill any unwanted residual odor. (Be sure to not spray the lens directly, as most scent elimination products haze while drying)
The time you check cameras is also important. We prefer to hang, check, and move cameras during mid-day; typically when wildlife movement is in its lull. By doing so your chances of bumping game are reduced. We also try to drive our trucks or ATVs as close to the camera as possible and leave it running while doing our labor. Due to the agricultural boom, most wild animals are conditioned to recognize motorized equipment as a non-threat, and by leaving your equipment running you better your chances of preforming game camera work undetected.
In Illinois, state regulations restrict us from being able to use minerals, baits, or attractants in front of our game cameras, so to maximize their potential; we move them into specific areas through out the year. We consider our pre-season to be June to August. This is when we collect inventory to create our hit list, and get a good idea of our herd’s health (doe:fawn ratio, buck:doe ratie, ect.) During this time of the year your deer are becoming very patternable to food and water sources. We put our cameras to work on clover or bean fields edges, the transition zones between them, and water sources; such as ponds or river crossings.
As the season opener approaches we move our cameras with one crucial aspect in mind: stand location. We do this for two very specific reasons. The first being, we want to know what stands are having good movement. The stands with the most movement are the ones we want to be sitting in. The other reason is ease of access to our cameras. Minimizing your footprint is key to flying under the game’s radar and the importance of slipping in and out of your hunting areas undetected is greatly higher during season. Now, you still need to utilize natural hot spots such as scrapes, rub lines, and heavy trails to your advantage, however do so keeping your stand proximity in mind. In a nutshell, by keeping your cameras close to your stand/blind locations during the heart of the season you can easily check your cameras quickly before or after the hunt and do it in a way that keeps your pressure to a minimum.
Late season can be a tough time. Keep in mind that battery life is drastically reduced due to the cold temperatures sapping your batteries longevity and wild life is on high alert due to the barrage of hunters seeking them out this season. However, since the weather is so bitterly cold the deer are keyed in the remaining food sources. Just like in pre season, put cameras around these food sources. Paths will be well worn due to concentrated traffic. Use the current weather conditions, such as fresh snow fall, to help identify these and choose good camera locations. One thing to remember is the close proximity of bedding areas to these food sources. With the timber being bare, and cover sparse your chances of spooking your quarry are increased.
The last aspect we want to cover is choosing a brand that you can trust. Moultrie Game Cameras have been leading the way in game camera industry for years. Their advanced technology, top to bottom quality, and unquestionable reliability keeps their cameras regarded as the best available. However, where they really separate themselves from all other competitors is their employees and customer service. Not only does Moultrie stand behind their product, but do so in a polite and prompt manner. Steadfast companies with grounded morals and principles are harder to come by in today society. Having the ability to dial into Moultrie and receive an American receptionist that is happy to help and willing to resolve any issue you have is a luxury hard to put a price tag on. Simply put Moultrie Game Cameras will exceed your expectations. For more information on their line of Cameras and gear visit: http://www.moultriefeeders.com
Written by: Jesse Hines & Garrett Boelkes