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Scouting for whitetail deer using game cameras

Updated on April 13, 2012

Trail cam pics

Old mature doe with sway back, she hasn't had fawns for 2 yrs. This one will probably die within a year or two tops. Notice how she can smell human scent on the feeder by the way she looks where we touched the lid.
Old mature doe with sway back, she hasn't had fawns for 2 yrs. This one will probably die within a year or two tops. Notice how she can smell human scent on the feeder by the way she looks where we touched the lid.

Picking a feeder location to observe deer

We have a remote location where whitetails have been crossing the swamp, this just seemed like a great spot for deer feeder and mineral beds. Knowing that deer are in the area, we decided to set up to see what's traveling thru. The feeder you see was placed near a deer trail about 60yds from where they seem to be crossing a swamp marsh. We had to find a hole big enough to set up a feeder and still have room to get some good deer pics. The spot we picked is remote enough for deer to feel safe yet, close enough from a trail for us to be able to carry a feeder and 150 lbs of feed

We have the same type set up for every 75-100acres section so we can monitor the deer on our property. It allows you to track deer population, buck to doe ratios, how many yearlings survived and the general health of the herd. We try to spread these feeders evenly on the property and find good locations where deer seem to be traveling regular. These game cams can be a deer hunters best tool for scouting.


First group of does.

The first group of does, has one spotted fawn with them.
The first group of does, has one spotted fawn with them.

First sign of bucks

It took 8-9 days before the first sign of bucks as the young ones begin to wander in.
It took 8-9 days before the first sign of bucks as the young ones begin to wander in.

What can we make from the deer pics

These pics were done from a cheap Stealth Cam because it's very dependable and you can read the date and time very easy. On 8/28/11, we put this deer feeder in place and filled it with a combination of horse sweet feed and corn. The first deer to show up was an old mature doe that has become a loner, notice from the pic that it can smell human scent on the lid.

It was 9/5/11 before any other deer came to the feeder and it was a group of does with one fawn tagging along. The next day a buck finally got brave enough to go near the feeder, we believe that the does left even deer scent the day before to make him feel safe. The same deer keep coming to the feeder every day but I got too many pics to show all.

On 9/8/11, there was finally enough deer sign to bring in the first group of bachelor bucks. As you can see from the pic, one buck had started losing his velvet. 11days is what it took for descent bucks to come in but no big mature bucks in site at the feeder. As you can see from the picture on 9/13/11, the feeder is empty so, by time there's no human scent left to spook a mature deer the feeder is already empty. The only pics we got of mature bucks last season was over areas with lots of scrapes off hidden trails in the pines.

First bachelor group of bucks

Notice the buck to the right, has just lost it's velvet. As you can see, it took quite awhile before descent bucks would come to the feeder.
Notice the buck to the right, has just lost it's velvet. As you can see, it took quite awhile before descent bucks would come to the feeder.

Where's the beef?

It only took a little over 2 weeks to empty a 150lb feeder. During that time frame, we got 540 pics.
It only took a little over 2 weeks to empty a 150lb feeder. During that time frame, we got 540 pics.

Summary

We use these trail cams throughout the property to see what is in an area, what time are they coming in, what is the buck to doe ratio, which deer should be taken out of the herd, what is the overall health of the herd, which direction are the coming from. Normally you'll only find one or two deer from an area to harvest, from this area, I would only take out the old mature doe, the others are too young and healthy. From 8 game cams on this piece of property, we've only found 5 deer that are possible harvest this season but you can see that we'll have some great deer in the future.

Comments

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    • rutley profile image

      rutley 6 years ago from South Jersey

      Lots of hunters in my huge family....voted up and thanks!

    • ShootersCenter profile image
      Author

      David 6 years ago from Florida

      The plan wasn't that well thought out, the feed gets heavy and camera could have been placed back a little but glad you guys like it.

    • Topnewhottoys profile image

      Topnewhottoys 6 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland

      looks like a well thought-out plan, glad I didn't have to carry the feed

    • adamgt07 profile image

      Adam Garfield-Turner 6 years ago from Michigan

      Its neat how you have tracked the deer and how you have recorded their patterns and social interactions. This is a cool article.

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