St. Charles Herald-Guide

Game cameras help hunters target big bucks

By Bruce McDonald - January 24, 2014

Talk to any deer hunter this time of the year and they will tell you that wildlife cameras are the best tool to monitor deer movement in the woods.

My son Hunter and I identified a hilltop on our hunting lease where several bucks had scrapes and rubs. Bucks like to mark their territories with these signs but we wanted to know what the deer looked like, when they were coming and what direction they were coming from.

All of the signs indicated several deer were traveling this area, so we set up a camera one afternoon and left it to collect pictures for the following week. The following weekend, Hunter and I were as anxious as young kids on Christmas morning to check the SD card on that camera. Upon checking the camera, there were 123 pictures taken in one week.

We had pictures of a spike, several doe, 4-points, 6-points and even a big 10-point licking a branch. At one point,  a 200-pound black hog showed up. We continued to have pictures taken of deer on this one camera during the entire month of December.

During the first few days of January, the Wildgame Innovation camera had pictures of deer during daylight hours. Deer were showing up between 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., so we setup up a stand on the side of the hilltop to catch deer moving into the area.

On a very cold 14-degree morning last week, a big 9-point showed up. I harvested the 200-pound deer at 7:30 a.m. with my custom 270. Without the aid of the Wildgame camera, I would have never hunted the area. I had used the information from the camera to put the odds in my favor to take my first buck of the year.

Hunter and I use game cameras on several locations on our hunting lease. Cameras confirm deer movement by date, time, moon phases and temperature. Wildgame cameras can convince a hunter to continue to hunt despite not seeing deer signs during daylight hunting hours.

When using a game camera the following tips can be helpful:

• Set the camera on a tree greater than 4 inches in diameter. If a camera is on a small branch or tree, wind can cause the tree to move and the camera may take unwanted pictures.

• Set the camera 2 or 3 feet off the ground.

• Stand behind and check the direction the pictures will be taken.

• The camera can be placed 15 to 20 feet from the rub, scrape or feeder. Camera ranges are from 40 to 50 feet.

• Makes sure the sun will not shine directly into the camera.

• Used good bungee cords or rope to secure the camera to a tree.

• Buy extra SD cards in 2 to 4 megs to rotate.

• Use a regular digital camera to check photos on the spot. Photos can be downloaded at home on computers or laptops. 

A 10-point looks right into the camera.
A 10-point looks right into the camera.