Trail Cams and not hunting a stand to early

Written by TheDeerwhisperer on Monday, June 13, 2016

It feels like I just got done putting my deer hunting stuff away and here I am pulling out trail cameras and placing new batteries in them to help hunt down some target bucks for the 2016-2017 hunting season, CRAZY!

This time of year I tend to get asked about keys to being successful harvesting good bucks and I go through some of my key factors #1 being scouting as to me it all starts there and scouting is all year round, but especially important from June-February in my opinion. One question I get asked quite a bit is how often I check my trail cameras during the season. I don’t like to let a camera sit idle for any longer than 4 days and ideally I want to check it every 3 when the season kicks in (during the summer months I go once every 1-2 weeks as older Intel is fine during this time period). If I find a shooter on the edge of day light I may even increase the frequency depending on factors created by where we are in the season and I do this for a reason, the one common factor I have found hunting big whitetails is you have a small window to where they are killable. You can hunt them all season long, but a true opportunity to harvest them tends to happen in a tight timeframe and if you are not in the game at the time he becomes hunt able, game is potentially over as you might be getting after him too late. I monitor my cams often to watch my target deer’s movement pattern closely and catch him at the earliest point possible becoming hunt able. Once I see what it is I like to see, it’s time to go get in my stand and hunt for him. I preach patience’s all the time when it comes to hunting a big buck on cam because I have witnessed many friends who get a night time picture of a big buck and get excited and can’t help but hunt the heck out of the stand and ruin their opportunity. The lack of patience can destroy a stand location because you will ultimately over hunt a stand and pollute the area. That type of pressure will push a big boy away and this is even truer if hunting over bait since its more likely you’ll get busted as they stand under you and chow away and either wind swirls around or they catch movement… hard to beat all those noses, ears and eyes…so you can ruin a stand location much easier if hunting bait then if not as they stay in the area longer and may even frequent it more often.

When I see a big boy is ready to be hunted is where my patience’s stops and my aggressive hunting style begins in fact, I tend to push the envelope more than most as I don’t want to miss the small window he left open for me so my plan is to strike fast and unknowingly. I believe if you hunt too tentatively around a big boy you run the risk of him sensing something is wrong and getting out of dodge as the longer you are in his house, the better the odds fall into his favor of picking you up or feeling pressured. So when I preach patience’s, it’s around when to hunt a deer not when you’re hunting him, as when its go time, watch your wind, get in on him fast, and as close as possible to try and seal the deal. I contribute some missed opportunities over the years to being too scared to get aggressive. If I knew then what I know now, I would of hunted a few differently.

I will sometimes get the age old argument that folks don’t want to pollute an area by checking the camera too often and from my experience and others I hunt with, by running in and out of a spot in a couple of minutes…unless you are checking during the prime hours and bumping deer all the time (I will also note that care should be taken on your approach to the camera, ie. wind direction and avoiding bedding areas) which should be easily avoided as the camera will indicate to you when the deer are there and not, I have found that statement to be way over inflated and people overreact to it. as you don’t want to push a big boy out of his bedding area. In fact, it could benefit you at times as there is truth in letting yourself be patterned and having it work to your advantage…and if you are truly that uptight ha-ha, then you should invest in a wireless cam.

There are a lot of ways to skin a cat, I am just sharing what has worked for me, I understand some will not like this style at all and nothing wrong with a difference in opinion. I also understand that state woods and private land have some differences (I think it's exaggerated here sometimes though), but I will also share that my 9pt I shot last year was on township land hunted by 10 people I knew of and no telling how many I didn't know so the deer were heavily pressured. It's even more important to be extra patient when dealing with pressured deer…in this case you want to hunt the other hunters when finding the right spot to settle in but It can happen in pressured areas, don’t let people tell you it can’t. Nothing works all the time so you need to read each situation and plan from there but maybe this lends a hand to someone this year.

Can’t wait to see some cam photos soon and good luck!

About The Author

A master of finding and harvesting big New Jersey whitetails with 5 NJ Pope & Youngs to...

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