Camera Placement Strategies

Discussion in 'Trail Cameras' started by HB_Hunter, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. MilkweedManiac

    MilkweedManiac New Member

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    Owen County, IN
    Hardiness Zone:
    6a EST
    I always start by running cameras parallel to the road in high traffic areas (low spot in fence, low spot in terrain, places where woods might pinch down or weeds stay high). This is a good starting point to branch off of. Every one of these spots needs a camera. This should catch that rutting buck movement in a doe bedding area. Community mock scrapes (every woods has at least one) are money when you find them. It's a licking branch that hundreds of deer have licked over the years and a "must-smell" kind of place for every buck in the herd at least a time or two during the rut.

    One technique I personally employ is to carpet bomb the woods with cameras (so to speak). I know this isn't super popular, but I've had great success with it and have been able to at least photograph a couple dozen bucks a year on average in a consistent manner.

    The first step is to buy cheap cameras. When I see a cheap camera I like (anything $30 and under), I buy several. I'd rather have 10 $20 cameras than 1 $200 camera. One of them breaks? No great loss.

    Why do I prefer cheap? Often, these cameras have very limited settings (low mp, short flash, no video mode, etc.). Because of this, they often do far better at battery consumption than a camera that's trying to make a cup of coffee while taking 5 pictures in burst mode every .25 seconds.

    On the subject of "red flash" vs "black flash." I feel after running cameras for nearly a decade that this has been a bit exaggerated. Yes, I have had deer look at my cameras before, and yes, I'd rather they didn't. So I hang them in spots that deer either don't look toward or I place them around 8 feet high and angle down if I'm using infrared flash. That being said, once the deer herd gets used to the flash, and do not associate it with danger (i.e. you aren't checking them every 3 days and leaving scent on them), I have found they pay them no attention, and I have yet to have a buck go MIA because of it. I do have around 10 black flash cameras that I will employ in my most treasured buck locations, just as a bit of insurance against making him nervous. However, remember that black flash cameras are compromised in regards to light throw. Your night pictures (unless you pony up the cash) will be dull, and lack clarity past 50 feet. It's just not worth the trade off to me anymore. I want a camera to show me details, not blobs or shadows.

    One thing I would highly recommend is to use the 1/4" tripod insert at the bottom and use a screw in mount vs. the strap. Getting the camera out away from the tree causes the water to shed behind the camera during a hard rain, instead of down onto it. I have had a much larger rate of camera longevity since starting with the screw in mounts. A three pack at DSG is around $10.

    Batteries - I buy them when they go on sale (any brand). Cheap batteries will get you through the spring and summer, but better switch to an Energizer alkaline as late fall approaches. Obviously I do not run lithiums in all of the cheap cameras, but I have found the energizer alkalines will last from October to January (Zone 6a) before they go bad.

    Most important step - when carpet bombing with cameras, just make the decision going in that you aren't going to check them until after season. Hang them in September or early October, and come back in January. Just stay out. Use this year's information to kill a buck next year. I also try to avoid hanging cameras too close to stand sites, but I've broken that rule as well with seemingly no adverse affect.
    Mennoniteman and HB_Hunter like this.
  2. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Huntingdon Co. PA
    Hardiness Zone:
    Heres our method of making a few quality Bushnell & Browning cameras go a long way. There's another thread talking about micro plots, we have one microplot for every one of our hunting areas. These little plots are the our #1 camera spots, our experience is that every deer in the hunting area will visit these small plots at least once in a card pull, and a small 1/2 acre plot is easy to cover with one camera.

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