Summer Deer Scout: Set Your Trail Cams Now

trail camera bach group deanThis is the weekend to go to the beach or pool, do a little fishing or hiking, play golf, grill out…

And if you’re serious about your hunting, drive to your spot, lather on the tick and bug repellent, set some cameras and find some bucks to hunt in 3 or 4 months.

I’ve had a few cameras out for a while, but now around July 4th is when I start my recon in earnest. Velvet antlers are up and growing full bore; when you get an image of a buck with potential, you’ll know it and can start tracking and patterning his movements.

One day this weekend I’ll set 2 cameras on 2 half-acre clover plots hidden back in the Virginia woods. I’ll put 2 or 3 more cams on larger plots, but not aiming out into the middle of the fields. Rather, I’ll set these 20 or 30 yards back in the thickets that rim the edges, on or near deer trails. Secluded, thick pockets and bottlenecks like this are where you’re apt of get close images of a nice velvet buck working the area.

I’ll wind up by hitting a couple of creek bottoms and beaver pond edges where I’ve seen bucks moving before, and set a couple more cams on trails and water crossings there. As summer deepens, lazy bucks spend time hanging out in low-lying areas where it’s cool and shady and a jungle of cover.

If you set your cams in the right spot this weekend, you can find out not only the fields or plots where a big deer is feeding, but also where he’s bedding by the water. Although that intel will indicate his summer habits, he will still be on that pattern when bow season opens, and in all likelihood hanging nearby later in the fall.

Recently I read a QDMA article on setting trail cameras. Good info, and two tips jumped out at me.

One, make sure your cameras do not face directly east or west, into a sunrise or sunset, to prevent white-out or silhouette images from the summer sun’s intense glare. Point your cameras north whenever possible.

trail camera setting up.jpg compressed

Two, a new thing to try: Set cameras as high as your head and tilt them slightly downward. All of us set cams like the guy in the picture above s doing, but the point this hunter/writer makes is that deer are less likely to notice (and perhaps then avoid) cameras placed 6 feet or more off the ground.

Have a great weekend and remember to honor our troops for their service and for allowing us to live large and free.

NOTE ON BUCK PHOTO ABOVE: The gang of 6 bachelors was taken by blogger Dean Weimer a few years ago and is one of my all-time favorite summer images. In this post, I mentioned that now you can easily tell the bucks with good rack potential…this illustrates that to a tee.