Trail Cameras

Summer Trail Cam Warnings

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Summer trail cam pictures are incredible! Photos arrive at a time when any serious whitetail hunter’s pulse is rising, as the days count down towards the bowseason opener. Pictures of monster bucks, new born fawns and high expectations steadily grasp our inner whitetail emotions as the hot Summer days tick by. However, let the viewer beware, because Summer trail cam discoveries reveal that changes are on the horizon and those findings should arrive with several warning labels.

Summer Trail Cam Deceit

Trail cam photos reveal one major detail during the months of June, July, August and September: That a deer passed by a Summer placed trail cam. But how excited should you be? The question of excitement, is where a few of the warning labels center around.

  1. Accuracy May Be Lacking: Bucks form bachelor groups, leaving large portions of the habitat devoid of Summer giants. Although those bucks will most likely live during the Fall within 2 miles of their Summer haunts, you can count on them to separate, scatter and live more evenly dispersed within a larger portion of the habitat. If you expect to gather an accurate estimation of the local herd numbers, let alone the number of various bucks in the neighborhood, your findings may be extremely innaccurate as they relate to the rest of the year.
  2. Hope Could Be Fleeting: Will that giant your Summer trail cams captured actually be around during the Fall? Possibly, but there is absolutely no gaurantee he will remain. In fact, there it is more likely he will leave. Infrequent nocturnal trail cam photos can offer an abundance of false hope during this time of the year, because they mislead a hunter to believe that the buck is till close by, but just nocturnal. The continuous photos fueled by Summer excitement, are often replaced by confusion and disappointment, as that beautiful Summer giant never shows himself during the day. He never shows himself, because he lives a mile or more away during the daytime hours.
  3. Summer Hotspots Are Not Fall Retreats: Some of the best Summer trail cam hotspots are often the worst Fall locations to hang a camera. But it isn’t just about your ability to collect trail cam photos. Attractive Summer habitat is completely different than attractive Fall habitat. Shade, abundant warm season food and a very little understory are each attractive ingredients for a mature buck. However, mature bucks crave open canopy thick cover hotspots adjacent to cool season forages during the Fall, which is the exact oposite of their Summer requirements.
  4. Warm Season Trail Cam Census Will Be Misleading: The absolute worst time to complete a census of the local deer herd is during the Summer months, in particular on your own small parcel. Deer are herded together (bucks in bachelor groups) and the Summer numbers that you may discover could be far to high, or extremely low. My personal favorite time to capture a trail cam census is during the middle of October, at a time when deer are evenly dispersed and prior to the long distance wanderings of rut-crazed bucks. The cold season months find deer herded within traditional wintering grounds, during the Spring deer scatter to replenish their Winter energy losses and when Summer comes about, fawning season an bachelor groups rule the day. The time of the year that deer are most evenly distributed through the habitat, is during the months of Fall, which is an exceptional time to capture an accurate trail cam census.
  5. Ants Love Summer Trail Cams: Trail cam models of all shapes and sizes can be attacked by ants. The ants can nest within, and you would be suprised how many ants can fit into a tiny space! Treating the outside of your camera with an unscented form of Permethrin is a great option and a couple of well placed granuals of ant repellant work just as well.
summer trail cam warnings

*Just in case, a healthy shot of Permethrin on the trail cams I rely on for my career, effectively keeps the ants away!

Are your Summer trail cam expecations too high?

During the Summer months I like to run a dozen cameras or more on the lands that I hunt. I have a great passion for Summer trail cam use however, I heed the warnings and temper my expectations. You can learn a lot from an effective Summer trail cam program, but where a buck will definitively live during the Fall is most likely not one of those revelations. As your Summer sweat is soon to be replaced by Autumn chills, it pays to recognize the warnings of change that the local deer herd is experiencing too.


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