I have to admit, I am extremely fond of trail cameras. The amount of mature buck insight that can be gleaned from just a few weeks from 1 high quality trail cam placement, can provide more info than several seasons of hunting observations. But not all trail cam placements are created equal.
There is a sliding scale of potential locations to place a trail camera, from remote and personal to open and social. While I rely heavily on hidden and intimate photos of bucks for revealing exactly when and where to ambush a specific mature buck, a quality social placement can be used to provide so much more.
*If you like reading about mature buck hunting strategies, make sure that you check out my 1st book, "Whitetail Success By Design".
Make sure that you also take advantage of locations towards the bottom of the funnel of highly defined daily deer movement, instead of trail cam placements that are hidden, secluded and randomly off to the side. There are 3 critical strategies for using social trail cam placement locations, to assist your mature buck harvests this season, including buck ID, nocturnal eval, and bedding area discovery.
*Due to the lack of trespassing concern, this particular trail cam placement is anything but hidden. If you have reason to suspect potential theft or vandalism, check out "Top Tips To Hide Trail Cams".
Trail Cam Placements for Buck Observations
Finding mature buck movements in a hidden honey-hole is pretty cool, but hunting seasons will often be built or broken by collecting large amounts of buck intel, in highly social locations.
1. Buck ID:
If the area is highly social, you should get a picture of a high percentage of every buck in the area...and it doesn't take long! Diverse, large food sources of an acre or more in size are my go-to favorites.
2. Nocturnal Eval:
If the social area that you choose (water or food), is only used during the middle of the night, than something has got to change. Is the land pressured by hunters too much or the social area not hidden enough? Your trail cam placement will let you know.
3. Bedding Area Discovery:
You don't need to invade every buck bedding area in the woods to figure which one lives where. My favorite tactic is to simply use a strategically social trail cam placement to reveal which one moves from which direction; which is a great indication of a specific bedding area pattern of use.
Game cameras have changed the way mature bucks can be studied, followed and hunted to levels unimaginable only 20 years ago. To those who have jumped on the bandwagon of potential trail cam discoveries the journey can be incredibly rewarding, and it should start with highly social trail cam placement strategies.