With the pre-rut just around the corner, or possibly even just starting in your area now can be a great time to find both local bucks and new bucks entering the location you hunt. Placing cameras over scrapes this time of year can be very helpful to collect an inventory of bucks in your area. Do your best to conceal the camera near the scrape, but be careful not to block the lens or the IR sensor. Deer seem to be a bit more spooky over scrapes.
Placing trail cameras can be tricky, but there certainly are methods that are more effective then others. Check out this article by the QDMA for a full explanation on their thoughts of trail camera placement.
Here a few quick tips to find trophy bucks on your cams:
- Scrapes are the most effective method this time of year, again just be careful to conceal your cam and not spook the bucks off
- Faint trails or possibly doe trials – bucks often use their own trails that are not as defined as doe trails, however, this time of year you may find bucks following doe trails looking for a hot doe
- Rubs may be revisited by bucks or new bucks may inspect rubs, hopefully the buck that made the rub will be working its rub line
- Natural funnels that force all deer to use them, bucks will begin following does through these funnels and likely already use them if they are narrow funnels
Once you locate mature bucks set up to hunt the bucks that are moving during daylight and determine whether they are using the route during the morning or the evening. Then it’s up to you to finish the job and make the perfect shot.
Bonus Tip: Concealing cameras is an art. Some claim that by hanging cameras high you can alleviate deer noticing them. I’ve yet to switch to this method because there is much more effort to hang a camera high and they’re not as easy to check. But if you permanently leave cameras in one location, hanging them high might be perfect for you. I’ve switched to using short green metal stakes to hang my cameras on. I try to place the cameras low and angle them facing upward. I always work to conceal the camera. The primary goal is to hide the camera from deer, but also from people. The bonus of the green metal stakes is that you can easily move the cameras anywhere.