Over the last decade I’ve become obsessed with trail cameras. What started out as a hobby has turned into a passion for capturing all kinds of wildlife in their natural habitat. Believe it or not, the first trail cameras I purchased actually had film in them! The position and location of your camera was crucial, as you would only get 24-36 pictures per roll. Nowadays, you can capture 4K video and tens of thousands of still images on a single SD card. While this makes things easier, the location of your camera is still vital.
Finding the right location to set up your trail camera during the summer months can be tricky. Long, hot, and humid days often result in very little deer movement during daylight hours and can complicate the process of getting the picture or video you’re looking for. Deer often spend their summers in different areas than where they will end up living in the fall. So why bother putting up cameras this time of year? In my experience, many of the bucks you get pictures of in the summer are likely to show back up during deer season. It might only be for a day or two but if it’s the right buck, that can be all the motivation you need to get out of bed in the morning. As a result, I’ve started to put more emphasis on my summer trail cams.
I like to focus on two areas when it comes to setting up trail cameras: food and water. Deer spend most of the summer trying to put on weight and use very little energy. In short, they eat a lot and move a little. If you’re hunting a farmed area, look for access points between the crop fields and the closest bedding area. Deer will cycle on and off different crops throughout the summer and odds are at some point will visit your area. If you’re not hunting near a farm, try to find the areas with the most natural browse and focus your efforts there. As it gets later in the summer, deer start to look for acorns and shift in that direction.
A good water source can provide a great opportunity for trail cam placement as well. Small water sources are pretty straightforward but if it’s a large water source, like a river or a stream, look for shallow areas where deer like to cross. Deer also seem to be drawn to areas with sand during this time and will often bed on the sand during the dog days of summer. The deer in your area will be visiting a water source everyday. If you can get a camera on the right one it can be a great way to get an inventory of the bucks in your area.
At the end of the day, a trail camera doesn’t do you any good sitting inside. With a little extra effort and planning, you just might get a picture that could change your entire season!
By Jordan Browne, Michigan Out of Doors TV
The opinions stated herein are not necessarily those of GreenStone Farm Credit Services.
To view the article in the online 2020 Summer Partners Magazine, click here.