Trail Cam Deer Hunting

September 12, 2012 by  

By Nick Simonson
In my brief foray into bow hunting, I’ve found that each trip afield, whether I see something or not, is generally exciting. The footsteps of a squirrel or the hopping of a small bird in leaf litter is enough to get my heart pumping. When the steps are a lot louder – like those of an approaching deer – my whole body starts to hum with an almost uncontainable energy. I felt that same rush of adrenaline last week, while checking my trail camera in the old lake bottom where I had seen so much activity the year before. While my hunts from that stand didn’t produce any bucks of shootable size, I did pass on a few smaller ones that in turn passed by me at remarkable ranges from one to five yards. They were so close I could see their eyelashes and hear them breathe. In fact, the little spike that walked under my stand was captured on my phone’s video camera, framed by my hunting boots as he walked right up to the ladder. Last Friday, I went out to inspect a small mineral lick, and change the memory card on my trail cam. I turned the camera on and it displayed a full battery reading but for some reason had turned itself off. Below the power meter was the number “1486.” Putting two and two together, I came to the logical conclusion that the camera had taken as many pictures as the card would hold and then powered itself down. Disappointed, I knew that a lot of the images would be pictures of rustling leaves and moving bushes in the area around the camera.

Trail Cam Deer HuntingMy hunch was proven correct as I went through the frames one-by-one on my computer at home. A small group of saplings to the right of the camera had triggered the nearly 1500 photos in an eight day period, causing the camera to automatically shut off when the card reached its capacity. Frustrated, I began forward-clicking through the photos, hoping an animal may have wandered through and set the lens off in between pictures of the local flora.
33 clicks in, the scene remained the same, but a brown figure popped up. I was cycling so quickly through the photos that I had to back click a few times to catch it. It was a buck – big for my area – with a respectable set of four-by-four antlers sporting tall, even tines. I copied the photo onto my desktop and continued clicking through the now very familiar scene of saplings growing in the small meadow. Occasionally a doe and two fawns would pop through and a night photo would get taken, but for the most part, it was just the tiny bushes swaying in the wind on the right side of the camera’s field of vision.

Then, at about picture 1300, the buck appeared again. This time, however, he brought some friends. A bachelor group of three nice bucks had stopped at the mineral lick. The front buck, the smallest of the three, nervously looked toward the clicking lens. The second deer, on the edge of the frame, was frozen in mid-flick of his tail. And finally, warily hanging back in the trees, was the first buck, sticking to the sapling border of the small opening in the meadow.

Despite having to go through so many pictures and the frustration caused by the small bushes near my trailcam, I was rewarded with the opportunity to know that there were definitely some nice bucks in my area. This sent a small rush of adrenaline up my spine and out to my limbs as I pictured myself in the stand, waiting for one of them to walk in. And with the bow opener this weekend, I feel I’m more than ready to attempt to tame the real rush that one of these deer might provide and find success thanks to a little foresight…in our outdoors.


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