Deer Feeder Trail Camera Tips
Summer can be an exciting time for deer hunters. Deer season is only a few months away and bucks are rapidly growing their head gear for fall. Summer scouting can dramatically increase your chances of success in the fall, but how can you maximize your scouting time? Having established feed sites can draw deer in to an area and help you determine what bucks are there. While basic trail camera monitoring of feed stations can be effective, there are several trail camera tips that can be applied to get more and better pictures and videos from each deer feeder.
Trail Camera Setup for Deer Feeders
By far one of the most important deer feeder trail camera tips is getting the setup just right. First, you want to make sure that you will be capturing photos of the deer’s entire head. Some deer feeder designs like troughs or certain gravity feeders can make it difficult to capture the bucks head and antlers. Placing your cameras perpendicular to the feeder so you can capture a buck as he approaches is one way to ensure this. However, the downfall of this camera placement is capturing a front profile of the buck is difficult unless the buck turns towards the camera. If your feeder allows you to set a camera up at an angle or even flush with the feeder so you can capture bucks approaching, then that set-up is better for you to capture a front profile as the buck approaches. It’s also a good idea to use multiple cameras on a feed station. That way you can be sure to capture both side and front profile pictures of bucks frequenting your feeders. This can be vital when identifying individual bucks and building your season’s hit list.
Just as important as angle and camera view is the actual settings of the trail camera. Another thing to consider is how many pictures you want to set your camera up to take. It can be tempting to set your camera to take more than a couple of pictures per minute, such as a 3 photo burst every minute, but remember, you’ll likely have multiple deer visiting your feeder at any given time which translates into an excessive number of pictures to go through. Deer also spend 5 or more minutes at a feeder at one time. Try to keep the number of pictures you’re taking to two or three with a three to five minute break in between photo bursts. This will still ensure you are capturing enough pictures to completely assess what’s visiting your feeder without having to spend hours going through pictures of the same deer.
A video setting such as a 10-20 second video every 5-10 minutes could reveal even more information than pictures. Video can reveal dominance in bachelor groups, or unique body or antler characteristics in bucks. Keep this in mind when deciding between pictures and videos on your trail camera settings.
It’s no surprise to hunters that regardless of the time of year, you need to be considering a deer’s nose when scouting. There’s no difference when it comes to using game feeders to scout. Although you probably already have your game feeders in easily accessible locations like next to an ATV trail, you will still want to wear rubber boots when filling your feeder and try to avoid touching more than necessary when checking your cameras. Even spraying down with some type of scent eliminator will help you keep your scent to a minimum. Regardless of the time of year or what you’re doing in the deer woods, scent control is always key.
Another very important takeaway is keeping feed and attractant scent off trail cameras. While rare, squirrels and raccoons can damage trail cameras and feeder mechanisms when the scent of the feed is present. One of the most common forms of damage is biting through the sensor or camera lens screen as they attempt to get inside the camera. To combat this use scent free hand sanitizer or spray down the station and your hands with scent eliminating field spray.
How Often Should You Check Your Cameras?
One of the benefits to using feeding stations to scout during the summer is you are already regularly visiting them to fill the feeders. How often you fill your feeders depends on several things including deer density, feeder size, and the amount of natural forage you have on your property, but it’s not unheard of for people to fill their feeders once a week or once every couple of weeks. If that’s the case for you, then there’s no need for you to check your cameras any more often than that. Simply swap cards and batteries when you’re filling your feeders and that should prevent you from over visiting each site.
Watching bucks develop and grow their antlers is always exciting. Using deer feeders can help you provide some nutrition if it’s lacking on your property as well as help you scout throughout the summer. Keep these deer feeder trail camera tips in mind to increase your efficiency when using your feeding stations to scout this summer!