Trail Cameras and Field Recon

Steve Johnson

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  • Category Deer Hunting
  • Region -
  • Prostaff Member Steve Johnson

It's mid-July and hot and humid with thunderstorms is the forecast for the next 3-4 weeks it seems. For some of the hunting world the cool temps of fall and watching the sunrise from 20 feet up is merely a passing thought on the way to the beach. For others “the season never ends” and mid-July means trail cameras and velvet footage no matter how hot and sticky it gets.

We have been monitoring trail cameras for the past few weeks and last night I had the opportunity to sit on a field and watch the velvet pile into the field for the evening meal. Trail cameras can tell you a lot about deer movements and habits. Couple that with “field recon” and you can quickly put the pieces of the summertime whitetail puzzle together. While this won't do you much good later in the fall, you can never have enough information about the whitetail woods.

After going over the trail camera photos from the past week I noticed a tall racked 8 point in some of the photos who we nicknamed “Tight 8”. I believe the deer is roughly 3 ½ years old and I wouldn't mind seeing him make it at least another season; however he did catch my eye. Last night on the field he quickly drew my attention when he entered the field from the far corner about 200 yards down from one of our cameras. As he worked his way down the field edge and past the camera I was able to visually confirm what this deer does on a normal basis. I assumed at that point that he must live/bed in the thick clear cut about 300 yards off that corner of the field.

I didn't think much else about it, until this morning. While checking out the “Real-Time Trail Camera Gallery” this morning, I noticed the “Tight 8” making his way back towards the far corner of the field at about 4am this morning. Now it seems even more likely that this particular buck lives and beds back off that corner of the field and most likely in that clear cut.

With the trail camera photos of the buck using the field edge in the evenings walking from that end of the field and actually watching the buck emerge from the corner trail with my own eyes, I have some pretty solid clues where he lives at least during the summer. Add to that, the fact that I now have photos of him headed back to that corner early in the morning and it seems very likely this is his preferred place this time of year.

This is just one example of how trail cameras and watching a field from a distance during the summer months can give you a great starting point when fall rolls around.

Also during this trip I watched an impressive 11 point enter the field from a trail that we have yet to monitor. I have an idea of where he may have come from, but at this point I only have his entrance into the field yesterday for information. I also believe we have his left shed from this past fall, based on his distinct G3. Guesstimating by last year's shed and what I saw yesterday I would say we were watching a solid 140 class buck. This is great information to take to the woods with you as it eliminates some of the split second size guessing that is necessary when managing the farm for mature bucks.

We will be trying to gather more information on his patterns, and a few other bucks, as the summer progresses by watching the field and moving and monitoring the trail cameras. Hopefully within a couple weeks we will have a good idea of his patterns and habits. If we use this information to develop our fall strategy we can greatly increase our odds for success.

Posted by Steve Johnson under Deer Hunting on July 15, 09 02:04 PM | Permalink

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