Growing season is finally here! This is that special time of year when whitetail hunters witness the fastest bone growth in nature. We watch nub bucks grow into monsters in a matter of weeks and feel the rush of Fall approaching when we capture these trophies on trail camera or see them feeding in an alfalfa field. This article is going to give a few tips and tricks on how to use trail cameras to lay eyes on these deer and help you start developing your fall hit lists.
In my experience there are three great ways to utilize trail cameras to capture images of the deer in your area during growing season. First, I’ve had great success hanging cameras over mineral sites. My mineral site is located just south of a 20 acre alfalfa field where 3-5 major deer trails enter the field. Deer use this site as a stopping point as they enter and exit the field providing stellar opportunities for big buck photo ops. It’s important to remember deer only use mineral sites if they need it and just because you put a salt lick out doesn’t mean you’ll have piles of deer show up. Putting these sites close to a stable food source and near high traffic trails will up your chances. Also, using several products in one site will increase the likelihood deer will stop by. For example, I just put out an Antler King Apple Burst Deer Block and a 20lb bag of Big & J’s BB2 in early July. The Antler King Deer Block is a great source of calcium, phosphorus and other important whitetail minerals where as the Big and J’s BB2 has over 30% protein, is a great attractant and offers the deer nutrition they can’t find in the Deer Block. By offering a variety of options, you’re more likely to give the deer something they need and increase your chances of seeing more deer at your sites and on your cameras.
The second great way to utilize trail cameras to capture velvet bucks is to set your camera to Field Scan mode and let it watch the field for you. Field Scan mode is a setting on most trail cameras that allows you to tell the camera when to take pictures. For example, I set my trail cameras on the edge of my larger food plots and tell it take a picture every 15 minutes from the hours of 6am to 8pm. The benefits of Field Scan mode are twofold. First, it allows hunters to capture the entire field during the allotted hours, so you’ll see that bruiser on the far side without your camera needing to be triggered by movement. Second, you can pattern deer. If your #1 hit list buck shows up every day at 7:30pm in the same spot of the field, you’ll know where to move your tree stand for opening day.
Finally, logging trails, tractor trails and four wheeler trails are great ways to get pictures of summer bucks. For whatever reason bucks seem lazier in the summer. Could be it’s too hot to move through the thick stuff, could be there’s no hunting pressure but either way, they don’t worry as much about moving in the open or during daylight hours. They like to tease hunters with this until velvet comes off in late August but if you can find a utility trail that leads to a desirable summer food source, you can find pictures of velvet bucks.
Good luck in the woods to all the Fielder Outdoor readers and hopefully these tips and tricks help you find your Fall trophy!