By Mark Kenyon

You know the feeling right? You’re sitting in class or work or at your in-laws, and you can feel it gnawing at the edges of your attention. Your fingers tap uncontrollably, a cold sweat is gathering just above your temples, your eyes are darting from side to side. You need your fix.

No, I’m not assuming you’re a drug addict, I’m assuming you’re a trail camera addict. Let’s be honest, you fall into that category, don’t you? I know I do. We’re completely addicted to trail cameras and it can’t be denied.

The moments before checking an SD card full of trailcam pictures are reminiscent of Christmas morning, we fawn over big buck photos like we used to stare at wallet pictures of our girlfriends in highschool, and similar to a drug junkie, if you caught someone stealing your cameras, you’d probably jump them. So why do trail cameras induce such a feverish sense of obsession? Here are 6 reasons why …

1. Bragging rights: Let’s start off with one that we all know is true, but maybe don’t want to admit to. We love trail cameras because they give us bragging rights and a “trophy” to show off that is much more attainable than actually killing a big deer. When you get that photo of a mega-giant 13 pointer standing in front of your mineral station, I doubt many of you stash it on your hard drive and keep it completely to yourself. If you’re like me, and I’d bet many of you are, you immediately text the pic to your five closest hunting buddies and say “Look at this stink-pig!!! That’s Illinois for ya! How your trailcam pics looking in Delaware Jon? lol” Nothing like a little good natured ribbing via impressive trailcam pics.

2. Seeing the unknown: Humans don’t like surprises, whether we say so or not, we just don’t. In general we always want to uncover the unknown, and trail cameras are the ultimate tool for seeing what previously was invisible, that being the many mature bucks that might roam our hunting properties when we’re not around. Nothing is better than discovering that, unbeknownst to you, a toad of a buck is calling your property home. And few things will get you more excited to crawl out of bed every morning in November. On top of that, there are few (legal) rushes in life more exciting than popping in a SD card and excitedly scanning through a new set of pictures. The possibilities are endless and pretty damn exciting.

3. Conversation material at family events: You can only talk about the Packers or cousin Lizzy’s first communion so many times before you need some new conversation material at your monthly extended family dinner, and that’s where trail camera pictures come in to play. Nothing can perk up a room full of deer hunters more than the words “check out this picture I got last week!” Next thing you know, the five of you circled together staring at your iPhone have passed well over an hour, and dinner will be served any minute.

4. We love getting to know deer: It might seem somewhat paradoxical, given the fact that we’re trying to hunt and kill these animals, but it is a special kind of cool when you can get to know a specific buck over a season or multiple years through trail camera pictures. You can watch him grow into his new antlers each year, identify his unique characteristics, marvel at his size, and get to know his behaviors and travel patterns. You might name him, you’ll likely dream about him, and you’ll certainly try to hunt him – but more times than not, pictures will be all you’ll have to bring home. Still though, that excitement, wonder and anticipation is plenty enough to keep us happy.

5. We like killing deer too: Not only are trail camera pictures fun, in the sense of getting to know deer, but they’re fun because they help us kill deer. Straight up, there might not be a single innovation in the last 15 years that has helped deer hunters more than the proliferation of trail cameras. Identify a deer, learn his patterns, plan a strike. Trail cameras help us do that, and for the obsessed deer hunter, these tools only stoke the fire. Luckily they also help bring home the bacon.

6. They’re just plain fun: When it comes right down to it, we don’t really need to explain our addiction to trail cameras. Anyone who uses a trailcam just gets it. With the help of a good trail camera you can brag to your friends, discover the unknown animals roaming your woods, endure family events, get to know specific bucks, and kill more deer. And all of that my friends is just plain fun.

All that said, be warned … trail cameras can be quite dangerous too. Check out The 7 Greatest Dangers of Trail Cameras