This is the first of a series of guest posts from my friend, and founder of Hybrid-Outdoors, Bob Polanic. Over the course of this series, Bob will be reviewing the vast and ever-growing archives of The Wired To Hunt Podcast to unearth some of the most helpful and educational portions of individual episodes on specific deer hunting topics. Today, Bob breaks down his favorite lessons learned on trail cameras from several Wired To Hunt Podcast episodes. Enjoy! – MK
By Bob Polanic
Over the past few years I have been doing anything and everything I can to become a better hunter. The two major ways to become a better hunter, to me, are pretty clear: experience and education. Experience is only available three to four months out of the year, depending on where you live. That leaves us an eight or nine month gap where we aren’t learning anything by physically hunting.
That said, during that offseason period you can read books, watch hunting shows, cruise hunting forums, you name it. But let’s face it, it’s summertime and you’re busy. All of these options will help you, but if you want maximum information in a short period of time, you’ve got to start listening to podcasts. Podcasts provide the most efficient way to improve your hunting knowledge without sacrificing time, as you can listen while driving to and from work, while mowing the lawn, or even doing odds and ends around the house. These are all great times to simply listen and learn.
So, over the next few weeks I will be dissecting the Wired To Hunt podcasts and sharing with you the best tips, strategies, and eye-opening bits of advice I’ve learned from the show, purely from a listener’s point of view.
Starting today, I’m going to dive into what I have learned about using trail cameras from the podcast. From early season observations, to patterning mature bucks, there are so many great strategies and tips. Four episodes in particular caught my attention the most and I am excited to share what I found. Here goes…
Top 4 Wired To Hunt Podcasts for Trail Camera Strategies
In this episode, Bill Winke gives step by step direction on how to pattern one specific buck. Bill explains that in order to pattern a mature buck, at first you need to put out enough cameras in enough key areas. Try to put out about one camera for every 20 acres. You should start off with your cameras spread out in order to find the full range of a buck, and then narrow in on him with your cameras once you find his full range. By looking at the first sequence of photos on a buck you’re after, you can figure out where he is coming from and put cameras out in that direction to narrow down his bedding area. Once the season starts, Bill says to narrow in on specific spots, trails, and food sources with cameras by using time-lapse mode. He mentioned that a lot of cameras will only take a picture once every minute so you can run two cameras and offset them by 30 seconds to get more pictures in time-lapse mode. In regards to how and when to check your cameras, Bill says he’ll pull the cards everyday and wait for daylight pictures. He’ll even be pretty aggressive by checking pictures in the field and setting up a stand if there has been daytime movement on that camera. Lastly, Bill ends by saying that sometimes it’s best to just wait and watch the cameras rather than being out in the field leaving scent and educating deer that aren’t moving during the day. Click here to listen and to learn more …
Quick Tips from Bill Winke: If you cannot put cameras in front of bait, try putting them in small feeding areas, the back end of larger fields, or creek crossings – just stay away from bedding areas. As for scent control, try wearing waders to keep scent off tall grass and everything else you might come in contact with.
Terry Drury explains how he uses trail cameras to hunt mature bucks during the early season. Starting off, before hunting season begins, trail cameras should be placed on food plots and feeders in order to gain an inventory of what bucks are around. When the season starts, trail cameras are moved primarily to scrapes in or around fields. Terry explains how his cameras always show mature bucks during that 4:30, 4:45, or 5:00 A.M. mark and you just don’t get pictures much later than that in the early season. This means that during the early season, mature bucks are back in bed before it is light out and you greatly risk bumping them on your way in for a morning hunt. You don’t want to bump them out of their beds in the morning and ruin good evening hunts, it’s just not worth it. Click here to listen and to learn more …
“Trail cameras are the single most important tool we have to hunt whitetails.” – Terry Drury
In this episode Erich discusses one of the most intriguing studies I have ever heard of being done with trail cameras. Erich explains his findings from a 13 month project conducted all over the state of Ohio. The study was run with trail cameras in video mode and showed the negative effect trail cameras can have on your deer herd. There were several videos of bucks high tailing their butts away from cameras after they noticed where the camera was. A test was run with two cameras set out on separate heavily used runs. Run “A” had a camera 10 ft up while Run “B” had a camera 10 ft up and just the shell of a camera at normal level. The majority of deer started using Run “A” over Run “B”, proving how a camera at eye level can have such a negative effect on deer. Videos were recorded of does spooking or acting cautious when smelling around where a four wheeler had been parked two weeks prior. Now, not every deer is the same nor is every property, so you need to run your own study with your cameras in video mode. I think it’s worth mentioning that deer on food plots and at feeding stations were noted to have less of a negative response to the cameras. Click here to listen and to learn more …
Quick Tip from Erich Long: Put cameras at six ft or higher and angle down. The negative response by deer diminished by 90%.
John Eberhart talks about targeting mature bucks on high pressured lands. He doesn’t touch much on trail cameras but he does mention one strategy that I think is the single greatest trail camera observation I have ever heard of. John talks about checking your cameras right around that September 6th through 10th time-frame when bucks have just started to lose their velvet. If you find yourself with a target buck that has shed his velvet but the majority of the other bucks on your camera still have velvet, you need to find any fresh rubs in the area immediately. The thought is, if a buck has shed his velvet, all fresh rubs most likely belong to him and you can figure out that buck’s routes and where he might be bedding. If you can get a stand up near those rubs during the early season, you should have a good chance of being in that buck’s core area one of the first times you hunt for him. Click here to listen and to learn more …
There is so much more information in these podcasts than what I just touched on, but as I explained earlier, these were the tips that just popped and that I really think will help anyone be a more educated hunter. Being from Michigan, and primarily hunting Michigan and New York the past three years, I feel that some of this information is better suited for hunters in the Midwest or on more of an agricultural property. Although, the last bit from John Eberhart is something he pulled off here in the high pressured state of Michigan and I think that trail camera strategy can be used just about anywhere.
None-the-less, there’s plenty to be learned from these podcasts and the many more episodes in The Wired To Hunt Podcast archives. Click here to go back and explore other past episodes, and tune in next time for my review of another important deer hunting topic and the podcast episodes that cover it.
– Bob Polanic