We’re already on the front steps of summer. Should trail cameras be out right now? These questions might run through your head each and every summer. And depending on who you ask for advice, you get many different responses to running trail cameras in the summer months. Whenever I am faced with a difficult decision, I make a “pros” and “cons” list. Here’s mine regarding summer trail cameras.
Certain camera locations become family projects and my kids love monitoring them. I bring the kids along to the locations that we can drive to, or easily walk to. These cameras are usually on a popular food source. We anticipate with excitement each time the kids and I pull a memory card. Often we will get pictures of deer, sometimes turkeys, and occasionally a coyote, fox, pheasant, or other surprise. Maintaining trail cameras is a great way to teach young hunters woodsmanship, a love for the outdoors, and respect for the wildlife. It’s also guaranteed time spent together.
Even a disciplined hunter can accidentally educate deer in the summer. Maybe a faint hint of bug spray, a few drops of sweat, or sun screen rubbing off on the wrong leaf and that loyal buck will find a new place to call home. I spoke with Lee Gatzke of NextBuk Outdoors and asked his opinion on summer trail camera placement. Lee said, “Basically any place a deer can expect to run into human scent (crop field, barnyard, backyard, hiking trail, two track, etc.…) is acceptable to place cameras to take summer inventory.” If a camera is too close to a buck’s core area, and he becomes suspicious, chances are he will not stick around for a second picture opportunity."
Bill has a different opinion and makes a good point. Many summer bachelor group bucks might be long gone by the time things get serious in the fall. Trying to pattern a mature buck in the summer could be a big waste of gas, batteries, and precious fishing time.
“Yeah” or “Nay” Maintaining trail cameras in the summer may not be the solution for every hunter. One thing is for sure, if trail cameras are being used, use them wisely. Place the camera in a logical spot, limit the amount of interference, and don’t give that wise old buck any reason to leave earlier than he needs to.