Trail Cam Surveys

In the next few weeks, bucks will be showing noticeable antler growth, and it is a great time to start surveying via trial cam, what deer are utilizing your property.


If you have hunted a property for a number of years, you probably have a good idea of how the deer travel the landscape. If you have a new hunting property, I like using aerial maps or photos of the property for studying different habitats and trying to figure out how deer are moving on the property. Bedding area, travel corridors and food sources, along with topography and cover, influence a how a deer travels. Once you have an idea of how the deer are traveling, the next step is to walk the property and follow the deer sign. Spring is a great time to get out in the woods, once the snow melts, and follow the deer sign. Rubs, scrapes, and trails will be apparent and can be a great indicator of how deer are travelling your property. Once these puzzle pieces are put together, find a location for a mineral attractant. There are many different products at any sporting goods store. I have tried many different types of minerals, but found that the deer on my property prefer one particular brand, so I tend to stick with that. One site per hundred acres of land is sufficient. I place the mineral out in a cleared area free of vegetation that can cause unwanted pictures of grass or leaves blowing in the wind. Leave the site for 10-14 days to allow the deer ample time for the deer to find and start using the site. You will see after this period, deer activity will increase on your camera. Freshen up the mineral attractant, and let the site remain untouched for 2 weeks.

After this period, check your cards and count the number of buck, doe and fawn pictures. This will give you an estimate of your buck/doe ratio and doe/fawn ratio. If you’re lucky, maybe the picture of that trophy buck will be on your camera as well and give you something to look forward to come hunting season.

If not, don’t be discouraged. Bachelor groups of bucks will start to disperse in early September and may utilize different habitats than they did all summer. Fresh rubs and scrapes will start showing up and it will be time to move the cameras from the minerals and onto the scrape and rub lines. You just never know what will show up on your trail cams during this period going into the fall.

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Written by JCR Land Expert, Mike Brown

Dirk Ockhardt