You can’t look at the news, traditional or online, without reading a blaring headline on the outbreak of government snooping. Why worry about the NSA or Eric Holder listening in on your calls when Google knows more about you than your own mother. I’m getting a headache just thinking about my personal rights being violated.
Put the current scandals aside and start some snooping of your own. OK, I’m talking about scouting, and the best way to snoop is with a game camera. Summer starts the beginning of hardcore scouting for big game hunters, and game cams rival firsthand accounts for the best information.
It doesn’t matter where you live—game cams can provide vital information for ambush locations this coming hunting season. Purchase high-quality cameras, load them up with the most memory possible, energize them for long-lasting results and get ready to reap the rewards.
Here are four hot tips to get you the best images for the four top species you’ll be pursuing this fall.
Water is your best bet to get game cam photos of pronghorns, especially in arid areas of the West. Unfortunately, most areas are treeless, so you’ll likely have to mount your camera on a steel post. To avoid having cattle stomp it into the mud, use four short sections of hog panel fence to form a box around the camera. Tie this together using steel posts at the corners secured with baling wire. When it’s time to put up your ground blind, you can use the same setup to save your blind from curious cattle and opening the end facing the water gives you a clear shot. Shut it when you leave.
A green field such as summer alfalfa attracts mule deer from miles around. Locate a lush field and then scour the edges to locate trails with the highest traffic. You might have to set up two or more cameras for the best surveillance. And ranchers are relying on alfalfa as a hay crop, so you won’t have cattle meddling with your cameras.
If you’re scouting in an arid area, then use the pronghorn tip and scout water. If you’re in the mountains, try locating a natural or manmade mineral lick. Elk crave salt and minerals just like cattle. In fact, high country mineral sites set up for livestock attract elk, but like the water setup, you’ll need to box your camera in or set it back far enough so livestock won’t rub on it. Secure it tight. For some reason, elk find cameras easily and bump them. I’ve returned to an elk camera more than once to find it pointing the wrong way … and the last picture was of a bull’s nose!
Game cams can be excellent scouting tools for elk.
Cheat. Sure you can scout for trails and you might have reliable sightings at food plots, but for pinpoint pictures consider deer bait or deer mineral sites where legal. Deer need minerals, so this is the top option. Keep a mineral site in play year-round and you’ll likely have deer visiting the entire time. If you live in a mineral-rich environment, then you’ll have to resort to some sort of bait. Corn is like a drug for whitetails and usually gets their attention.
Regardless of what species you target, game cams can get you great information before the season. They’re also great entertainment.