Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Trail cameras have been a tool of the trade for bowhunters commercially since the 1990's when they then utilized 35mm film that would need to be developed. They have since progressed into highly advanced pieces of technology now capable of not only having pictures digitally downloaded and saved but even sent directly to your phone and computer via cell service.
Despite these advances, there may be some of you out there still on the fence as to whether or not you should be adding a trail camera to your arsenal of gear to scout for all wild game. Why use trail cameras? Follow along as we give our best sales pitch as to what you're missing out.
While its true early trail cameras were not cheap and required a large investment of time to check them, exchange the film, drive to the nearest Wal-Mart to develop the pictures, and repeat, new trail cameras have effectively removed all of these inconveniences.
All cameras on the market now, even the cheapest of them, use SD cards of some sort to save the photos. This means its extremely easy and convenient to store and view the pictures at an inexpensive cost. The cameras themselves have become much cheaper too, ranging in price from anywhere around $40 for the respectably inexpensive ones and up to $400-500 for the high end models, although these generally have more features than what is required.
With products such as the Spy-Point Link Micro on the market, you can even get yourself a quality cellular trail camera for an excellent price. Bottom line, cost is no longer a deterrent to keep you from getting yourself a brand new trail camera and the only time you spend is setting them up, checking them, and taking them down.
Scout Without Scouting
Not only do trail cameras help you scout, they do most of the work for you! While nothing beats boots on the ground for initial scouting of a new or old hunting spot, trail cameras allow you to have eyes in the woods at all times with the convenience of laying down minimal scent (with the right precautions) and without any noise disturbance.
This means that you can learn the natural patterns of the game species you're after when they're relaxed and unaware, hopefully like when you would be hunting them.
Prior to trail cameras, hunters had to rely solely on woodsmanship to find their best hunting spots, investing a lot of time on stand to hone in on those best spots. Now, those same woodsmanship skills are used (maybe not as much) to find spots initially, and trail cameras are then used to confirm whether or not that spot is worth hunting.
There are several instances where I have found spots with a lot of great sign in some great deer habitat, but after weeks of trail camera use found that only small bucks and doe family groups were using the habitat like I thought.
Having a trail camera set up in your hunting spots is a lot like having someone hunt for you and then tell you everything thing they know about when and where to hunt for the best odds of success! Sounds pretty nice doesn't it?
Who Doesn't Like Seeing BIG BUCKS?!
There are 3 things in the whitetail woods that get me almost as excited as seeing a deer on stand, and they are (in no particular order): Finding a nice shed antler, finding a shredded tree that I can't get my hands around, and pulling a camera card to see a MONSTER buck staring back at me near my hunting spot!
I mean, you'd have to have no pulse to not feel just a little excited knowing a giant is lurking in your woods. I thoroughly enjoy checking my trail cameras each month during the summer months and on my way to the tree for morning or evening sits.
I use the intel gained in the summer to know what bucks I should be targeting and worthy of "the hit list" come hunting season and when in season I'm able to see what bucks from the summer are still around and active during legal shooting hours.
If you're not using trail cameras, you will be missing out on this valuable information. Even if you'd rather be surprised by what bucks are around, nothing keeps my interest more on stand than knowing that a quality buck went past my stand in recent days.
Join in on the fun!
If you have never had any interest in using trail cameras, now is the time to try! Cameras are cheaper than ever and with the hunting down time of late spring and summer, what better way to get excited for the fall than to put up some cameras!
If you think now is the time to try trail cameras, then you should check out our articles:
to learn more about about successful trail camera use.
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