Jul 10, 2014

Game Cameras

Discover what’s in your hunting area.

By: Marc Drewek

When I bought my first game camera over fifteen years ago, it changed my scouting tactics dramatically. Now, I had eyes in the woods and fields when I wasn’t around. Up to that point all my scouting was done in spring while shed hunting and late summer, using a pair of binoculars to scan the fields. Now, all I had to do was figure this contraption out. This camera was not one like we use today this was the primitive 35mm camera type. It took great pictures but only as many as the film would hold. But the cool thing was discovering that deer weren’t the only critters that lived in my hunting area. I was getting pictures of beavers, otters, the neighbor’s cat and of course the neighbors. One of the highlights was a picture of a big male fisher.

As the years went by, the camera quality increased as well as the ability to hold hundreds of pictures on a single media card. Now the game was getting interesting. I could leave these cameras in the woods for long periods of time without having to change the film. The next advancement was the development of the ability to take video clips as well as pictures. For me, this was the ticket I learned much more in a ten or fifteen second video than with a card full of pictures. With the video element I could tell which way the animals were coming and going. The fun side of this was being able to see the animal’s behavior; you can’t gather as much information with a photograph. I will usually put out camera on my food plots for the summer just to get an idea of where the deer are moving from their bedding areas to food sources. When September rolls around, I start placing cameras on travel corridors just inside the food plots to check for buck activity. I have discovered that bucks like to travel thirty to forty yards on the downwind sides of the food plots. This has helped me with stand placement; then the key is waiting for the right wind.

There are many game cameras out there today and they all serve a purpose. You can go as simple as you want, or go as far as purchasing a camera that sends the photos to your phone or computer. Most of the cameras have the ability to do daytime, IR nighttime and video. It’s nice to have all the options it gives you more flexibility. I feel one of the most important aspects of a game camera is battery life. Some run on D batteries, C batteries, but most seem to use the AAA battery. This last spring while turkey hunting in April, I discovered that I had left my Cuddeback Attack out all winter. The camera had been there since August and hadn’t had the batteries changed since November. Much to my surprise the camera was still taking pictures dating back to November. This camera had run through a major winter with sub-zero temps and still ran on 4 D size batteries, far exceeding my expectations for a camera. That was the longest I had ever had a camera out and I will be doing that more in the future. There were some really cool winter pictures of turkeys, deer, coyotes, a bobcat and even a badger.

No matter what camera you choose, have fun with it, and maybe you will discover something you never thought would be in your hunting area or even in your back yard. Always remember to share your passion for the outdoors with someone; it will make you a better person.