It’s finally time to check trail cameras!!!! Both Chance and I have been away from home, but I finally made it back home to check the trail cameras we had put out earlier this spring. We had two trail cameras out on the property we have access to during rifle season and I pulled the SD cards on both of these cameras. Getting back home I plugged the SD cards into the computer to look at the pictures and I was both surprised and a little disappointed. The good thing was we had a lot of pictures. This was good news for us because for the last few years we have been dealing with some low deer numbers on this property. Last year during rifle season we saw a very good increase in the number of deer and it was very promising to see this many pictures this summer. The one disappointing thing was that most of the pictures were of does. We had only two bucks show up on camera and the rest of the pictures consisted of a number of different doe groups. This doesn’t leave us with much to form a “hit list” with. So what do we do now?
My guess is that a lot of hunters are having or have faced the same problem we are. So what’s the game plan for this fall? The first thing is to not panic. When I first saw that we had only a few bucks using the property I was very disappointed. But when I thought about the property we were hunting, I realized that I should have known this was going to be the outcome. The cameras weren’t showing us anything we shouldn’t have expected. This property is small and has very little cover. Simply put, it is not made to hold bucks. What it is made to do is act as a transition area for does and well that is exactly what it is doing. Various doe groups are using this property to move north and south to food and better cover. Bucks will us the property too, but just not as frequently as the does will.
The New Strategy
So with the new knowledge we gained with the trail camera pictures we decided to focus both our hunting strategy and our trail cameras.
For the hunting strategy we decided to focus on the travel routes. There is no use focusing on other factors when the main thing driving movement across this property is the travel routes north and south. If we had more bucks using the property we could go into more detail with our strategy and focus on a multitude of other factors, but with does dominating the movement through this property it is better for us to focus on the travel routes. The second part of the hunting strategy is keeping the does comfortable. We what to eliminate the pressure we are putting on the does that use this property on a regular basis. To do this we are going to focus our hunting during the Nebraska firearms season. We are going to do this for two reasons. One is because the bucks don’t really have any reason to use the property before the rut. Yes, we may get lucky and catch one moving through, but the odds are slim. This will also allow us to minimize the human pressure on the property. The second reason is because we what to hunt the travel routes during the rut, when the does will bring the bucks through. The third part of the hunting strategy is to hunt the rut. This property doesn’t have the cover or food that is going to draw bucks to it, but what it does have is does. As every hunter knows, all it takes is one doe to bring that huge buck past your stand.
We also decided to adjust our trail camera use. We currently have two trail cameras on the property, one on the south end and one located more in the middle of the property. With this new strategy we are going to focus on the camera located at the center of the property. We are going to add a third camera to locate the travel routes to and from this camera location. This camera location is a dynamite spot for getting pictures, but we have always had trouble finding the travel routes to this location. The deer always seem to get to this location from a route that is unknown to us and bypass other trail cameras and hunters. Since we decided to focus on travel routes this fall, it is even more important that we identify the specific travel routes on this property. To do this we are adding a third camera location that is about two to three hundred yards away from the trail camera location. We will have this camera up for about two weeks and then check the SD cards. If we find the trail they are using we will keep it in this spot. If the SD card comes back empty we will move the camera to a different location. We will continue to do this in a circle around the previous trail camera spot until we find the trail they are using.
The Next Update From The Field
The best part about this time of year is that the Updates from the Field are beginning to be a lot more hunting focused. In the next few updates we will be focusing all of our attention on where we are going to hunt and what our tree stand placements our going to be. We have plans to hunt two new public land properties this fall and with that comes a lot of planning and scouting. So as the next few weeks go by we will be going on a couple quick scouting trips and giving you some updates on what we are finding and what our strategies will be for these new locations.
Key Takeaways From This Update