Are We Overlooking Trail Camera Cons?
Trail cameras over the past 15 years have gone through a major transformation, most for the good. The days of 35 mm cameras and flashes that drain batteries faster than you can replace them have gone by the wayside. The new era of cameras are digital. Most use infrared LED’s and have battery life that will last all season depending on the number of pictures. Cameras now days can even email or text you every picture they take. Cameras have also gotten smaller with blazing fast trigger speeds that can catch pictures of a deer on the run. During the 35mm days where you were lucky to get a walking deer in the frame. With all of these improvements it’s easy to see the advantages of using one of these spy cameras. However, we may be overlooking some trail camera cons.
We May Be Doing More Harm Than Good
For most of us checking our cameras is like being a kid again on Christmas morning. Just waiting for mom and dad to wake up to open our presents. The desire to get a glimpse of a buck that we have been watching all summer. Or waiting for a mature buck to finally show up on our camera. These may drive us to do more harm than we realize. Every time we sneak in quick to just check our cameras and get out, we run the risk of laying down unwanted human scent. In addition, we risk jumping deer out of their beds. The more we wear a trail through our hunting paradise the more we risk alerting the very prey we are trying to outsmart.
Every time our cameras take a picture it makes a CLICK. With some cameras the shutter noise is very minimal but others can be undetectable to us humans. It seems no matter how quiet the shutter or how well we try to hide our cameras we always get pictures of deer looking curiously at our camera. They know it is there.
Batteries & SD Cards Are a Huge Expene
With all of these improvements comes added cost to the hunter. Cameras now days range anywhere from $50 – $500. Not to mention that most of us use multiple cameras across multiple properties. I currently have 21 cameras with plans to purchase a few more this year. Once you purchase your cameras you will need to outfit them with batteries and SD cards. Most cameras now days run off of 8-12 AA batteries, to get the best battery life we automatically grab for the lithium batteries. If you are using multiple cameras, filling them with batteries and SD cards can get expensive real quick. Even more it may not be in the average hunters budget. So they try to get by with one or 2 cameras. This may lead to missing that buck you were hoping to get on camera because you did not have enough cameras.
Many of us hunt public ground. Use of cameras in these areas can get expensive real quick. Although most hunters are pretty honest people you always have a few bad apples. You run a better chance of having your camera stolen on public ground than you do of catching a picture of the mature buck trying to slip through. Most of us can’t afford to keep buying cameras after they get stolen.
Data Collection to Help Prepare Us For Deer Season
Trail cameras do a great job helping us take inventory and pattern deer on a piece of ground. Which is good, or is it? We spend all summer collecting pictures, data, and tracking deer patterns so we can be ready come deer season. Making a “hit list” or a list of the bucks we want to shoot. Deer season comes and a good mature buck walks by but we let him pass because we got that one picture of a buck a few inches bigger. Season comes and goes and that buck we hoped to harvest never shows up. Hence, you are left standing looking at the unfilled tag in your hand. All while thinking, “Why did I not take that buck when I had the chance?”.
This can be a discouraging feeling for many hunters that can bring on months of depression and sadness. We have all heard the saying, “Never pass something on the first day that you would shoot on the last”. For many beginning hunters, getting that first picture of a mature buck can be overwhelming. I have heard many of new hunters saying, “When I shoot this buck, I’m going to mount him this way and hang him over there”. That level of optimism is great but there needs to be some realism that there is a good chance you will never see that deer during daylight hours.
Trail Camera Cons…Is The Element of Surprise Gone?
Cameras have taken away the surprise element of the hunt, they may help many hunters every year fill their tags, but they cause many others to end up eating tag soup. Cameras also only cover a small area and you may go all summer without seeing a mature buck on camera and decide not to hunt much because you think there are no bucks in the area. When in all reality they are walking all around except for right in front of your camera.
With that time of year upon us where hunters are putting cameras back out in the woods trying to see if any bucks are still carrying horns, and anxiously awaiting the sight of fuzzy nubs starting to form, to take some time and come up with a good plan for the year. Cellular cameras are great for cutting down on hunter intrusions but can be too expensive for the average hunters pocket book. So we need to remember to try and over come the temptation to try and sneak in quick to check or cameras when we got some free time on the weekends. The longer you can hold off the better, this may require calling a buddy and having him talk you out of doing it.
When you use cameras wisely they can be a hunter’s best friend and greatest hunting tool. So get those cameras loaded with fresh batteries and start collecting your deer inventory! Don’t forget to get your RAKS because your deer deserve to be healthy and happy!
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