scouting deer public ground trail cameras | Muddy Outdoors

Scouting for Deer with Trail Cameras on Public Land

Successfully Find Bucks Using Trail Cameras on Public Land

Deer scouting is defined as spending time afield searching, investigating and evaluating one or more areas for white-tailed deer sign to improve the hunting experience. Basically, scouting for deer hunting is spending time in the woods looking for deer sign. Simple enough, head out a few weeks before deer season, look around and hang a few stands where you see the most sign. Or more commonly today, hang a few trail cameras and hunt in those areas where you see the biggest or the most shooter bucks. That approach can sometimes work on private land, with an emphasis on sometimes, but almost never produces consistent results on public land.

Public Land is Different

The issues with public land hunting are competition from other hunters and your inability to control the environment. It is no secret that the best hunting on public land is far from the roads. According to research from Duane Diefenbach of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit and others, it is estimated that 87% of hunters in Pennsylvania hunt within approximately 500 yards of a road (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10871200591003445). That said, mature bucks tend to move to more interior habitats to avoid as much human interaction as possible.

On private lands, you know exactly who is hunting the same property and more than likely where those other hunters are at on most days. The same is not true on public land. You are constantly trying to beat other hunters to a prime spot in the morning, hoping your truck alone will deter others from walking in on your hunting area. Pressure likewise poses a problem when scouting for deer with trail cameras on public land. Secure deer trail cameras with locks and protective cases so your camera and all those pictures are still there when you return.

scouting deer public ground trail cameras | Muddy Outdoors

Also, you cannot control many aspects of the area you are hunting. For instance, other people who may or may not have the same hunting skills that you have, including scent control tactics, are going to be moving around your stands. Public means everyone, so hikers, bikers and certainly other sportsmen are going to be disturbing bucks in prime hunting locations. Bucks know this and finding the mature ones involves avoiding human activity as much as possible. Find areas that are not used or not used often by people. In addition, you have limited options to change the physical environment. Food plots and cutting trees are out; hunting public land means you have to find key habitat areas by scouting.

Scouting for Deer on Public Land

Scouting for deer on public land breaks down into two parts. First, start with a computer. Instead of pulling off the road in an area that “looks good”, start with scouting for deer on public land by using your computer. There are various freely available mapping programs out there. Find one that works for you and pull up topographical and aerial images of regions you are interested in scouting. This long distance scouting helps you discover key areas to setup your cameras. Look for cover funnels, habitat edges, saddles and points. Many of these tools also allow you to add points and save your maps. Perfect for identifying spots to hang trail cameras. Identified spots from aerial and topographical maps provide a thoughtful starting point to hit the ground.

Finding key locations from mapping technologies does not take the place of getting on the ground. The second part of scouting for deer on public land effectively is about studying travel patterns to and from feeding and bedding areas from the ground. You cannot be in different areas at different times so positioning your trail cameras in areas like these will give you an accurate picture of when and what types of bucks are around. Take note of access from roads and trails. Those play an important part in you getting to your stand and also how many other people may be using the area. Investigate land features, such as changes in habitat types or funnels, as possible options for stand locations. Look for past deer sign like old rub, scrapes and pellets. These clues help to determine placement of tree stands as the season approaches.

Scouting Deer with Trail Cameras

Trail cameras should be a significant part of any hunter’s scouting strategy. Deer trail camera photos provide scouting 24/7 so you can begin to understand deer movements in a particular area. They give clues to help you pattern buck activity and most importantly, they allow you to take an inventory of the bucks in the area so you know what kind of potential is available come fall. A good trail camera survey will help in the decision-making process when it comes time to actually head to the woods to start hanging tree stands.

Place trail cameras on trails leading to feeding areas when scouting for deer in the summer. As the season progresses, move some cameras to scrapes and other areas where rut activity is visible. Do not be afraid to hang multiple game cameras in close proximity to ensure you capture all the key elements of your hunting area. Public land bucks are more unpredictable than hunting deer on private land. Therefore your scouting for deer with trail cameras strategy has to compensate in order to get a clear picture of the type of bucks and their movements in your location.

One of the biggest mistakes deer hunters make is not identifying bucks that are killable from their deer trail camera photos. If you are scouting deer with trail cameras correctly, there will be hundreds of photos to sift through. Do not waste time analyzing bucks you will never be able to harvest. Observed activity of mature bucks on your trail cameras will determine if a buck will be able to be killed. If a buck is strictly nocturnal your only chance may be during the rut. If a buck is active during the day then it depends on where he is active. His activity must be in an area that is accessible for hunting without spooking him off. Luckily, cameras provide you all this information. The challenge is finding places to put your trail cameras on public land.

Where to Put Trail Cameras for Deer

Scouting for deer on public land does not have to be frustrating nor does it have to be an exercise in futility. Trail cameras are clearly not just for private land. However, as discussed earlier, do not just throw some game cameras up without some thought. Getting the best trail camera pictures required to evaluate an area is more skill than luck. To find the best bucks on public land, grab your deer trail cameras and head to these three places for scouting.0

scouting deer public ground trail cameras | Muddy Outdoors

  1. Explore newly purchased public land or boundary extensions. These areas are unknown to most hunters and often border great buck habitat that was once off limits. Land acquisitions can be found on most state and federal land management websites. Keep current with those areas that have been purchased and spend time scouting for deer in the summer on these additions. Place trail cameras on border zones to capture deer activity from adjacent properties in order to plan fall tree stand placements. Also, it is worth noting any land additions that are in the pipeline. You can get a head start on these new areas by scouting for deer hunting from your computer so you are ready to hit the ground once these areas are open for hunting.
  1. Scout fringe areas, which are edges of public land. Fringes like borders with adjacent properties or areas like pipeline right-of-ways can be rewarding and disappointing at the same time. These areas are typically closer to human access points where hunting pressure will be greater. Because of this, understanding all the possible access points of other people including roads and trails is key. If you can understand the amount of and where the pressure is coming from, you will be better able to eliminate areas where not to put stands.

On the other hand, fringe habitats often provide food sources unavailable to deer in interior forests. Also, conservation agencies frequently plant food plots or other wildlife forage in fringe areas making them highly attractive to deer. Even with the added pressure deer will routinely travel these fringe areas to feed then return to more isolated interior areas. The trick here is finding travel routes to and from the fringes. Trail cameras should be setup on several deer trails. The photos can then tell you exactly when deer are using this area. Too much pressure and deer will be nocturnal. Capture a buck on your camera during shooting hours and it is game on.

  1. Focus on small, ignored public land areas. These can be an island of unique habitat or more commonly a disconnected piece of land. Do not overlook these seemingly insignificant fragments of public land. The masses of hunters rarely consider these tracts part of the larger public lands so pressure is reduced. Big whitetails seek out separated islands of lands as pressure from adjacent properties increases. Scouting here is similar to scouting fringe areas. Positioning your trail cameras on trails will give you a good idea if this isolated piece of ground is the right place to hunt.

Speaking the words public land hunting usually send chills down the back of even the most dedicated hunter. Putting big bucks and public land in the same sentence is hardly ever believable. However, every year tags are filled with trophy whitetails from public lands. What is the common thread? Scouting. Scouting for deer on public land with trail cameras is essential for harvesting mature whitetails. No more shall you be frustrated during deer hunting seasons on public land.

hunting big woods bucks in wilderness settings | Muddy Outdoors

Hunting Big Woods Bucks in Wilderness Settings

Tricks and Tips for Finding and Hunting Big Woods Bucks

There’s nothing quite like a truly remote, wilderness hunt for whitetails. After traversing miles on foot, you settle into a hunting site with promising sign. You can’t hear or see any sign of humanity – nothing but the sounds of nature around you. When you do see a deer, you know it probably hasn’t seen many people in its lifetime.  That’s the beauty of hunting big woods bucks.

What is Wilderness?

While you can still find some remote wilderness areas out west and certainly further north, it’s harder and harder today to find a truly remote area in the eastern half of the United States. Development and increasing road and trail networks are shrinking the natural areas of the world. But you owe it to yourself to seek the remaining ones out. You don’t have to make a trek to Alaska to find one either. We’ll define a wilderness area here as a spot without human disturbance (e.g., building, road, or trail, etc.) within one mile. Most people aren’t willing to walk a mile through the woods to get to their hunting spot. In fact, most stay within ¼ mile of a trail. So in many ways, hunting big woods bucks opens up additional hunting opportunities for you.

hunting big woods bucks in wilderness settings | Muddy Outdoors

It might seem like going through all the extra work would actually limit your hunting opportunities. But remote areas often have “good hunting” for hunting big woods bucks for a few reasons. First, the deer there are mostly unpressured since nobody takes the time to hunt them. As long as you hunt them smartly, that doesn’t have to change either. Two, since they are unpressured, they follow pretty normal and easy-to-distinguish patterns. This makes them a little easier to hunt in the long run. And third, these areas can often act as sanctuaries for gun-shy deer. By being in the right place at the right time, you could find yourself surrounded by deer when they get pushed from the easily-accessible areas.

How to Deer Hunt in Remote Areas

Let’s look at a few details you should consider when you decide you want to start hunting big woods bucks. Whether you’re completely new to the area or you’re somewhat familiar with it, there are a few things you shouldn’t overlook.

Getting to Your Destination

Depending on where you’ll be hunting big woods bucks, you may be able to simply walk out your back door to a remote area. More than likely, though, you’ll have to drive somewhere first. You may be able to take an ATV down a trail to where you want to park it for the day, and then set out from there on foot. But no matter what, you’ll be walking. A lot. Make sure you have good hunting boots and break them in before the season starts. A mile walked through the woods is very different than a mile walked on a sidewalk. There are obstacles to navigate around and uneven terrain to trip you up. Practice with a loaded backpack in the pre-season months, so you know what to expect.

The other thing about hunting big woods bucks is that the places they live are usually very hard to get to. Not just because they are a mile back in the woods, but because they are often separated from the trail or road by a marsh, stream, or river. In these cases, the sanctuary effect is even more pronounced. Big whitetail bucks love these areas because they know they should be secure there. Make sure you bring waders or a canoe so you can cross the obstacle and get where you need to be. Again, that might seem like a lot of work to commit to for the chance to see a deer. But that’s the reason the deer hunting should be better on the other side; nobody but the ambitious wants to go through that work.

Navigating a mile back in the woods does require some basic woodsmanship skills. You should be comfortable using a map, compass, and terrain/topography features if you’re going to do this, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory. Otherwise, wandering around a remote section of woods could turn into a very long and potentially dangerous day. Alternatively (and where legal), you could cut a small access trail or mark it with reflective pegs or flagging tape so you can find your way back and forth easily. But the problem with that is that it just opens up the possibility that someone else will follow it. Making it easier for you will also make it easier for everyone else. And the last thing you want to do is clue everyone else in on your plans to go deer hunting big woods bucks.

What Kind of Tree Stand?

During typical tree stand hunting, you can easily pack a lot of gear with and be comfortable all day. But hiking a mile or more back into the woods means your options are somewhat limited. Since you can’t carry a lot with you, you need to be able to either hunt on the ground, using a ground blind or relying on excellent camouflage clothing, or carry a lightweight climbing tree stand with you. You could also use lock on stands if you want another lightweight option. It is critical in these situations to hang the stands carefully and quietly. You can quickly alert every deer around on a calm morning if you’re not careful. That would defeat the purpose of even having a tree stand for hunting big woods bucks in the first place.

hunting big woods bucks in wilderness settings | Muddy OutdoorsThe Stalker Climber is a very lightweight climbing option by Muddy Outdoors that anyone who plans on tree stand hunting can appreciate. It is crafted from lightweight aluminum and features sturdy backpack straps to haul it with you wherever you go. This versatility and ability to bring it with you on remote trips makes it one of the best tree stands for hunting.

Finding the right tree will be just as important if you’re tree stand hunting. You need to be able to see a good distance from up in the tree, and have enough openings to shoot through when the opportunity arises. Particularly when you’re bow hunting, you’ll need enough room to thread arrows through the brush. However, all of this is really hard to see in the pre-dawn blackness. For that reason, it would be much easier to do all of this if you could go out and scout before your hunting season starts, so you know what the area looks like.

Scouting whitetail deer in these areas is a delicate process. You don’t want to tromp around so much that you leave lots of human scent everywhere. That would again ruin your chances of sneaking into and hunting a remote area. The king of big buck hunting tips is to remain as invisible as possible, including when you’re scouting. Try to find out as much about the area from aerial photographs as you can, so you can target only the best-looking spots to hunt. If you find a couple promising trees that would work for tree stand hunting, you could flag them or use reflective pegs to easily find them with your headlamp. If you’re using climbing stands, you’ll also need to find a straight-trunked tree with few or no branches in the lower half in order to climb it well. Whereas, if the area you’re hunting in had lots of mature trees with branches along the trunk (e.g., white oaks), lock on tree stands may be a better option.

How to Hunt Deer

Bear in mind, you’ll have to leave very early in the morning to get to a spot and get your stand hung before daylight in one of these areas. The sheer distance and effort required is something you’ll underestimate the first couple times, so add 10-20% onto whatever time estimate you come up with. Otherwise, you’ll probably show up at your hunting tree stand after the sun is up. Similarly, it will take a long time to get back in the evening, so plan accordingly. Because they are so far away, it really only makes sense to hunt a spot like this if you hunt all day. That way, you can make the most use of the effort it takes to get there.

In order to do that and remain comfortable all day, be sure to bring along high-nutrition foods and snacks, as well as enough water. Especially if you’re bow hunting big whitetail bucks in the early season, you may also need to bring insect nets or repellents. And please don’t forget to bring a urinal bottle and toilet paper! There are no outhouses in the wilderness.

Packing Deer Out of Public Land or Wilderness

hunting big woods bucks in wilderness settings | Muddy OutdoorsIf you follow the steps above and luck out while hunting big bucks, take a moment and congratulate yourself! You’ll have accomplished something few can do. But the reality is that the real work now begins. Remember how hard the walk in was? Now you get to do it while dragging a mature buck behind you, plus your hunting gear. There are no ATVs, side by sides, or trucks to make the journey any easier. And dragging a deer across the ground for a mile can ruin the hide and introduce debris into the chest cavity, compromising the meat quality. Besides that, it’s a heck of a lot of work. The Mule Game Cart by Muddy Outdoors is a perfect companion for a trip like this. You can haul your tree stand and other hunting gear with you on the way in. And if you manage to tag out while bow hunting big bucks, the game cart is rated to 500 pounds, so you can haul the deer and your gear back out at the same time. As long as you don’t have to thread the cart through dense brush or tree cover, it’s a great option.

If you were wondering how to go deer hunting in remote areas, hopefully you’ll be more encouraged to try it now. It does take more work to hunting big woods bucks, but the reward can often be worth the effort.

The Gear and Camera Arms You Need for Filming Deer Hunts

The Gear and Camera Arms You Need for Filming Deer Hunts

The Gear You Need To Film Deer Hunts | Camera Arms

Nothing is better in our eyes as whitetail hunters to be successful at a whitetail hunt, and live those 5-30 seconds of intense action just before the harvest. Once successful the whole hunt from getting into the truck, to placing the buck into the bed is a once in a lifetime memory that will never be forgotten. What could possibly be better than living this moment? Reliving it any time you want! Filming deer hunts is gaining more and more popularity each and every year. From simply watching the hunt and shot placement, too full out TV and online shows, filming deer hunts is a growing passion that peaks the interest of most if not all deer hunters. With all of the gain in popularity it’s a shock there is not more advice on how to actually film your own deer hunt, which camera’s to buy, or which camera arms, and camera gear you should buy.

Luckily we are creating and producing exactly that for you! This is part 2 on this topic, part 1 previously went over exactly what camera you should purchase for beginning to film your own deer hunts.

Camera Arms and Camera Gear for Filming Deer Hunts

Buying the right camera for the job is one aspect to filming deer hunts, and should be your first concern when begging or researching how to start filming your hunts. Our last blog was dedicated to which camera to buy for filming deer hunts. This part 2 will be more centered on the fine tuning of your gear, including a camera gear list of what you will need to successfully film your deer hunts out of the gate as a beginner.

How to Film Your Own Deer Hunt 2 | What Camera Gear and Camera Arm You Need

(Video) – Part 2 in the series devoted to filming your own deer hunt. This second installment will cover which camera gear and camera arms to consider for filming deer hunts.

Fluid Head

After you have purchased your camera arm, a fluid head is needed. The fluid head ensure smooth pans, smooth video during the hunt, and full flexibility to film the entire hunt no matter the angle. There are many choices when it comes to fluid heads, just keep in mind the performance and price point, and its ability to be attached to camera arms, and tripods.

Tripod

A tripod is not necessarily needed for filming whitetail hunts, unless you plan on filing a lot of B-roll on the ground or plan on using a ground blind or box blind during the season. A good tripod for those instances is one that is strong and durable and can support and balance the weight of your fluid head and the camera.

Backpack

This is not often mentioned when it comes to filming hunts, but anyone that does try filming their own deer hunts knows this is a critical piece of the equation. Buying a good backpack that is large enough to haul all your film gear is absolutely essential! Beyond that, comfort, enough pockets for all the camera accessories, and durability to stay intact season after season.

Hunting Safety Harnesses and Lines

It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of filming. Trying set up all the gear, the hunting camera arm, run the camera, get good quality footage, and trying to potentially harvest the deer you are filming makes it very easy to forget about the most important thing when up in a tree stand…safety!

Hunting Camera Arms

By far the most important part of filming a whitetail hunt is getting the right camera arms. The hunting camera arm is the base of which your hunt is built on. It is the first and last piece of equipment in the tree and is the platform from which your footage is dependent on. This choice can make filming your own deer hunts extremely enjoyable or awfully hard and frustrating. This is the piece of equipment that could make or break your footage and hunt.

Now when it comes to choosing a camera arms for filming deer hunts, you have three considerations.

  • Camera Arm Consideration 1: Setup

While some camera arms may seem and look good on paper or online, your real consideration is how easy it will be to set up. Put yourself in the November morning hunt situation. Its early morning, an hour before the sun rises, its cold, and its dead silent and crisp. You will need to be stealthy and quick, but efficient at getting in the stand and ready for the hunt. You will have bulky clothes on, and most likely just a red or green light that is dim, just barely enough light for you to see while you are climbing up in the tree stand, hoisting your camera gear up, and setting up your camera arm. Setting up the arm needs to be simple. In part this comes down to nothing being able to fall off of the camera arm, especially little parts that are easy to loose. An ideal camera arm will be solid, and extremely simple that will allow a hunter to set it up fast, and with little effort.

  • Camera Arm Consideration 2: Noise

Again imagine yourself in the November woods. 3 things describe morning hunts in November. Crisp hard frost that glimmers in our headlamps, the crunch of leaves in a dead silent woods, and a cold sunrise ahead that could be ruined with just one clank. We have all done it before, when you hunt enough you eventually mess up while climbing in the stand or hanging your gear. Adding filming gear adds to the list of things that could go bump in the night and ruin your hunt. Having a camera arm that is designed for the hunter and keeps the aspect of stealth and noise dampening in mind is best.

  • Camera Arm Consideration 3: Function

Finally, the last consideration that is one of the most important when deciding what hunting camera arm to but is function. Not how it sets up, how quiet and ideal it is to take up in the stand, but overall how it functions at its intended purpose…being a solid camera arm. This means being stable, holding weight, becoming level in situations, and staying smooth for quality footage.

Main Camera Arms

An ideal camera arm that takes all the above into consideration, and has a proven track record is the Outfitter camera arm.

Hunting Camera Arm

The Outfitter has extremely quiet joints and pivots, is easy to pack and sets up in seconds. It has a bubble level and has a range of adjustments to get the camera arm perfectly adjusted.

  • SIZE: 4” Wide x 14” Tall x 40” Long (with full arm extension)
  • WEIGHT: 4.5 Lbs.
  • WEIGHT RATING: 10 Lbs.
  • USE: Easy Leveling + Quick Release Lever + 360 Degree Extendable Arm Gives you the Perfect Camera Angle!

Secondary Camera Arms

The next piece of equipment you will want to take up in the stand with you is a secondary angle arm. The Muddy Micro Mount Camera Holder supplies a camera holder and a secondary camera arm.

Small Mini Micro Hunting Camera Mount Arm

Together this package not only supplies a holder and head to place your GoPro on, but supplies a bow or gun holder. Minimizing what you take to the stand, especially when filming your own deer hunts is always ideal.

Conclusion

If you are looking to take up filming your own deer hunts this season, start with purchasing a good beginner camera, then work your way down the checklist with the appropriate camera gear and camera arms. Take into this information into consideration and it will create an opportunity for you to be effective and enjoy the sport of filming your own deer hunt.

Summer Deer Management with Trail Cameras |Running a Trail Camera Surveys

What To Do With Your Trail Cameras This Summer | Run A Survey!

Summer Deer Management with Trail Cameras |Running Trail Camera Surveys

Do you completely understand the deer herd on your deer hunting property? Many hunters would probably say yes without really thinking about the question. Understanding your deer herd is more than just being able to harvest deer consistently. Trail cameras can unlock information about the health of your herd and the number of harvestable bucks roaming around pre and post season. But there is more to it than just hanging a few trail cameras up and looking at pictures.

Starting with the Trail Cameras

Whitetail deer camera surveys are more than just hanging a bunch of trail cameras. First of all, if you want to have more than a lot of pictures at the end of the summer, you have to put some science and thought into how you place trail cameras on your property. It starts with choosing high-quality trail cameras. Cameras that are not top-end will give you less than adequate images to review, categorize and compile into actionable information you can use to manage the deer on your property. The best trail cameras for deer hunting are those that have some of the following qualities.

  • Fast Trigger Speed – first of all, is one of the more important qualities in a high-quality trail camera. Faster is better in most circumstances but ultimately it depends on how you plan to use your trail cameras. For those hanging game cameras for monitoring deer populations, trigger speed is less important because you are usually setting up a game camera over an area like a food source where deer are typically going to be stationary long enough to get quality images. On the other, trigger speed is critical if you are surveying trails. Slow trigger speed can be the difference between identifying a buck or only capturing a passing rump.
  • High Image Quality – In addition to fast trigger speed, high image quality allows you to differentiate different bucks on your property. Poor images from lower quality cameras makes it harder to clearly identify unique bucks, which is important when trying to calculate deer density. Good image quality also saves you time categorizing photos into shooter or not shooter buck lists because you can easily see all the attributes each buck has from the quality of each deer trail camera picture.
  • Battery Life- Finally, battery life is something many property owners do not consider with a good game camera. Perhaps the most significant deer trail camera tip is to choose a game camera that has a long battery life. Extended battery life is important for three reasons. First it saves you the expense of purchasing pack after pack of batteries to keep your cameras operating. Placement, the second reason, can be more remote since you are not having to go back as many times to change batteries. Third and final reason is fewer return visits to these trail cameras. Trail cameras – also known as game cameras as their name suggests, are cameras placed in areas where game are active or will pass in front of the camera, this often includes bait, trails, food sources, or water. With that definition, the name suggests that the game or this case deer, in order to be active, means no pressure. That means the more visits, more scent and disturbance, and ultimately pressure that can cause deer to change their patterns.
Muddy Outdoors Trail Cameras – Muddy Pro Cam 12
(Video) – High quality deer trail camera pictures from Muddy Outdoors newest game camera.

A good scouting camera can only get you so far. There is an art to getting great game pictures suitable enough to start making management decisions from. Trail cameras are commonly attached to a tree using the supplied straps. Step up security by incorporating a lock to secure it from any light-fingered trespassers that may come across them. Different trail camera mounts are also available if you are setting up a game camera to monitor a field or when trees are not where you need them to be to capture the best possible images. Mounts are nice because they can change angles and positions to place your camera in the right spot. Much of image quality relies on the type of game cameras you are using, however, there are a few deer trail camera tips that you can use to get better deer trail camera pictures. Focus in on the five C’s to capture good trail camera images; camera angle, contrast, color, composition and chips. Click below to dig into those trail camera tips.

Trail Camera Surveys

Managing your property for deer requires information. That information has always been collected, mostly through scouting and observation in the field, but trail cameras give hunters a technological advantage in collecting information. Summer is by far the best time of the year to monitor your deer herd population with trail camera surveys. Summer allows you to collect information like fawn recruitment, sex ratio, age structure of bucks and to compile estimates on deer density for your property. This information helps you to make informed decisions about how many deer can and should be harvested and whether deer habitat needs to be improved in order to promote better herd health. Trail camera surveys also provide pictures of the majority of the bucks on your property, which is a great resource to use to compile shoot and do not shoot photo books for the upcoming season.

Trail Camera Surveys

BUY NOW

Trail camera surveys are conducted in mid-summer as antlers mature and again in late-winter after hunting season but before antler drop occurs. Pre-season surveys provide information on herd health including fawn recruitment as well as giving you a glimpse at what type of bucks are lurking for the upcoming season. Post-season surveys give you a “what happened” look. These surveys can identify survival rates from hunting season and qualitatively look at the overall condition of the deer herd as winter approaches.  Why these two times of the year for conducting camera surveys? In order to analysis your property, unique bucks have to be identifiable. Mid-summer and late-winter are times of the year when antlers can be used to I.D. bucks confidently.

Finally, the number of trail cameras needed depends on the size of your property. The goal is to capture as many pictures of each deer on your property as possible. Based on a deer’s home range size, a rough guide is to use one camera for every 80-100 acres. The more cameras the better but at about 40 acres the law of diminishing returns kicks in and any additional cameras are just wasting batteries. Try to position each camera near the center of each 80-100 acre section of your property in general, but more importantly near areas that deer will frequent like food plots, mineral sites or watering holes.

Summer Trail Camera Strategies

Summer is in full swing. Deer movements during this time of year are mostly driven by food availability. Position game cameras along field edges or near food sources like orchards or food plots to capture the most pictures as part of your survey. Where legal, you can use bait or mineral sites to attract deer into range of your trail cameras in areas like large forest tracts that have limited available summertime forage. Either way, food is number one on the minds of deer this time of year so it only makes sense to hang a camera where you are going to get the most deer trail camera pictures. Also do not dismiss water sources as an option for positioning a trail camera. The summer heat and increased consumption of food tends to force deer to travel to a watering hole at least some point during the day. These areas can be a place to capture deer trail camera pictures of bucks that may only be coming to your property for water and nothing else. Information like this learned from alternative trail camera placement strategies is invaluable and can be helpful to get a complete picture of the deer on your property.

The Actual Deer Survey

A typical trail camera survey should be conducted for two weeks. Check game cameras at a minimum during the survey to keep your results as natural as possible. When the survey is over, take your pictures back to your computer and start the exciting part of going through the hundreds of image you have captured. Retain each deer picture as all are important for a complete analysis. Use the pictures to classify and count each unique buck. Count all mature does and fawns. A good deer trail camera tip is to save all the buck images to a separate folder so you can come back later and easily classify them as a shooter buck or not. At the end of this exercise you now have the number of unique bucks and total number of does and fawns. All that is left is some simple math to calculate an estimate of your property’s deer population.

  • Bucks – The math here is easy. The number of bucks is simply the number of unique bucks captured by your trail cameras during the survey.
  • Does – Divide the total number of doe pictures by the total number of buck pictures. Then, multiple that result by the number of unique buck pictures.
  • Fawns – Same calculation as determining your doe population estimate. Divide the total number of fawn pictures by the total number of buck pictures then divide that result by the number of unique buck pictures.
  • Total Deer Population – Add together your results for bucks, does and fawns to get an estimate of the total deer on your property.

That is it! You have just completed a simple process to use game cameras to acquire baseline data on your deer population scientific enough to make management decisions on herd health and harvest requirements. More importantly, the numbers are beneficial to detect trends across multiple years. Trends like how your population is growing (or shrinking) or is the adult sex ratio becoming unbalanced are easily observed with data tracked from trail camera surveys from year to year. Finally this exercise allows you to be able to recognize bucks in the field more quickly so that harvest decisions in season happen without even thinking.

Conclusion

In conclusion, trail cameras are an essential part of your whitetail deer management plan. A well-executed trail camera survey can provide insights on herd health, deer density and even uncover trends from year to year that can drive decisions on management. If you are not already using camera surveys to check in on your property’s deer herd, summer is a perfect time to pick up a few Muddy Outdoors trail cameras and get to it.

Muddy Outdoors Camera Arms for Filming Hunts

Which Camera to Buy for Filming Deer Hunts?

Which Camera to Buy for Filming Deer Hunts | How to Film Your Own Deer Hunt: Part 1

Filming whitetail hunts is becoming more popular each and every year. Whether it is dreaming to become a professional hunter, have a career in the outdoor industry, or just the want to record your own deer hunts for friends and family, buying film gear and hauling it up in the tree stand is a growing trend. While this industry plunges further into multimedia use, video use, and web/TV show content, not a whole lot of information is available on filming your own deer hunting. Fortunately there are some great articles, videos, resources and advice out there if you look for them hard enough. Luckily for you, you happened to stumble upon this series. Part 1 of this series on how to film your own deer hunt, will deal with the actual cameras themselves, and the most important question…”which camera to buy for filming deer hunts?”.

The topic of filming deer hunting is expansive and never ending, mostly because there are so many different levels of filming. From amateurs to ProStaff members, and TV show quality to creative agencies and videographers, certain advice does not pertain to all hunters taking a video camera to the woods. If you are looking up which camera to buy for filming deer hunts you most likely are just getting into filming, or trying to touch up on your gear and skills before going to the next step in your career. For that level of filming, we have compiled some helpful information.

Which Camera to Buy for Filming Deer Hunts?

By far the most important aspect of filming a whitetail hunt is the cameras and camera gear itself. It is the main tool for the job. While there are many parts, gears, and critical tools that go along with filming such as tripods, fluid heads, and hunting camera arms, the camera itself is what really matters first off.

How to Film Your Own Deer Hunts | Which Camera To Buy

(Video) Are you looking for a detailed video on how to film your own deer hunt? Here are the basics of filming deer hunts, including which camera to buy for filming whitetails.

Overall there are 3 cameras to potentially get or put in your hunting pack. The camcorder, the DSLR, and the action camera.

Camcorder

Camcorders really are the backbone of filming deer hunts. As far as entry level camera gear general advice tries to stick around the $600-$1,200 range. In this category and for the price most hunters shoot for the Canon Vixia HF G10, 20, 30, or G40.

Filming whitetail hunts is becoming more popular each and every year. Whether it is dreaming to become a professional hunter, have a career in the outdoor industry, or just the want to record your own deer hunts for friends and family, buying film gear and hauling it up in the tree stand is a growing trend. While this industry plunges further into multimedia use, video use, and web/TV show content, not a whole lot of information is available on filming your own deer hunting. Fortunately there are some great articles, videos, resources and advice out there if you look for them hard enough. Luckily for you, you happened to stumble upon this series. Part 1 of this series on how to film your own deer hunt, will deal with the actual cameras themselves, and the most important question…”which camera to buy for filming deer hunts?”. The topic of filming deer hunting is expansive and never ending, mostly because there are so many different levels of filming. From amateurs to ProStaff members, and TV show quality to creative agencies and videographers, certain advice does not pertain to all hunters taking a video camera to the woods. If you are looking up which camera to buy for filming deer hunts you most likely are just getting into filming, or trying to touch up on your gear and skills before going to the next step in your career. For that level of filming, we have compiled some helpful information. Which Camera to Buy for Filming Deer Hunts? By far the most important aspect of filming a whitetail hunt is the cameras and camera gear itself. It is the main tool for the job. While there are many parts, gears, and critical tools that go along with filming such as tripods, fluid heads, and hunting camera arms, the camera itself is what really matters first off. INSERT VIDEO –http://www.scout.com/outdoors/whitetail-deer/story/1681069-how-to-film-your-own-deer-hunt-which-camera How to Film Your Own Deer Hunts | Which Camera To Buy (Video) Are you looking for a detailed video on how to film your own deer hunt? Here are the basics of filming deer hunts, including which camera to buy for filming whitetails. Overall there are 3 cameras to potentially get or put in your hunting pack. The camcorder, the DSLR, and the action camera. Camcorder Camcorders really are the backbone of filming deer hunts. As far as entry level camera gear general advice tries to stick around the $600-$1,200 range. In this category and for the price most hunters shoot for the Canon Vixia HF G10, 20, 30, or G40. INSERT PIC 1 - https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/products/details/camcorders/consumer/vixia/vixia-hf-g30 Using a camcorder allows the hunter to dial there filming skills in early. Using a camcorder such as the G30 with a Varizoom remote allows a hunter to very easily self-film a hunt. This is especially true when a hunter is bow hunting and trying to self-film. The Cannon Vixia HF G series cameras will off you a very reliable and basic camera for filming whitetail hunts. DSLR The other aspect to filming hunts is housing them somewhere. Once you have successfully filmed a hunt you will most likely upload the hunt to YouTube, or on a web show/ outdoor brands website. Purchasing a DSLR will make this easier for you. This camera will not only supply you with a good overall camera to have around for hero shots, or for documenting memories with the family but can be used as a reliable camera for filming hunts. DSLRs, when used correctly can offer a hunter more options for dialing the camera in perfect for stunning time-lapses, B-roll footage, and very clear focused hunting footage. Insert Picture 2 http://www.campbellcameras.com/Sony_Alpha_SLT_A58K_18_55mm_lens.html?sc=31&category=8026 When it comes to actually buying a DSLR, so many options are available. Cannon and Sony seem to be by far the leaders in this industry, both offering DSLRs from $600-$1,700 that will do a fine job of filming whitetail hunts. Action Camera Anyone that has ever watched hunting shows, or hunting videos, or has dipped their feet into actually filming a whitetail hunt knows an action camera is a critical camera to buy for filming deer hunts. The ease and simplicity of the action camera allows a hunter to capture every second and detail of the hunt. This footage, while it is not as professional as the DSLR or Camcorder footage, helps tell the story and fill in the missing footage of the bigger cameras. It also can get great angles and footage that are unique to your style of hunting or filming. Insert Picture 3 - http://shop.gopro.com/cameras/hero-session/CHDHS-102.html The GoPro is the obvious choice here but many other companies have made small action cameras cheap and available for hunters even on the lowest budget. The one warning we can give here is to not use an action camera to film your entire hunt. At most a viewer will only be able to see the outline of a deer, maybe your arrow or your gun firing, and the brown dot (deer) run off. An action camera should be used to film the second angle of the hunt, or some downright cool and creative b-roll shots! INSERT minerals for deer PROMO BOX - https://www.gomuddy.com/muddy-trail-cameras-minerals-deer/ This is a beginner’s introduction into which camera to buy for filming deer hunts. If you are looking for more detailed content on other gear to use when filming deer hunts, or specific information, advice and tips on filming, don’t worry it is on its way. Look out in the near future for more blogs and videos on our Get Muddy Blog. The next segments will cover camera gear considerations for purchase, including one of the most important pieces of film equipment pertaining to whitetails, the camera arm.

Using a camcorder allows the hunter to dial there filming skills in early. Using a camcorder such as the G30 with a Varizoom remote allows a hunter to very easily self-film a hunt. This is especially true when a hunter is bow hunting and trying to self-film. The Cannon Vixia HF G series cameras will off you a very reliable and basic camera for filming whitetail hunts.

DSLR

The other aspect to filming hunts is housing them somewhere. Once you have successfully filmed a hunt you will most likely upload the hunt to YouTube, or on a web show/ outdoor brands website. Purchasing a DSLR will make this easier for you. This camera will not only supply you with a good overall camera to have around for hero shots, or for documenting memories with the family but can be used as a reliable camera for filming hunts. DSLRs, when used correctly can offer a hunter more options for dialing the camera in perfect for stunning time-lapses, B-roll footage, and very clear focused hunting footage.

https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/products/details/camcorders/consumer/vixia/vixia-hf-g30

When it comes to actually buying a DSLR, so many options are available. Cannon and Sony seem to be by far the leaders in this industry, both offering DSLRs from $600-$1,700 that will do a fine job of filming whitetail hunts.

Action Camera

Anyone that has ever watched hunting shows, or hunting videos, or has dipped their feet into actually filming a whitetail hunt knows an action camera is a critical camera to buy for filming deer hunts. The ease and simplicity of the action camera allows a hunter to capture every second and detail of the hunt. This footage, while it is not as professional as the DSLR or Camcorder footage, helps tell the story and fill in the missing footage of the bigger cameras. It also can get great angles and footage that are unique to your style of hunting or filming.

Which Camera to Buy for Filming Deer Hunts | How to Film Your Own Deer Hunt

The GoPro is the obvious choice here but many other companies have made small action cameras cheap and available for hunters even on the lowest budget. The one warning we can give here is to not use an action camera to film your entire hunt. At most a viewer will only be able to see the outline of a deer, maybe your arrow or your gun firing, and the brown dot (deer) run off. An action camera should be used to film the second angle of the hunt, or some downright cool and creative b-roll shots!

 

This is a beginner’s introduction into which camera to buy for filming deer hunts. If you are looking for more detailed content on other gear to use when filming deer hunts, or specific information, advice and tips on filming, don’t worry it is on its way. Look out in the near future for more blogs and videos on our Get Muddy Blog. The next segments will cover camera gear considerations for purchase, including one of the most important pieces of film equipment pertaining to whitetails, the camera arm.

Hunting Safety Harnesses and Tree Stand Safety Tips

Tree Stand Safety Guide | Hunting Safety Harnesses and Tree Stand Safety Tips

Hunting Safety Harnesses | Your Tree Stand Safety Guide

Without a doubt the number one most important part of hunting is safety. Coming back home to the family is your responsibility, enough to the point where you do not leave the ground without wearing hunting safety harnesses. When it comes to tree stand safety, there is no room for error, if there is…it life threatening. While you might read and watch countless videos on how to deer hunt or just of deer hunts themselves, some of the most important information and videos might actually be the ones that could save your life. Here is tree stand safety 101 a tree stand safety guide for getting into and out of the tree safely.

When it comes to tree stand safety and hunting safety harnesses, the Treestands Manufacturer’s Association (TMA) doesn’t skimp on guidelines, standards, or safety education and tips. Here is some detailed information on the TMA and some helpful resources that define tree stand and hunter safety.

Treestand Safety

Tree Stand Safety Tips

Just as we learn firearms safety in an online hunting safety course, there are tips and steps to tree stand safety. Each of these tree stand safety tips should be treated as how important they actually are…life or death.

Read Tree Stand and Hunting Safety Harness Instructions

When buying a new tree stand and safety harness, or when you have just bought new hunting safety harnesses for yourself, you need to read the instructions. It’s so easy to forget this step when preparing for hunting, and simply discard the white paper in the bottom of the box. Not reading the instructions could lead to misuse and a potentially bad, or fatal situation.

While reading or watching DVDs or informative manuals on the products you may be thinking “I don’t need this, I will never fall”, and you might be right, you might not fall, but it can always happen.

Inspect Your Tree Stand and Your Safety Harness

When deer season arrives, it’s a constant grind, each and every day that is available to hunt, you will be in the stand. In the long season and remedial task of climbing in a tree stand it can be easy to miss something. Inspecting your tree stand and your safety harness for any tears, rips, bad rust or missing nuts before you climb is a must to staying safe during the entire season.

Notify Someone Else

Another key element to remember from these tree stand safety tips, is to always, each and every time you go out hunting, let someone else know where you are. Leave a note, or verbally tell someone where you are, and how long you will be hunting for. While it’s easy to think that you have a cell phone you can’t rely on it. For one you might not have service, but two, you might lose it during the fall.

                Never Hurry When Hunting From a Tree Stand

Again, once deer season gets here the rush and anxiety to get up in a tree can and will cause a panic and hurry mindset. Remember to stay calm, relaxed and think clearly. Climbing a tree stand is dangerous, you need to be sure to follow the above steps, but also be sure you have clipped in and are climbing the tree stand correctly.

Self-Rescue

Planning and preparing for tree stand safety is being prepared for the worst case scenario, if it does happen when you are deer hunting this fall, you need to know how to rescue yourself. Your hunting safety harness should have a strap or relief that allows you to straighten yourself out when hanging. This allows you to grab back on to the tree or ladder. An extra precaution would be to make sure you have access to a tree stand hook or step. Having this will allow you to climb up, allowing you to self-rescue yourself.

Use a Haul-Line

A very dangerous move sportsmen and deer hunters make each and every deer season is carrying their gear up while climbing. This is not practicing correct tree stand safety. Climbing up with gear such as your bow, a firearm, a backpack, or any other hunting gear not only adds weight and possibly one less hand on the ladder but takes your full concentration off of climbing. Always be sure there is one or two haul line or a pull ropes such as Muddy’s EZ Twist Pull Up Rope.

Hunting Safety Harnesses: Selection

The absolute essentials of tree stand safety, besides being your own responsibility are hunting safety harnesses. A good hunting safety harness that hunters can rely on goes past safety. If you have hunted long enough, you know hunting from a tree stand can be a strain. Packing in gear, and more importantly extra clothes, and always tearing layers off or putting layers back on, it gets exhausting fast. Having a hunting safety harness that is not only safe, but comfortable for all day sits, and something that does not get in the way of taking off or putting on clothes is vital.

Hunting Safety Harnesses | Muddy Outdoor Teasers

(Video) – The undoubtedly most important aspect of deer hunting is safety. Besides firearms safety, climbing up in tree stands is the most dangerous part of your hunt. Stay safe on the way up, and during the hunt with Muddy’s innovative and advanced hunting safety system designs, the hunting safety harnesses in Muddy’s line is enhanced with the exceptionally high end features and unwavering quality that it has always been known for. As tradition continues, Muddy endeavors to exceed limitations for tree stand safety and raise the bar on expectations through innovation, experience, and commitment. If you are looking for hunting safety harnesses and tree stand safety harnesses, check out Muddy’s Safety Systems Line.

Hunting safety harnesses that keep comfort in mind will keep the hunter safe. Not because they are safer, or stronger, but wearable. A safety harness that is easy to wear and comfortable makes all the difference. Muddy Outdoors has many hunting safety harnesses for whatever style or hunter you are.

Muddy Crossover Hunting Safety Harness System

Hunting Safety Harnesshttp://shop.gomuddy.com/the-crossover-combo/

  • Flexible Tether for 360° Movement
  • Quick & Easy to Put On
  • Adjustable Buckles for Sure Fit
  • One-hand Carabiner
  • 6 Pockets + Built-in Binocular Straps Keeps Everything Within Reach
  • Extra Cushion on Shoulders and Back for All Day Hunt
  • CONSTRUCTION: Light Weight Padded Nylon
  • BUCKLES: Standard Quick-Release
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HUNT: Crossover Harness, Lineman’s Rope, Tree Strap, Suspension Relief, Strap, Carabiner, Safe-Line; WEIGHT: 2 Lbs.;
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 Lbs.

 

Muddy Top Flight Hunting Safety Harness System

Archery Safety Harnesshttp://shop.gomuddy.com/the-top-flight-combo/

  • Quick & Easy to put on
  • Flexible Tether for 360° Movement
  • Quick-Set, One-hand Carabiner Clip
  • Binocular Straps for Convenient and Quick Access to Binoculars
  • 8 Spacious Pockets for Instant Access to Gear
  • CONSTRUCTION: Stretchable, Light Weight Padded Nylon
  • BUCKLES: Standard Quick-Release
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HUNT: Top Flight Harness, Lineman’s Rope, Tree Strap, Suspension Relief Strap, Carabiner, Safe-Line; WEIGHT: 2.8 Lbs.;
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 Lbs.

 


Muddy Magnum Hunting Safety Harness System

Hunting Safety Harnesseshttp://shop.gomuddy.com/the-magnum/

  • Rugged Tether Reduces Chances of Fall/Injury
  • Padded Shoulders and Waist for Extra Comfort and Endurance During Long Sits
  • Easy Cinch Adjustable Torso Straps
  • Noiseless & Adjustable Leg Buckles; No Metal on Metal Contact
  • CONSTRUCTION: Light Weight Padded Nylon
  • BUCKLES: Cam Leg buckles
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HUNT: Magnum Harness,Lineman’s Belt, Tree Strap, Suspension Relief Strap
  • SIZE: One Size Fits Most WEIGHT: 1.5 Lbs.
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 Lbs.

Muddy Safeguard Hunting Safety Harness

Hunting Safety Harnesshttp://shop.gomuddy.com/the-safeguard/

  • Flexible Tether for 360° Movement
  • Quick & Easy to Put On
  • Super Light! Sized to Fit, no Extra Bulk Provides SUPREME COMFORT!
  • One-Hand Carabiner
  • Extremely Gear Friendly, Keeps Everything Within Reach
  • Extra Cushion for all Day Hunt
  • CONSTRUCTION: Light Weight Padded Nylon
  • BUCKLES: Cam Leg Buckles
  • WEIGHT: 1.9 Lbs.
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HUNT: Safeguard Harness, Lineman’s Rope, Tree Strap, Suspension Relief Strap, Carabiner
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 Lbs.

Women’s Hunting Safety Harnesses

Womens Safety Harnesshttp://shop.gomuddy.com/the-safeguard-womens/

  • Flexible Tether for 360° Movement
  • Quick & Easy to Put On
  • Super Lightweight! Sized to Fit Most Female Figures With no Extra Bulk. Provides SUPREME
  • COMFORT!
  • One-Hand Carabiner
  • 2 x Gear Lanyards Keep Everything Within Reach
  • Extra Cushion for all Day Hunts
  • CONSTRUCTION: Light Weight Padded Nylon
  • BUCKLES Cam Leg Buckles
  • WEIGHT: 1.9 Lbs.
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HUNT: Safeguard Harness,Lineman’s Rope, Tree Strap, Suspension Relief Strap, Carabiner
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 Lbs.

Youth Hunting Safety Harnesses

Youth Safety Harnesshttp://shop.gomuddy.com/the-safeguard-youth/

  • Flexible Tether for 360° Movement
  • Quick & Easy to Put On
  • Super Light! Sized to Fit, no Extra Bulk Provides SUPREME COMFORT!
  • One-Hand Carabiner
  • Extremely Gear Friendly, Keeps Everything Within Reach
  • Extra Cushion for all Day Hunts
  • CONSTRUCTION: Light Weight Padded Nylon; BUCKLES: Cam Leg Buckles
  • WEIGHT: 1.9 Lbs.;
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HUNT: Safeguard Harness,Lineman’s Rope, Tree Strap, Suspension Relief Strap, Carabiner
  • WEIGHT RATING: 150 Lbs.

Tree Stand Safety 101

Once you have selected one of the hunting safety harnesses you have a good base, but it takes more than a harness to keep safe in the stand. Not understanding tree stand safety beyond the harness is where most make the mistake. They wear their harness while hunting, they clip in once up in the tree, but they forget or do not have the equipment that can keep them safe all the way up to the seat of the stand. The most dangerous time of your hunt will be climbing up and down the tree stand. It doesn’t make sense to only be clipped in at the top of the stand, when you are just as high and in a more dangerous position to fall before and as you are clipping in. To stay safe during the entire hunt, from when your feet leave the ground until they return you need a safe-line.

Muddy: The Safe-Line

Muddy Safe-Line | Trophy Pursuit http://shop.gomuddy.com/the-safe-line/

The Muddy Safe-Line is a Unique System that allows the user to stay attached to the tree at all times.

  • Two Prusik Knots
  • Slides Easily Up and Down the Rope During Ascent and Decent and Stops You IMMEDIATELY Should a Fall Occur
  • Prusik Knots made of Reflective Material that Enhance Daytime and Low-Light Visibility
  • CONSTRUCTION: Braided Nylon; USE: Stay Safe from the Moment You Leave the Ground to the Time You Return!
  • Length: 30’
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 Lbs.

Muddy Safe-Line | Trophy Pursuit

(Video) – Dunkin from Trophy Pursuit is hanging stands during the off season. As he hangs Muddy Tree Stands He discusses why he installs safe-lines in every single set he uses for deer hunting.

Deer hunters everywhere, this fall, and every fall to come will only briefly think about tree stand safety. The thought that “I will never fall” is a poor attitude to climb up a stand with. It your responsibility to not only wear hunting safety harnesses but use them properly and be clipped in and safe during the entire hunt. You have a responsibility to practice tree stand safety, and return to your family. Take the proper precautions, understand the material in this tree stand safety guide, follow these tree stand safety tips, get the right hunting safety harnesses, use a safe-line, and be prepared and prevent a worst case scenario.

How to Make Tree Stand Hunting More Effective

How to Make Tree Stand Hunting More Effective | Muddy Outdoors

Tree Stand Hunting Preparation and Tips

Let’s imagine something quickly. Just before dawn, you’re sitting in your tree stand with your bow in hand and hopes high. You’ve put in a lot of work to get to this moment. Just after daybreak, you hear leaves rustling and branches breaking as a brown silhouette works its way towards you. Within minutes, it’s all over and you’re looking at a mature buck lying on the ground. All because you took time to improve your tree stand hunting odds. Hopefully we’ve all had an experience like this at some point because it’s thrilling.

As hunters, we all want an ideal outcome from a day-long sit in our tree stands. The general hope is obviously seeing and flinging an arrow at a mature buck before the sunlight fades into the darkness of another night. But how much of it can be controlled and how much is just plain luck? You sometimes hear stories about people who do everything wrong and still luck out with a massive deer. Sure, it happens. But way more often, hunters kill big bucks because they took time to plan everything out to the last detail and put in the work to see the plan through.

There are a few things you can do this season to make your tree stands for hunting even better. Generally, you can do so through mechanical means or behavioral changes. Let’s look at some ways you can make your tree stand hunting more effective.

Tree Stand Maintenance 

One of the worst things that can happen with your climbing stands or lock-on stands is obviously a complete failure that sends you plummeting from the tree. If you’re crippled on the ground, you’re not going to have a good day tree stand hunting any time soon. Take care before the season starts to really inspect your stands for any old or worn parts that need to be replaced. Common items that should be replaced include straps, cables, or bolts. If you notice large rust spots, seriously ask yourself if it’s time to replace the whole thing. While safety harnesses can mitigate some of the risk of a fall, is it worth taking that chance? We don’t think so.

Have you ever been in your tree stand hunting all morning with no issues, and then right as a deer approaches and you rise to grab your bow, a massive creaking sound echoes from your stand, sending the deer on high alert and out of your life? It’s a terrible feeling, especially if you knew that it could be an issue before you hung the stand in the woods. Take time to correct any noise issues while you can. For example, use a non-scented lubricant on all metal on metal parts to reduce the friction and sound. Cover exposed metal rails or platforms with a foam insulation or several wrappings of duct tape to dampen any noise if you were to bump your bow limb or arrow against it. A loud clanking noise is sure to scare a deer off quickly, and there’s just not an ethical shot at a deer when it’s running away. Luckily Muddy tree stands come silenced, due to silent rubber washers, and silent coding on the tree stand material!

How to Make Tree Stand Hunting More Effective

The next one to tackle is the visual game. Deer don’t have excellent eyesight, but they can see well enough when something doesn’t blend in. If you can find a tree with lots of natural cover (branches, leaves, etc.), use it to your advantage by breaking up your outline. If you can’t find a tree with those characteristics where you need one, take a few minutes when you set up your stands to cover them with some type of camouflage materials. Using a tree stand blind or wrapping it with some camouflage canvas or burlap is a great way to both hide your presence and stay protected from the wind. It also allows you to dig through your hunting backpack for that last candy bar without exposing your movement to the watchful eyes of the forest.

Another thing you can add to increase your camouflage is branches. If you’re in a relatively bare cedar or pine tree, pick up a few fake Christmas tree branches to hang on and around your stand. This will break up the outline and add more structure to hide within. Simply tie them on with some twine, tape them in place, or use zip ties to secure them. If you’re in a hardwood tree, cut down a few branches from other hardwood trees to hang onto your stand. As you cut a few shooting lanes, this can be a good use of the branches.

Behavioral Changes

One of the best ways to make your tree stand hunting better is to hunt smart. Scent control and management is critical to remaining hidden from a deer’s keen sense of smell. Start to develop and stick to a scent control regimen, which consists of showering with scent elimination soaps the morning of your hunt, dressing in scent absorbing clothing, and spraying down with a scent eliminating spray in the field. If you can remove most of your scent and stay camouflaged, you should be pretty invisible to a deer in the woods.

Another way to manage your scent (and therefore be more successful) is to sit for longer periods of time. When you go out once in the morning and sit all day, you’re not laying multiple scent trails down around your tree stand hunting area that can be picked up by wandering noses. If you’re bringing lightweight climbing tree stands into remote areas, this is a must. Each time you access a remote location, you risk spooking the wary deer that live there. For that reason, climbers can be one of the best bow hunting tree stands you can have because they are so versatile and comfortable.

How to Make Tree Stand Hunting More EffectiveBeing in your best tree stands longer also means you’ll be there when a bruiser of a buck goes on his midday stroll between doe bedding areas. But to do an all-day sit, you need to have a comfortable hunting tree stand underneath you. If you’ve ever tried to sit still in an uncomfortable stand, you know what we mean. Both ladder stands and climbing tree stands come in very comfortable options. Muddy Outdoors® has a Woodsman climber with padded armrests and seats that packs out at 20 pounds for bringing into remote areas. If you prefer more permanent options, the Prestige ladder stand is definitely an all-day stand with 3 inch foam seats and a wide platform. For an even simpler option, grab a couple Muddy hang on stands and set them up in a few key locations.

These simple changes to your routine can make a huge difference to your hunting success in the long run. They don’t take long to do and they become second nature very quickly. You probably already do at least one of these on your own. But if you can start doing all of them, you may find yourself behind a very respectable buck sooner than you think.

Why have mineral sites for Bucks

Muddy Trail Cameras | The Why, When, Where, and How of Minerals for Deer

What You Need To Know for Putting Out Minerals for Deer This Summer

Tree stand maintenance, shed hunting, frost seeding, food plots, and then what? This has been the schedule from this point on for about 4-5 months. By the time food plots are planted, hunters can feel a false sense of accomplishment. They feel they can begin to calm down from the mad rush of spring chores and coast it out until deer season. Unfortunately for them there is still one vital piece missing from the checklist…putting out minerals for deer!

Now when it comes to mineral stations there is a misunderstanding that the common sense logic is correct, when in fact it really isn’t. Hunters each and every year will put out mineral stations for deer and miss the true reason for why we put out minerals. This article dives into the why, when, where, and how of mineral stations for deer.

Why and When Do We Put Out Mineral Stations For Deer?

The Science Behind the Need (Or Not) for Deer Minerals | Buck Advisors

(Video) There is a big misunderstanding that minerals equal big antlers, which is not correct! The Buck Advisors’ Weston Schrank reveals the real science and reason for mineral stations for deer!

The fact that putting out mineral bags and blocks for deer to grow bigger antlers is a false assumption. The real reason we put out mineral stations for deer is due to their salt craving for the summer. This craving is present during the entire time plant growth is at its peak in spring and summer with water and potassium content at an all-time high. This also happens to be when bucks are growing antlers, and does are giving birth to fawns and lactating over the summer. This is what creates the misunderstanding, the timing and need for salt in most hunters mind has suggested that deer need minerals, which in turn covers up the true advantage.

So if not for growing bigger antlers and helping fawn development why do we put out mineral stations for deer? The answer to this is our own desire. The desire for us to see velvet bucks can take advantage of the buck’s cravings for salt, revealing the real reason for mineral stations, taking inventory of velvet bucks with trail cameras.

Where and How Many Mineral Stations to Put Out

Deer Mineral Station Placement and Density | Buck Advisors

(Video)- Putting out minerals for deer is critical to start in May and June! Buck Advisor’s Weston Schrank explains exactly how many mineral stations for deer you need and where to place them on your deer hunting property.

One of the most important pieces of information, besides actually putting out mineral stations is, installing them at the correct density and in the right location. So where do you put mineral stations for deer out on your property, and how many do you put out? For this answer we have to touch on the real reason for these mineral sites again, basically to take inventory of velvet bucks.

That word, “inventory” is used only one other time when referring to deer…trail camera surveys. While putting out trail cameras over minerals for deer isn’t necessarily a trail camera survey due to the lack of specific settings, time of year, and applying an equation, it is keeping tabs on all the deer utilizing your property. In order to do this you have to be sure you are placing the minerals and game cameras in the correct locations and density (putting enough sites out to capture all deer on the property).

  • Where: throwing out minerals or a block just anywhere will not accomplish anything, you have to think and plan around it. You need to place the minerals and trail cameras in location that deer frequent. For spring and summer this means transition areas between food sources and bedding.
  • Density: Again referring to a trail camera survey most recommendations are a mineral station for every 80-100 acres of property, but only you can really tell how many mineral stations and trail camera sites you need. Habitat diversity, topography, cover, and human pressure can all affect deer movement and core areas, ultimately deciding how many mineral stations you should have. If a 50 acre property is separated into 2 different habitat types, and resulting in two different bachelor groups using different sides of the farm, then you need 2 mineral sites. Think back to hunting observations and past trail camera pictures to determine how deer use the property.

Patterning Velvet Bucks with Mineral Stations and Trail Cameras

The ultimate goal of installing mineral stations for deer, is to keep tabs and develop patterns on mature bucks. By putting out these sites in late May and early June, and keeping them running until deer season ( if your state requires minerals to be removed) will create a very detailed history and site map of a given bucks home range and core area. It also helps you create a detailed album of antler growth throughout the summer.

If your deer season is early enough such as Kentucky with an early September opener, you might even be able to kill you hit list buck based solely off of the trail camera data from the mineral station. If your hunting season starts later in the month of October, then you will miss the chance for velvet bucks and summer patterns. Fortunately placing a mineral station and trail camera in the right spot, such as a transition area, funnel, or run between bedding areas and food sources will also be a great spot for the rut cycles. This is where another critical point can be introduced, selecting the right trail camera for the job.

Patterning Buck with Muddy Trail Cameras

The new Muddy Outdoors trail camera lineup for 2016 should be a consideration for your trail camera over the mineral stations. The Pro-Cam 12 and Pro-Cam 10 are both quality cameras that can be reliable all summer long, all season long, and for multiple years.  The cameras have all the required specs and technologies to be a top contender for trail cameras that produce clear images for identifying individual bucks during summer. If you’re looking for new trail cameras this year to put over mineral stations for deer, check out muddy trail cameras.

While your food plots are planted, tree stands are up, and your summer checklist is complete, one vital to-do might be missing. If you have yet to put mineral sites and trail cameras up you are behind. Antlers are growing, bucks are feeding, they are craving salt, and we only have 4-5 months before deer season!

how to capture velvet bucks with a trail camera in spring and summer | Muddy Outdoors

Trail Camera | How To Capture Velvet Bucks In Spring and Summer

Trail Camera Tips for Capturing Velvet Bucks in Spring and Summer

Trail cameras are an incredibly piece of technology that are continuing to grow in popularity each and every year. A trail camera provides hunters the ability to literally be in more than one place at one time and can provide a suite of invaluable information that can help when the time comes to hang tree stands or set hunting blinds and put the hunter in the best possible position to intercept that big mature buck this fall. Normally trail cameras start going up in late summer to determine patterns on velvet bucks, but spring should not be overlooked. With antlers already gaining inches every week, taking inventory now is possible, you just need to know how to capture velvet bucks in spring and early summer with your trail camera.

Mineral and Trail Camera Time | Midwest Whitetail
(Video) This week Bill Winke Gets the mineral stations out, trophy rocks set, and trail cameras out in preparation to capture velvet bucks in spring and summer.

Trail cameras are very easy to use and are becoming more and more inexpensive as each year passes. With the spring months well underway, it is not too early to begin taking inventory of the whitetails on your property, begin determining locations for your deer stands and hunting blinds, and start determining what the potential is for your farm to hold a giant this fall.

Spring Whitetail Patterns

how to capture velvet bucks with a trail camera in spring and summer | Muddy Outdoors

For some reason, many whitetail deer hunters tend to make the assumption that there is no need to begin setting and running trail cameras until the late summer months of July and August. That could not be further from the truth! The trick that many successful whitetail deer hunters know is that running trail cameras is a twelve month out of the year effort that can yield some pretty amazing and extremely beneficial information that can have you eye level with a big whitetail buck this fall.

So the question that many deer hunters ask when the topic of spring and summer trail camera placement comes up is simply, “why?” Why do we need to take the time to run trail cameras during the spring months? Well, the answer to that question is really very simple, the more information that you have the better decisions you can make. Running spring time trail cameras has very little to do with gathering information on deer antlers (although you will be able to monitor the growth of the bucks on your property)and more to do with simply gathering information pertaining to overall deer numbers and travel patterns of the deer on your farm. Deer, and especially mature whitetail bucks are truly their own individuals. They tend to have subtle traits, and things that they do that are specific to them. Typically, it’s these little “ticks” that can cause them to be so hard to hunt and have allowed them to grow and become mature. Examples of these traits might be how a specific deer responds to disturbances such as farm practices or activity on the farm. Others might be specific travel routes during various times of the year that might be different from the other bucks on the area. The bottom line is, the more information you have the more informed your decisions will be, which will help you to be successful this fall.

How and Where To Place a Trail Camera This Spring and Summer

It is pretty amazing just how different a whitetail deer behaves depending upon the time of the year. As deer hunters, the spring and summer months can often be overlooked and underappreciated in terms of its importance to a whitetails life cycle. During the summer months, food requirements change to forages that are higher in proteins and other nutrients that help adult does with pregnancy and lactation as well as helping those mature bucks produce antlers for the fall. As a result, the location of your trail cameras may not necessarily be the same ole’ oak tree that you have always used during the fall months.

During the spring and early summer months, whitetail deer will tend to stay close to food in areas where they feel secure. They will tend to be more active during the over-night periods and less during the day, especially as the temperatures begin to increase. As such, you should focus your trail cameras towards heavily used travel routes. These are obviously sure fire locations to catch the deer on your property on their feet.

In addition, the spring and summer months are great times to break the edge of the tree line and begin exploring the interior wood lots on the properties your hunt. Look for areas with signs of heavy browse and forage. During the spring and summer months, mature whitetails will tend to stay within a small area for most of the day, only venturing out during the over-night hours. If you can locate a big bucks “bedroom”, that can be very useful information that can be stowed away for the fall. In many cases, large bucks will often retreat back to these areas when the pressure gets too great during the hunting season, which is something you can use to your advantage when hanging tree stands or setting hunting blinds this fall.

how to capture velvet bucks with a trail camera in spring and summer | Muddy Outdoors

As spring gives way into early summer and spring rain is sucked into the plant growth and native browse, an opportunity comes up for spring and summer trail camera placement. Mineral and/or salt stations are craved by whitetails to balance their water uptake when eating this water filled browse. Their cravings and consistent visits to the stations makes for an unbeatable opportunity to monitor antler growth and behavior characteristics as well as get an inventory of bucks throughout the year.

Running trail cameras is an exciting and fun activity that helps pass the months during the off season, and can really help make deer season last all year long. With that said it can also mean the difference between tag soup and wrapping your tag around the antler of that trophy buck this fall. If you take the time to let your trail camera work for you, and deploy them year round you just might be surprised what you can learn!

Positioning your trail cameras for the best shots | Muddy Outdoors

Muddy Trail Camera Tactics | 5 Tips to get the Best Trail Camera Pictures

Positioning Your Trail Camera for the Best Shots

We’ve all been there. After letting your trail cameras sit in the woods for weeks, it’s almost like Christmas morning when you finally get to check what’s on them. Like an excited kid, we plug the trail camera chip into our computers and open the folder. That’s when the disappointment starts. In your haste to set the camera up, you didn’t pay attention to a few basic rules of good pictures. Now you sadly scroll through picture after picture of dark, misaligned images. Those weeks of time in the field can’t be recovered either.

Most hunters use game cameras to help with their scouting efforts. They’re our eyes in the woods when we can’t physically be there to observe it all. Because they are so discrete and unobtrusive, some people even use trail cameras for security purposes, though we’ll be focusing on the hunting application here. They allow us to keep tabs on natural deer or turkey movement patterns so that we can make a more informed decision about where to hunt. Ultimately, they can help us pinpoint a mature buck’s home range and schedule, which is very difficult to do without a camera. But more importantly than all that, trail camera pictures are just plain fun and addicting to look at and collect. Trail cameras for wildlife offer a secret glimpse into the lives of wild animals, which is a rare and special opportunity. Most hunters would be just as excited about a dramatic nature scene unfolding in the picture as a mature 8-pointer strolling through.

But in order to get a jaw-dropping picture like that, you need to consider a few things before you just mount your camera on a field edge and walk away. Specifically, there are five C’s of good trail camera pictures that you’re probably missing or not thinking through fully. Let’s discuss them below.

The 5 Tips or C’s of Good Trail Camera Pictures

If you’re not at least thinking about each of these, your pictures probably aren’t coming out as well as they could be. They don’t take very long to implement, but the payoff could be huge in terms of high quality pictures. Take a moment to read through these trail camera tips so that your next pictures will be ones you’ll want to frame and put up on the wall.

Camera Angle

The trail camera angle is one of the most important pieces to keep in mind, since it will most affect how your pictures look and determine if you get any good pictures at all. Choose the wrong angle without confirming anything, and you could end up with a bunch of below-the-knee shots that nobody wants to see. Don’t mount your camera too low or too high; you’re looking for the sweet spot of about 4 feet off the ground. At this height, you shouldn’t have to adjust the angle up or down all that much, but we’ll confirm that below. You may want to keep the height lower if you’re specifically interested in turkeys or higher if you want a larger range, but four feet is a good starting point. Also, make triple sure that your trail camera is pointed at the right spot. For example, if you’re taking pictures on a mineral site, try to keep the site at the bottom central area of the camera. If you’re on a deer trail, don’t position it directly perpendicular to the trail as you’ll miss many triggers; instead, aim it either up or down the trail so you can get some approaching or leaving shots. These pictures look more unique and can show you more detail than a broadside picture anyway.

As you set the game camera up, pick your best hunch on the camera angle. Before you leave it though, do a few test pictures. Walk in front of it where you assume the deer will be, and then look at the chip using a card reader or laptop. If you’re way out of the frame, then you just saved yourself weeks of lost time.

Contrast

For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll define the contrast as the light exposure of your game camera pictures. Too little light and you won’t be able to see anything clearly, but too much light means your pictures will be overexposed and hazy-looking. There are a few things you can do to help with this issue.

Positioning your trail cameras for the best shots | Muddy Outdoors

The easiest one is to place your trail cameras where they won’t be so sensitive to the sunlight. For example, placing them in a shaded forest setting will moderate the light levels for you and let your trail cams take great pictures throughout the day. Placing them in an open field can work on cloudy days, but it tends to overexpose the pictures when the sun is brightly shining. You’ll also find that shadows of clouds or nearby trees could be so stark that they trigger the camera. It’s no fun looking through 300 photos of cloud shadows.

If you have a great food plot you want to keep tabs on, there are some ways to mitigate the light levels and contrast of your pictures. North is the best direction to face a trail camera, because it avoids looking right into the southerly sun. When the sun is directly above and facing into the lens, each picture will be hazy and you could have many glare issues affecting your pictures. You can actually point your trail cameras east and west, but your morning or evening pictures, respectively, will get a little washed out. Just remember that north is best.

Color

Positioning your trail cameras for the best shots | Muddy OutdoorsHave you ever browsed through your pictures and had an amazing shot or two? But after a closer look, you realize the colors are really off-balance and subtract from the overall picture quality.

While the contrast and light exposure discussion above is closely tied to this and will help you tremendously with getting good, vibrant colors in your pictures, there are a few other things you can do. The Pro-Cam 10 bundle is a great option if you’re looking for a solid package, as it includes the trail camera, an 8 gigabyte (GB) chip, and 6 AA batteries.

Composition

While most hunters would be thrilled to get an awesome shot of a mature buck making a scrape, think of how much better that picture could be with the right background. For example, take that mature buck and place him on a backdrop of a scenic oak flat with filtered sunlight and a pond reflecting the tree canopy. Stunning. Now place that same buck in front of an overgrown weedy field. It’s not quite the same, is it?

Obviously, not everyone has a postcard-quality property with scenic outlooks, but you surely have some spots that are better than others. Avoid areas with too much “junk” in the background (e.g., brush, blow-down, weed patches, etc.). Just keep this in mind as you set your trail cameras up, so that when you luck out with the shot of a lifetime, the background doesn’t ruin it.

Chips

No, not the crunchy kind in a bag. We’re talking about trail camera chips. It’s tempting for some hunters on a budget to skimp on this step so they can buy more low-quality chips instead of fewer high-quality ones. Unfortunately, the chip you buy can make a big difference on getting good trail camera pictures.

Obviously, you should get the chip with the most memory you feel comfortable buying so you can leave it out for weeks without worrying about running out of room. The higher resolution pictures really burn through digital real estate quickly, so an 8 GB card should be a minimum choice to start with. If you plan on taking a lot of video, a 16 or 32 GB card would be better. Also, some deer trail cameras require certain newer cards, which basically operate faster. If you were to use a lesser quality card with one of these cameras, you wouldn’t be pleased with the result.

Never delete pictures from your card while it is in your computer. You can actually affect the way your camera reads it. For best results, copy any pictures you want to keep to your computer, and format the card in your trail camera each time you install it. This removes the pictures from the card and basically starts fresh.

Positioning Your Trail Cameras 

Now that you know what’s required for good trail camera pictures, you can focus on actually getting your camera mounted the right way in the field. If you’re wondering how to position your trail camera, don’t worry – it’s very simple. In more cases than not, there will be a suitable tree near where you want to take pictures. Simply attach your camera to the base of the tree. Secure a cable lock on it if you’re putting them on public land, just in case. Sometimes all the trees are leaning a little too much or there simply are no trees where you want to hang a camera. In that case, you need to get creative.

Positioning your trail cameras for the best shots | Muddy OutdoorsIf the trees are less than ideal, you can always use a Muddy Outdoors trail camera support, which simply screws into a tree or post. This trail camera mount allows you to adjust the angle and position of the camera itself. Of course, that won’t be of any help in an open field should you feel the need to put one there. In that case, the Muddy Outdoors dual camera ground mount is your solution. Simply stick it into the ground wherever you need a pair of eyes, adjust the height from 19 to 41 inches, and attach up to two trail cameras to it on the trail camera arms. That way, you can cover two different directions and make sure you catch anything that walks by.

If you hadn’t ever really considered the five C’s of good trail camera pictures, now you should understand why they’re important and how they can affect your scouting efforts. Whether you use them in spring to watch the development of the deer herd, or only in fall to see what the big boys are doing, you want to have the best information you can get. By locating and positioning your trail cameras correctly and making sure you use high quality gear, you can be sure you’ll get better pictures than ever before. And for those who take hunting seriously, that attention to detail matters.