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.

tips for setting up ground blinds under roosted turkeys | Muddy Outdoors

Tips For Setting Up Ground Blinds Under Roosted Birds

Turkey Hunting With Ground Blinds | Getting Close To The Roost

The action packed hunts of the spring that draw us into the woods will soon be over. The cool rain of spring is giving way to the heat of summer, and with it turkey season will come to a close. While some states are just getting through their first week of turkey season, some turkey hunters have checked out completely. For those still in the game, some much needed tips will be supplied to end your frustrations and save your turkey hunting. By now, if your still turkey hunting you might be getting discouraged. Many hunters tap out in May, it’s simply too late in the season they think, but they couldn’t be more wrong. May is a perfect opportunity to break open the ground blind, get the decoys out one last time, and experience the last of the beautiful spring mornings. Use these tips to set up your ground blinds under the roosted turkeys, and come out of spring one beard and fan richer!

Ground Blind Hunting Tips for Turkey Hunting | Buck Advisors
(Video)- Whether it’s ground blinds, box blinds, or some sticks and branches thrown together, hunting blinds are excellent tools for hunting. When it comes to turkey hunting it’s all about getting them in the correct place.

Roosting Turkeys

Late spring birds have been heart broke, many hens have used them, and left them and this can present to you some extraordinarily lonesome Toms. Getting close to their roost and presenting a lonesome hen at first light can and is one of the best ways to kill a gobbler. The trick is, getting a near exact location on the bird the night before.

Roosting birds can be easy, or tricky depending on the situation. Some are easily roosted with a owl, crow, or pileated woodpecker call. Other birds that are surrounded by crows, owls, and woodpeckers daily, hourly, and even minutely ( if that’s even a thing?) will not sound off no matter what you throw at them, even with the last ditch effort of a coyote howl. These birds require much more education to roost. You literally need to be their stalker…follow them, learn what they do, and be relentless. Knowing where they come from, and where they are going gets you the general area. Two nights preferably, if not, the night before you hunt grab some camouflage and sit quietly on that ridge, section of tall trees, or whatever the area is that you think they are roosting. Pay attention as the sun goes down, listen and look for any sign of flight up to the roost and try and pinpoint the bird’s location.

Getting A Ground Blind Under Roosted Turkeys

After you have pinpointed the birds go in cautiously. As a rule of thumb, a lot of hunters will try and get within 100 yards of the roost location. If the situation allows sneak in quietly and set up your ground blind, one window facing towards the birds with all other windows closed. It also helps , if it’s two nights before, to clear a small path so you can be silent on the way to the blind, walking with no lights is best but not at the risk of snapping and tripping on every stick in your way.

Another quick tip for you to remember while roosting the birds and setting up your ground blind under them is to place your chairs, decoys, and whatever else you can into the blind to make the next morning as effort free as possible.

When the Plan Comes Together

The morning of the hunt it’s important to wear all black. These late season birds have been through the ringer most likely. Their buds have been blasted, they themselves may be missing a couple feathers. Be sure to wear solid black long-sleeved shirt, hat, and face paint or facemask. That morning again sneak into the blind, set your decoys up, get settled in and start with some very soft yelps to simulate a hen on the roost. If available simulate the fly down with a cackle and wing sounds. This aspect of realism will notify the gobblers that there is a hen on the ground, and close! Once you hear the gobbler fly down, listen to the direction and volume of the gobble to determine if they are heading your way or going away from you. If they are heading away, hit them with some excited cuts and yelps to get them fired up. In a perfect situation and everything goes according to plan your hunt should look something like this…

Ground Blind Tactics | Success During Spring Turkey Hunting
(Video) Turkey season has finally arrived in the Midwest! Join The Buck Advisors’ Weston Schrank and his dad for a successful spring turkey hunt after they set up a ground blind on roosted birds on a small 40 acre property in Indiana!

Which Ground Blind Is Right For You?

Turkey hunting success out of a ground blind is dependent on getting the right blind. Some blinds just don’t cut it, they are too small, not dark enough of the inside, not weather resistant, or simply just don’t function well enough for a turkey hunt, especially bow hunting or filming your hunt out of a ground blind. When it comes to ground blinds for turkey hunting space, function, and overall quality and construction with thought of the hunter is needed. Check out these top hunting blinds for turkey hunting.

  1. The Bale Blindtips for setting up ground blinds under roosted turkeys Muddy Outdoorsbale blinds are growing more and more popular, and for good reason! Space, shooting windows, and overall comfort with wildlife make this a great ground blind to set in for turkey hunting.-64” Wide x 27” Tall Waterfowl Drop Down Window, Easy One-Hand Operation-Large Zippered Door with Window
    -4 Windows 6” Wide x 16” Tall
    -6 Windows 12” Wide x 16” Tall
    -Windows are reversible, with Burlap on One Side and Black on the Other; Slide Easily on Bungees
    -Bottom Wind Flap
  2. VS360 – Featured in the above videos, the VS360 is quickly becoming well known for a great deer and turkey hunting blind with its window design and function.Product Features
    -Sets up in Seconds!tips for setting up ground blinds under roosted turkeys | Muddy Outdoors
    -Sliding Shoot-Through Mesh Over All Windows for 360° Viewing & Shooting
    -9 Steel Stakes with Interior Stake Pocket
    -Over-Sized Deluxe Carry Bag Included
    -Sliding, Shoot-Through Mesh Camouflage Offers Endless Window Configuration
  3. The Muddy Redemption – the redemption ground blind with its quick set hub-style PRODUCT FEATURES
    -Sets up in Seconds!
    -Extra Wide V-Shaped Entrance
    -2 Interior Gear Pockets
    -9 Steel Stakes with Interior Stake Pocket
    -Silent, One-Hand Release ground blind system is another hub-style blind make for a popular turkey hunting and deer hunting ground blind.Hooks for Window Adjustmentstips for setting up ground blinds under roosted turkeys | Muddy Outdoors
    -Reversible Shooting Windows; Black Side Facing in or Facing Out
    -Corner Shelves for Access to Gear
    -Exterior Covered with Soft, Noise-Free Material
    -Over-Sized Deluxe Carry Bag Included

Again, many hunters tap out in May, but you now know it is a perfect opportunity to break open the ground blind, get the decoys out one last time, and experience the last of the beautiful spring mornings. Use these tips to set up your ground blinds under the roosted turkeys, and come out of spring one beard and fan richer!

4 mistakes bow hunters make when turkey hunting from a ground blind | Muddy Outdoors

4 Mistakes Bow Hunters Make When Turkey Hunting From A Ground Blind

Mistakes Not to Make While Turkey Hunting Out of a Ground Blind with a Bow

Bow hunting turkeys is a hot topic, but every article you read on the topic will tell you about the struggles and challenges of turkey hunting with a bow and how to beat it. While it is a challenge, bow hunters are actively seeking it, so they do not need to know exactly what the challenges are, instead some tips on what to remember when hunting would be more useful. When it comes to bow hunting turkeys out of a ground blind 4 mistakes are always made. Take not of these mistakes and go into your ground blind prepared this spring!

Spring Turkey Hunting From A Ground Blind With A Bow | Her Quest
(Video) Each and every year, turkey hunters take to the woods with their bows. This year The Buck Advisors’ Jessica Johnson attempts the challenge of bow hunting turkeys, and takes to the blind with her bow in hopes of sticking her first turkey.

These 4 mistakes made by bow hunter’s turkey hunting out of ground blinds are some common sense slip-ups but without being said, they will go unnoticed.

Mistake 1: Not Wearing Black in the Ground Blind

You know it, we know it, and every other bow hunter out there knows it…the draw is the most critical part of hunting any species. While you can remain perfectly still while hunting deer or turkey hunting, when the time comes for the shot you have to draw the bow back and this is when you get caught. Both deer and turkey have the uncanny ability to pick out the slightest movement. When your heart is pounding it can be difficult to pull back creating even more movement and struggle. While you are turkey hunting out of a ground blind one of the most important things you can do is wear black! Black hoodie, black gloves, and a black facemask or face paint. In a well built and functional ground blind the interior should deprive light, and with black on, virtually all movement inside the blind will be eliminated. This spring do not go turkey hunting in camouflage in your blind. Normal camo clothes are too bright in a blind.

Mistake 2: Not Getting a Big Enough Hunting Blind

This happens a lot when it comes to turkey hunting from a ground blind. You walk into a Bass Pro Shops looking for ground blinds, and you see the cheapest pop up edition ground blind. It’s a minimal investment, but you get what you buy! Upon taking it out in the field it does not take long to discover the blind is barely big enough to draw your bow back, put your film equipment in, or even take a youth hunter in. Getting a big ground blind that is sturdy is key for turkey hunting with a bow, taking youth hunters out turkey hunting, or filming your own hunt.

Mistake 3: Not Drawing at the Right Time

This goes for any and all turkey or deer bow hunters. Not picking out the opportune moment to draw and forcing the hunt your way will be futile. Even with wearing black, in a well-built blacked out ground blind, and only minimal light coming through one window a turkey still seems to inevitably see some sort of movement if its looking your way. Instead of forcing the issue, draw at the appropriate moment. Most turkey hunts have such moments. When the gobbler is committed to the decoy, his fan block his view, when they are feeding, or multiple gobblers are breeding/fighting. Drawing at these moments totally eliminates the chance a gobbler spots you. But still be cautious of observant hens that are trying to figure out the decoys and your blind. Keep this the back of your mind so it becomes instinct to only draw at the opportune instant in the seconds leading up to the shot.

Mistake 4: Not Practicing Shooting Your Bow Out of a Ground Blind Enough

While you might practice every summer before deer season and periodically through deer season chances are you haven’t picked up the bow since about January or February, right? Even on the off chance you have been practicing, it’s almost a guarantee it was not from a sitting position from inside the ground blind. The practice up to this point was made standing up in a perfect archery position in your backyard. This really doesn’t help simulate the actual scenario of bow hunting turkeys out of a ground blind. Instead this spring take your ground blind seat, set it inside your ground blind, and practice shooting at a turkey target or similarly sized block with turkey vitals. This will do several things for you. One, get you accustomed to sitting down and shooting, which is very different than standing up. Two, get you aware and watching to see if you will hit the ground blind on the draw or hit it with your arrow while shooting. Finally, shooting out of a ground blind at a turkey target will get your mind around where to shoot a turkey with a bow and where the vitals will be in different positions.

4 mistakes bow hunters make when turkey hunting from a ground blind | Muddy OutdoorsThese are several mistake bow hunters make when turkey hunting out of ground blinds. Many of these problems can simply be solved with starting with your basics and purchasing a ground blind that takes these mistakes and considerations into mind. A ground blind with a black interior, plenty of room for a bow hunter, and something that functions well with bow hunting turkeys is needed. Getting the right blind, and taking a conscious effort to avoid these 4 mistakes will have you being one of the many successful turkey hunters this spring.

Tips for bow hunting turkeys out of ground binds | Muddy Outdoors

Ground Blinds | Tips for Turkey Hunting With a Bow

Bow Hunting Turkeys from a Ground Blind

Bow hunting any game is making a commitment to a challenge in itself. Whether its deer, other big game, or turkeys, taking a bow to the field can be a humbling experience and with time can become the only hunting you take part in. Bow hunting turkeys is one of these challenges. Why some may have mastered turkey hunting, one thing is undeniable, drawing on a turkey is the biggest challenge. Multiple toms, or vigilant hens become major problems for turkey hunters. The most dreaded part is just trying to draw with all of those eyes around, but there are some tips such as using ground blinds that can help you be successful. Here are some tips to make hunting turkeys with a bow a little easier with ground blinds.

Bow Hunting Turkeys With Ground Blinds | Early Season Toms
(Video) Trophy Pursuit staff has some luck with early season gobblers. Several turkeys killed with bows out of Muddy ground blinds.

Ground Blind Selection

Ground blinds make turkey hunting easier. This is an extraordinary advantage when it comes to bow hunting. The biggest problem turkey hunters will run into when hunting out of a ground blind is selecting and hunting out of the wrong type. Face it, some blinds were just not made for bow hunters, they are small, with few windows, and everything seems to be in the way. Some of these blinds also don’t take into consideration what a bow hunter truly needs out of a ground blind for turkeys. What is needed, everything focused on the most important part…the draw.

  • Space- the biggest thing that bow hunters run into is enough space to draw. A ground blind needs to have enough room to bring up the bow, draw, hold, and swivel on for moving targets and an accurate shot. If your back arm is brushing against the blind, or limbs are touching the roof, or broadhead is catching just beneath the window there is a significant problem. A big blind, enough for multiple people, bow hunters, and even some extra gear like camera equipment would look something like The Bale Blind or VS360 Ground Blind by Muddy. These blinds are wide, tall, and perfect for bow hunting turkeys.

  • Invisible Draw- A blind that has enough windows to kill a bird out of it, but at the same time can provide a dark, flat black interior to make anything inside disappear, is desirable. Wearing dark clothing and either a black facemask, or black face paint, even a black bow all helps being inside a blind. Drawing inside the blind under the low light makes it near impossible for the keen eyes of a turkey to spot.

Tips for bow hunting turkeys out of ground binds | Muddy Outdoors

  • Comfort- If you have hunted out of a ground blinds before, especially one not made with requirements for bow hunting, you have been in some uncomfortable situations. With turkey or deer hunting out of ground blinds, finding a seat that is the perfect height to stay hidden but also be able to see out of the blind and draw out of is hard to find. Pair these restraints with the additional requirement for a seat that is completely silent, and you might as well just kneel on the ground. A big comfortable ground blind, with the addition of Muddy’s Swivel-Ease Ground Blind Seat or Folding Tripod Ground Seat
Bow Hunting Turkeys | Turkey Raw Double Muddy
(Video) Raw video footage of bow hunting turkeys. A double with multiple camera angles is caught on film by the trophy pursuit team out of a Muddy ground blind.

Bow Hunting Tips

Getting the right ground blind solves a lot of the problems and challenges of bow hunting turkeys. It conceals your draw, it gives you time to make a great shot, and it allows you to concentrate on every aspect of the hunt. Other than this, take the tips that you just witnessed from the Trophy Pursuit team. Use a quality broadhead, draw when the birds fan is blocking his view, and be sure to take your time with the shot. Bow hunting turkeys can be tough, but the right ground blind can make this challenge not only successful but twice as enjoyable.

How to set up a youth turkey hunt with ground blind | Muddy Outdoors

Ground Blinds | How to Set Up a Turkey Hunt for Youth Hunters

How to Set Up a Youth Turkey Hunt with Ground Blinds

Turkey hunting is a passion that is instilled in nearly every hunter come spring. Part of our responsibility as passionate hunters and conservationist should be bringing up the ranks with youth hunters. While taking youth hunters out hunting is nothing new to your ears, some tips may be useful. Here are some tips on how to set up a turkey hunt for youth hunters using ground blinds.

Taking youth hunting can be somewhat difficult, especially if you are feeling the pressure to make an incredibly good impression on them to make it stick. Commonly deer hunting is not where you want to start this process as it can be long, boring at times, and cold. Small game hunting is often the first hunt a youth can experience with minimal time spent and a lot of success. Turkey hunting is another great start for youth hunters. A normally quick hunt, in the comfort of a ground blind, and a unique heart thumping moment with a large bird gobbling his head off can be unforgettable for a youth hunter.

Youth Turkey Hunting Success
(Video)- Join Trophy Pursuit for some action packed youth turkey hunts in Iowa and Missouri. Shotguns, big ground blinds, turkey decoys, cameras, dead turkeys and some happy youth hunters make for an incredible episode.

Scouting

Like any turkey hunt scouting before you take a youth hunter out is critical. Scouting before the youth turkey season opens and making sure you find birds to hunt is the first step you should take. Find out where the gobblers roost, where the hens will feed, and which direction and pattern the birds work through routinely. Using trail cameras to scout for gobblers is also a technique that should be in use before a youth hunt. Gathering all this information will give you the perfect ambush spot to set a ground blind for the crew going out opening morning.

Ground Blind and Turkey Decoy Set Up

When it comes to youth hunter’s movement and focus is a very real struggle. Movement doesn’t work with turkeys so hunting from a ground blind is a must. While any ground blind might work for you when you solo hunt turkeys, ground blinds have requirements for turkey hunting with youth for the best experience.

  • Inconspicuous-A good hunting blind will be able to blend into the setting it is placed. Besides the obvious camo pattern, ground blinds have recently shift in the thought and ideal. The normal square ground blinds are now joined by popularity growing Bale Blinds. The bale blinds that are now available, create a perfect solution for certain turkey hunting situations, especially youth hunting.
  • Space-When it comes to turkey hunting with youth hunters, more space is better in a ground blind. Ground blinds with enough space for multiple hunters, will result in a fun and successful turkey hunt. A blind with ample room, a width around 64+ inches, is ideal. Youth hunters need space, an early morning nap, enough room for two or three chairs, and room for gear. The bigger the better.
  • Windows-This one’s obvious, the more windows, the more shooting angle and opportunities the youth hunter gets. A ground blind with multiple windows that allows a youth hunter to witness the hunt out of more than a tiny square window is ideal.
  • Dark Interior-Staying hidden inside the blind is a must for turkey hunting, especially with a squirming youth hunter inside. A flat black interior on a bind creates the ability to be invisible inside it when hunters also wear black.

How to set up a youth turkey hunt with ground blind | Muddy Outdoors

When setting up a turkey hunt for youth, place the ground blind, keep only the front window facing the decoys open, closing up the surrounding windows will restrict the light that’s coming into the blind, and get rid of any silhouettes. When hunting out of a blind, do not wear your normal camo pattern. Wear a black top, black hat, and apply face paint to darken your face, this will virtually eliminate any chance the birds see movement in the blind. Face paint also is fun for youth hunters so it’s not a bad idea that is purposeful. Set the turkey decoys up about 10 -20 yards away from the blind. Close birds are not desired, 20-30 yards is perfect for a youth hunter with a shotgun.

Other Considerations

The obvious considerations when taking youth hunting is safety first. This should go without saying that practicing firearm safety and being observant to potential other hunters is a must. Also be sure t make it fun. This turkey hunting trip won’t stick if it’s not fun. Being too serious, or too hard on a missed shot opportunity can spoil it fast. Get a spacious ground blind, bring some snacks, break out the face paint, take pictures, grab a video camera, and have fun every minute of the hunt.

Taking a youth hunter out turkey hunting should be on all of our list this spring. Study up on how to set up a youth turkey hunt and get a set of spurs in a young kids hands.

Using trail cameras to spy on mature gobblers | Muddy Outdoors

Using Muddy Trail Cameras to Spy on Mature Gobblers

Muddy Trail Cameras | Remote Scouting for Spring Turkey Hunting

Wouldn’t it be ideal to have some way of spying on the secret habits of the turkey you intend to hunt, especially when you’re not there to influence his behavior? If you could find out exactly where a dominant tom goes to feed or rest, how much easier would setting up a blind in the right location be? You’re in luck and you probably already own this valuable piece of technology. Trail cameras are often under-utilized for turkeys for some reason. We associate them with spying out big bucks every fall, but usually the cameras don’t make their way back out into the woods until sometime in the summer. This is a critical mistake.

Let’s face it; you probably can’t spend every day in the woods or on the farm actually looking at wildlife. You certainly can’t do it throughout the night time hours. And would you want to sit absolutely still outside when it’s raining or snowing in the spring? Probably not. But a trail camera can accomplish all these things for you. Without trail cameras, you’re missing out on hundreds and even thousands of valuable observation hours that you can then use to pattern a mature gobbler to hunt. Most spring turkey hunting isn’t very mobile. While you can “run and gun” a little, the best strategy is to usually wait in a ground blind and let the turkeys come to your decoys and seductive calls. Because of that, the position of your ground blind is really important. Let’s look at some of the details that go into spying on the birds with your trail cameras.

Best Locations for Turkey Trail Cameras

Think about where you would ideally want to set your ground blind up. Does it make sense that a turkey would wander in front of it? It should or why would you sit there? But a little ground truthing is always a good idea. To be absolutely sure, mount a trail camera to a tree or post to see what kind of action it gets throughout the day. If you have a large field and could use more “eyes” on it, use a dual camera ground mount, which you can set anywhere you want. While you can do this on private property with little fear, take care on public lands to secure your game camera or it could become a victim to thievery.

using trail cameras to spy on mature gobblers | Muddy OutdoorsSome good location options you should target include field edges, forest openings, spring clover food plots, natural pinch points, well-used trails or logging roads, or along ditches and creeks. These areas should naturally gather some turkey traffic since they’ll use open areas for feeding and strutting, and they’ll use trails for getting from a roost to a feeding area and back again. Ideally, you should have a camera on each field or opening on the property so you can see which one draws the most turkeys, especially gobblers. Once you pull your trail camera memory cards, you can then hand pick the best-looking location to hunt after reviewing the trail camera pictures.

The Art of Good Pictures

Speaking of pictures, anyone can slap a trail cam up in a tree and get some pictures. But without some forethought, they can be poor quality or even unusable to a hunter. Sub-par pictures won’t tell us the kind of details we’re interested in finding out when the sun creates a massive blind spot or you have to weed through 2,000 pictures of waving branches before finding 1 actual turkey picture. What makes a good picture, whether it’s on trail cameras or a regular camera? Ideally it should be clear, crisp, and in full color. Blurry, black and white photos that would puzzle Sherlock Holmes won’t do you any good.

So what can you do to ensure your camera takes the best pictures? The first is to know your camera by studying the manual that came with it. While you can capture pictures on any game trail camera, there are certain settings that can drastically improve the quality if you just know how to do it. For example, you can set a camera to photograph the field at set intervals (e.g., every ten minutes) or you can allow it to take pictures only when there’s movement. You can take burst photos to catch fast-moving animals, or you could try videos for a little more detail. The Pro-Cam 12 by Muddy offers all of these features, with amazing 12-megapixel daytime pictures and 1280 x 720 HD videos with sound. If there’s a gobbler in your area, you’ll be watching and listening to him working his hens in no time.

Muddy Trail Cameras | Pro Cam 10 & Pro Cam 12
(Video) – by VantagePoint Outdoors, In this video we take a quick look at the new trail camera lineup from Muddy for 2016 including the Pro Cam 10 and the Pro Cam 12. For more information on these trail cameras and other products from Muddy, join them online at www.gomuddy.com.

As far as placement, there are a few things you can do to really improve the pictures on your trail cameras. First, position your camera so that it faces in a northerly direction (i.e., NW, N, or NE). That will eliminate the sun from creating glare and decreasing the quality of your pictures. Alternatively, find a naturally shady location (e.g. within a pine stand adjacent to a food plot) so that you can face the camera any direction without fear of the sun. You want your trail camera to blend in, but you don’t want it too covered up. Remove any branches of brushy growth from in front or the side of the camera so that you won’t false trigger it repeatedly when the wind blows.

Piecing the Puzzle Together

Once your trail cams are mounted, it’s time to let them do their work. Waiting is admittedly the hardest part because it’s just so tempting to go check after a few days. You might go nuts waiting if the trail cameras are only 200 yards from the house, but it will be much more bearable if your turkey hunting property is a couple hours away. Regardless of location, try to wait at least one week before you venture back out. It really helps to have several cameras to cover the property during that week so you can conduct a rough population estimate. If you notice groups of turkeys at each site within a few minutes of each other, you know they are different turkeys.

using trail cameras to spy on mature gobblers | Muddy OutdoorsHow do you make a good choice on where to hunt a spring gobbler, and more specifically, how do you use the information gathered by your game cameras? First, understand that where there are hens, there should be gobblers. If you have a group of hens consistently in a spring clover plot, you should definitely be seeing gobblers or at least a few jakes. They’ll often use these open areas as strut zones, so target a different area if you’re not seeing them on your trail cameras. You can also use the time of day to indicate what the turkeys are doing. For example, if you notice lots of early morning pictures, that site is probably pretty close to a roost tree. If it’s during the middle of the day and you see feeding activity, you’re probably in a solid feeding area. Use the time stamp on the pictures to see when the birds show up, which will tell you how early you need to be set up and ready to hunt. These key details can help you pick a location and get hunting some long beards.

Most people don’t think to use trail cameras for turkeys, so you’ll have a much better chance at harvesting a mature gobbler than any of your friends. If bagging one for yourself isn’t enough motivation, beating your friend should do it.

Tree Stands and Hunting Blinds Preparing for Next Season | Muddy Outdoors

Tree Stands and Ground Blinds | Essential Preparation for Next Season

Spring Maintenance for Deer Tree Stands and Portable Ground Blinds

Hunting stand and blind maintenance is an afterthought for most hunters after the completion of a long deer season. Hunters are often preparing for spring gobbler or dusting off their trout rods for opening day in anticipation of warming spring weather. Spring, however, is an ideal time of year for revisiting your hunting spot and either removing or inspecting your tree stands. Take this break between outdoor activities to return to your tree stand locations, pull and/or inspect stands or prepare your pop-up ground blinds for turkey season or storage until next deer season.

Pulling Portable Tree Stands

The first thought before engaging in any activity involving hunting stands should be safety. Always approach climbing into your stand the same way, whether for a day long hunt or spring removal, safety first using proper safety belts and harnesses and general awareness on what you are about to do. Don’t take anything for granted, even ladder tree stands have risks associated with climbing and removal.

Portable stands, like hang-on tree stands and ladder tree stands, are best maintained by removing them after each hunting season. Not only does pulling your tree stands reduce weathering effects from temperature and precipitation but in some states it is illegal to keep your hunting stands on public grounds after each season. Having the stand on the ground gives you the opportunity to completely evaluate and repair all aspects of your stand and tree stand accessories such as climbing sticks or shooting rails.

Tree Stands and Hunting Blinds Preparing for Next Season | Muddy Outdoors

Maintenance Activities

  • Visually inspect your tree stands for signs of metal fatigue like stress cracks, especially in older stands.
  • Check each nut and bolt, tighten (or replace if necessary) any that may have loosen from use.
  • Proactively fight rust by priming and repainting areas showing signs of rust or parts that have been nicked or scratched from use to prevent further damage.
  • Examine cables, straps and pins for wear. Replace stand straps as needed or based on manufacturer recommendations, which is typically every two years.
  • Care for seats by checking for rips or tears. Cushioned seats are notorious for animal damage and wear faster than unpadded nylon seats.
  • Clean dirt and debris from climbing sticks, shooting rails or other accessories before storing.
  • Check safety systems for wear. Most harnesses have a lifespan of 5 years and should be replaced if older or if showing signs of wear that may impact performance.

Although safety is the most important reason for checking your hunting tree stands, maintaining stands also helps to improve your hunting experience. Rusty platforms and ladders along with loose bolts create noise that could be the difference between a successful hunt and one that sees your trophy running the other way as you move for a shot. Squeaks and other noises can be detected in stand and noted or attach your stand a few feet up in a tree at home. Move around your platform, lift the seat up and down and use the shooting rail to identify areas of noise and treat with a lubricant where applicable.

Parts that need replaced should be done with replacement parts from the manufacturer to preserve operating capability. Certain parts have specific specifications for their use and are designed for safety, using other parts may reduce safety or stand performance. Even the best hunting tree stands have a life span. Repairs can only go so far, know when a stand has exceeded its life, retire it and purchase a new one.

Neglecting Permanent Hunting Tree Stands

We all have it, our favorite deer hunting tree stand in that perfect location that you hunt year after year. Or perhaps it is a tried and true permanent stand along a field edge. Unlike portable tree stands, these stands stay out year round and often get overlooked when it comes to maintenance yet they still require upkeep to ensure safe hunts. Visually inspect for sturdiness on ladders or steps, rust on metal platforms, missing or loose bolts at connection points or worn strap on trees. Store any seats to prevent weathering or animal damage and loosen straps to allow for tree growth over the course of the growing season. Note any maintenance issues, acquire replacement parts and repair as needed so each stand is prepared for the start of next season. It is also a good idea to re-check permanent hunting stands prior to hunting the fall season to tighten straps and confirm the stand is safe and ready for your next hunt.

Ground Blind Preparation

Blinds like The Redemption Ground Blind by Muddy Outdoors are becoming more and more popular each season with hunters. Although constructed of durable, long lasting fabric these modern hunting implements still require care after each season and are often overlooked. Check tie down ropes as well as the shell itself for any signs of wear. Deer only blinds should be cleaned with a damp rag to remove dirt and grim from outdoor exposure and stored in the carry bag until next season. Prepare those that will be used in spring turkey by wiping down and checking that internal frames are fully functional.

Muddy Outdoors | Redemption Ground Blind Hub Style Set Up
(Video)- The Redemption Ground Blind by Muddy Outdoors is constructed with durable, long lasting fabric, and has extremely easy set up for reliable and portable use.

Secondary Benefits to Stand Maintenance

Unless you will be pulling your stand and opting for a new setup in the coming season, spring can be an opportunity to enhance your hunting location. The lack of vegetation gives you the same prospective you will see hunting in the fall. Take advantage and trim existing shooting lanes or create new ones by removing branches or small trees that may impeed future shots. If a portable hunting blind is more to your liking, make sure setup locations are free of debris and clear shots are available from all shooting windows. Be sure to preserve a balance between shooting lanes and concealment. Completing these activities in the spring also eliminates additional work, scent and disturbance in the critical weeks leading up to deer season. All that is left is a few snips on any new growth when you return to hang your stand or place your blind.

Tree Stands and Hunting Blinds Preparing for Next Season | Muddy OutdoorsShooting lanes are important but don’t forget about entry and exit points to your hunting spot. While pulling you stand or checking your set location, trim your trails. Clear fallen branches from winter and widen trails to avoid scent and noise that may spook game as you enter and exit during hunting season.

Reflect on the past season and determine if that tree or blind location is the best spot for success. Perhaps there is a better tree or setup based on your hunting experiences last season. Spring gives you the flexibility to analyze slowly and make decisions without the added pressure of deer season approaching and the stress of late summer heat and creepy crawlers.

Tree stands and hunting blinds are a tool and like any tool they require maintenance to perform as designed. Post season, spring-time is a great opportunity to get into the woods again. Revisit you hunting stand locations to remove and maintain your portable stands, check your permanent stands, care for blinds and spruce up your hunting locations, all in preparation for future successful and safe hunts.

3-things-you-should-do-now-for-spring-turkey-hunting | Muddy Outdoors

MUDDY BALE BLIND | 3 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO RIGHT NOW FOR SPRING TURKEY HUNTING

Spring Turkey Hunting | Food Plots, Scouting, and Bale Blind Placement for Turkey Hunting

Its early morning, you’re in a bale blind, overlooking a grown up field. The sun is on the way up,  and you have just received enough light to make out the silhouette of the tom on his roost. You have lucked into the perfect spot. Your hearts pumping, the tom is hammering, and you couldn’t be surer that this will happen, you think everything is in place for a successful, perfect turkey hunt. However, once the sun peaks its head over the trees the tom flies down in a different direction, hits the ground, and bolts to the next county…the hunt is over, and you are left dumbfounded with several questions. Was it my calling? My set up? Was it this field?  While it’s unsure why or what ruined the hunt, one thing is for sure, you did not do your homework! The main reason that often lays behind a failed turkey hunt, is often what’s behind a failed deer hunt…lack of preparation. This groundwork starts now. Do not make the mistake of being overdue on these 3 critical things you should be doing right now for spring turkey hunting.

When it comes to spring turkey hunting everything and everyone has two thing that stands out, from the hunters, websites, and videos, to the TV shows, web shows, and blogs. They focus on giving you advice, tips, and tactics on how to call and how to use decoys. While calling and decoying are vital to the success of a turkey hunt, they should not absorb the majority of the attention. When they do, hunters themselves begin to forget the other key aspects. Once a turkey hunter learns the turkey talk, and knows how to set up turkey decoys, he will realize there are several things not mentioned in “turkey hunting advice or tips”  that should be mentioned and considered before turkey season starts.

Planting Food Plots

One thing that is often forgot about when it comes to turkey hunting, is food plots. Turkey hunters continuously come into this problem, and it goes ignored year after year. What’s the most commonly encountered setting for turkey hunting? Take a guess! You probably would have said one of the two, open timber or a barren Ag field, and you would be right. While those all can produce turkeys, and could lead to successful hunts, you might want to try your hand at actually creating a turkey hunting food plot. The correct food plot will draw turkeys, especially more often than the open timber or a desolate Ag field.

3 Things You Should Do Now for Spring Turkey Hunting | Muddy OutdoorsClover and alfalfa food plots are excellent spring food plots to kill turkeys in. Yes this basically includes the everyday hayfield with red clover species and alfalfa. But for the more determined, a specific food plot, planted in white clover or alfalfa, can create the optimum feeding area and strut zone for the spring.

With turkey seasons already opening up in southern states, plant or over seed your existing food plots as early as you can. Given a good rain, ample warm weather, and sunshine, your clover and alfalfa plots should be established enough to draw in birds (depending on the exact opening date of your season).

Scouting Spring Turkeys

Scouting turkeys before the season opens is also an underestimated turkey hunting tactic. The assumption that “turkeys will always be in that field” can cause over-confidence, and a real shock when the hunter realizes there isn’t a tom within earshot on opening morning. Scouting doesn’t take a lot of time and it can give you a lot of useful information to get on a bird fast. There are three types of scouting you should consider starting now before it’s too late.

  • Glassing- Once birds transition from winter flocks they will switch from feeding on the last acorns in the timber, to spring break up, and concentrating on feeding in green fields. You are able to glass these new food sources with certainty of some sort of regular pattern. Keep your head low, don’t spoke the birds, and glass food plots, fields, feeding areas, and strut zones.
  • Locating- While roosting the bird the night before is one of the most successful proven strategies when turkey hunting, locating them with the same locater calls can give you a good idea of where they will be different parts of the day. The highest point of the property gives you the clearest line of sound to the bird. Let out a crow or owl call and listen for the response.
  • Trail Cameras- Once the flock separates and their food sources change to green fields a hunter should become dependent on trail cameras. Just as in deer (if not more), patterns can be honed in on and taken advantage of. Placing cameras over logging roads, field openings, and over food plots can have you dialed in on birds without spending the time on actually going out and locating them. Spring and summer require a lot from a camera, find out what the requirements are for the best cameras for spring/summer here. Placing out a quality camera on one of these locations with the right mode and settings can/will reveal a lot of information before opening morning.

Now marks the perfect time to begin to scout. Winter flocks are breaking up, acorns have been devoured from the timber, and spring green up is pushing the birds into food plots and fields. The final 2-3 weeks before the turkey season opens is when you need to scout the hardest, but be careful to not spook any of the birds.

Placing and Selecting the Right Ground Blind – Have you considered a Bale Blind?

Once you have patterned the birds to a general idea of where they roost and what field they will be going to in the morning, you will be ready to make your move. Turkeys are pretty oblivious when it comes to ground blinds, meaning you can more often than not get away with placing a ground blind out the same morning you will hunt. However, if you know exactly where the birds will be, you should ideally put a blind out in the final weeks before the season. If the hunting blind sticks out like a sore thumb you can bet they might avoid that section of the field or food plot. If you have still not put out your blind, or have not purchased one yet, then there are several things to consider. If you are looking to purchase a ground blind for turkey hunting this year, understand that the best turkey hunting blind will need to have these requirements.

  • Blends In- A good hunting blind will be able to blend into the setting it is placed. Besides the obvious camo pattern, blinds have recently shift in the thought and ideal. The normal square ground blinds are now joined by popularity growing Bale Blinds. The bale blinds that are now available, create a perfect solution for certain turkey hunting situations. Food plots, pastures, and hay fields are now more easily hunted. Before bale blinds, sticking a regular camo square ground blind in the open filed type scenario would be blatantly obvious to any bird. The bale blinds look inconspicuous in this setting, giving the idea that it’s just another round bale
    3 Things You Should Do Now for Spring Turkey Hunting | Muddy Outdoors
  • Is Spacious- When it comes to turkey hunting out of a blind, space is everything! Whether you are bow hunting turkeys out of the blind, filming your hunt, or taking youth out on opening morning, the more space you have the more successful your hunt will be. Let’s think about everything that might go into the blind. Chairs, bow or gun, camera equipment, backpack, decoys ( if you take one out of your set during the hunt), another person, and potentially a lot more gear depending on what you need to be comfortable in a blind. A blind with ample room, a width around 64+ inches, is ideal.
  • Has Multiple Windows- This one’s obvious, the more windows, the more shooting angle and opportunities you get. A ground blind with multiple windows, different types/sections of windows, and minimal blind spots is ideal. These windows need to be dead silent to take down and back up, you never know what a hunt with throw at you.
  • Has a Flat Black Interior- Staying hidden inside the blind is a must for turkey hunting. A flat black interior on a bind creates the ability to be invisible inside it. When turkey hunting, keep only the front window facing the decoys open, closing up the surrounding windows will restrict the light that’s coming into the blind, and get rid of any silhouettes. When hunting out of a blind, do not wear your normal camo pattern. Wear a black top, black hat, and apply face paint to darken your face, this will virtually eliminate any chance the birds see movement in the blind.
  • Be Portable- Many turkey hunters simply do not like turkey hunting out of blinds. When asked, majority of hunters simply do not like the idea of not being able to move around on a bird. Having a blind that can be portable can be huge advantage on a turkey hunt. A blind that can be packed up, and moved easily, is ideal.
Muddy Portable Bail Blind 2015 ATA Show
(Video)- The new Muddy Portable Bale Blind revealed at the 2015 ATA Show. This blind gives the features and look of the old Muddy Bale Blind, but is now portable.

Again, the main reason that lays behind a failed turkey hunt, is often what’s behind a failed deer hunt…lack of preparation. This year’s preparation starts now, do not make the mistake of being overdue on these 3 critical things you should be doing right now for spring turkey hunting.  Do your homework, put in the work, and know the tools you need for the hunt.

Spring Trail Camera Tips and Tactics | Muddy Outdoors

Get The Most From Your Trail Cameras This Spring

Trail Camera Tips | Trail Camera Selection, Settings, Placement, and Considerations for Spring

March is a hard and puzzling month, old man winter is confused, plants are confused, deer and turkey are confused, and you are completely lost. Plants, wildlife, and you, yourself do not even know whether or not to pull the trigger on spring activity or still lie dormant. Warm, sunny, 70 degree days one week, bitterly cold, snow storms the next is common, leaving you literally never knowing what March will throw at you. Most hunters, including yourself, are probably just breaking out of winter hibernation, and let’s face it, you were not productive were you? The most you might have achieved is getting your tree stands, ground blinds, or box blinds out of the elements over the winter, some shed hunting, but other than that you were unquestionably a dormant bear on that couch! You’re not the only one in the situation, besides other hunters both deer and turkey are in a tough transition this time of the year. During this time, it is important to act first, make the first strike on the season by getting your trail cameras out this spring and start the year’s observations. Follow these spring trail camera tactics to make the most of your cameras, your time, and ultimately your hard earned money.

Blowing the dust off, or opening the new box?

Game/trail cameras are without a doubt, one of the best management tools that a land manager can utilize. When it comes to documenting how your management implementations are progressing, a trail camera will provide information that is, in some cases, impossible to obtain otherwise. Before we dive into where, when, and how to set up your trail cameras this spring, you need to do an inventory check.

What cameras do you have? Are they still working? Are they the right camera for the situations that you will need to observe in the spring/summer?

Most likely your cameras are going downhill after a long season in the field, maybe they are still old school and lack the new features that are the standard in the industry. They might even be the reason behind the lack of bucks on your property, literally being too loud or too bright of a flash, or maybe you have mature bucks on the property, but the cameras just are not capturing all the movement! There is a lot at stake and a lot to consider. So the question is no longer if you should purchase a trail camera, but what type of camera should you purchase? There are numerous companies that make various models of cameras. Some cameras focus on trigger speeds, some feature time-lapse options, and other models feature HD video mode, or burst mode imaging. The model you choose depends primarily on what you want to know. Considering all cameras have improved their battery life and memory recently, let’s discuss their photo-capturing abilities to ensure you get the most from your unit.

Spring Trail Camera Tips and Tactics | Muddy OutdoorsFor example, if you are monitoring an area to document wildlife activity during food plot maturation, a camera with a time-lapse ability will be the best option. The time-lapse option will take photos at a pre-determined interval, therefore an animal does not need to be within a certain range to set the unit off. They will be captured on film regardless of how close or far away they are. This is ideal for open agricultural fields or food plots where wildlife congregates, especially if nailing down entrance routes into the field is tough to do. On the other hand, if you are capturing images to determine a buck: doe ratio, still images work best. Most trail camera surveys require baited sites, so any camera that takes still images will be preferred, even if it has a slower trigger speed. If a camera has a not-so-great trigger speed, it should be placed over a baited site where the animal will be stationary for some amount of time. Other cameras that have lightning-fast trigger speeds can be situated on trails, funnels, and travel corridors. By using your camera in this fashion, you are revealing useful management information but also capturing awesome photos.

Trail cameras that feature video, especially with audio, are great units that can be placed in various areas that not only provide insight on the wildlife that is using a particular area, but also make neat videos. A still image of a whitetail buck working a scrape is great, but a video where you can see and hear him in action is even better. The same goes for orienting a camera in a strut zone for turkeys. Once again, a video of a gobbling tom trumps a still photo. These camera sets are sometimes located at the base of a tree, looking up at the licking branch over a scrape. This setup provides a unique angle and adds a twist to an already great video clip. This can easily be done with the use of a tree mount in order to orient the camera in an upward angle at the base of a tree.

Today’s new camera units are jam-packed with technology and can tell you just about anything you would want to know about monitoring activity on your land. But before you jump the gun into a new camera, or think you can just settle with your old one, let’s examine the situations, and the exact requirements that you will need in a trail camera for this spring.

What is spring?

The answer is easy, spring is several things, beautiful, warm, sunny, life giving…but less harsh than winter, is unfortunately not one of them. While winter zaps battery life, it also does not require too much of a camera, there is really not a lot going on especially in heavy snowfall, and just plain old cold cannot completely kill a camera. Spring on the other hand is an explosion of life. In order to capture anything and everything that can and will be of use to you, a camera that can not only capture it is required, but one that can also survive.

Spring is wet, humid, and full of critters. Water damage (rain and humidity), critter damage (ants), and even other human’s stealing the cameras are all of concern before we even dive into specific situations of trail camera use and placement. So keep this harsh environment in mind when thinking about your current trail cameras, or new cameras on the market.

Spring food plot monitoring

While all this crazy weather is going on, it is literally the perfect time and opportune moment to start your food plots for the spring. You’re crazy to think we are suggesting to plant beans or corn during this time of year (this early), but a more effective, potentially more important food source for whitetails this time of year is early clover plots. Clover plots excel this time of year, being one of the first green sprouts that are rich in protein and nutrients a pregnant doe or a budding buck will gladly devour.

Spring Trail Camera Tips and Tactics | Muddy Outdoors

Having this extremely useful plot, especially in areas where you could not reach the acreage to plant beans or corn, will allow you to pull, hold, and observe mature bucks over the spring and summer. Whether its frost seeding a plot, installing a poor man plot, or disking or tilling up a small plot, putting in clover now can be rewarding all year long. In this instance, a camera on video mode, time-lapse mode, or simple image burst will work. Given the normally small acreage of the plots time-lapse isn’t necessarily needed, but will still be advantageous. Put the trail cameras up in early spring to observe fawns and bachelor groups in spring and summer, and be sure to keep them up. The small clover plot is an ideal area to hang a set for a staging area into larger food plots in the early season.

Deer feeders

Nutritional needs fire back up after the long winter, that much needed protein and nutrients available in clover and other food plots during the spring, can be easily supplemented or added to with a deer feeder. Consequently feeding stations make perfect opportunities to observe feeder use. In order to minimize stress on a feed site, and to keep deer and turkeys coming back, a camera should be small, quiet, and have an invisible flash. Either video, or image burst works well, but set the camera on a 5 minute or longer delay in order to avoid the thousands of pictures, but still identify each visit.

Spring Trail Camera Tips and Tactics | Muddy Outdoors

Feeders unfortunately attract unwanted attention from neighbors and trespassers, so be sure any trail camera placed over a feeder is either locked on the tree, or small and compact enough to hide well.

Strut zones

If food plots aren’t on you forte, you may want to reconsider. Pacing trail cameras on or over small clover plots will most likely reveal a strut zone, or area where toms and hens will gather during spring. Clover plots are coveted by turkeys and turkey hunters during the spring. The hens will feed there and bring in the toms, which will give you an ideal spot to set up the decoy and ground blind. Besides clover plots, open fields, Ag fields, pastures, or open wood lots make perfect strut zones.

Spring Trail Camera Tips and Tactics | Muddy Outdoors

Trail camera selection and more importantly trail camera settings will be slightly more dependent on the situation you are heading off to be your opening weekend spot. If you are in heavy timber image-bursts or video mode with minimal delay is ideal to place on funnels or routes turkeys will take going into or out of food sources, or where they might end up scratching throughout the day. For the fields and food plots place the trail camera settings on time-lapse. This will end up giving you exactly where and when the toms hang out in the field.

Mineral sites

When spring annuals and food plots sprout up, minerals and slat attractants are put down. Have you ever wondered why deer and salt are so attractive to deer during spring in particular? Sure they use the traces and nutrients, but salt is what they are after. High water content in the rapidly growing plants of March, April, and May equates to a lot of water metabolized by deer, causing a need and crave for sodium.

Spring Trail Camera Tips and Tactics | Muddy Outdoors

Luckily this need creates a very attractive site, and opportune moment for a photo session. Either a video or photo burst works well with mineral sites. One thing that goes for both mineral sites and feeders is distance of the camera….to close you don’t get the entire picture and you have the potential to disturb the deer, too far and you cannot see the detail you would like. Finding a camera with a great invisible flash range, plus high MP, quality images and HD videos should be a no brainer for purchase in these scenarios.

Trails and funnels

Placing trail cameras over trails and funnels really seem to be underestimated, and for good reason. Placing cameras over mineral sites, clover plots, fields, and strut zones are so much more effective. But placing trail cameras over trails, runs, and funnels can and often will be more effective at telling you information you will rely upon. If you have deer hunted long enough, even turkey hunted long enough, you know particular things about their movements. Mature bucks, or turkeys might be camera shy when it comes to a mineral site, or field edge. But hanging a camera, the right type of camera is essential, high looking over a trail will often catch mature buck or tom movement that will otherwise go unnoticed.

Both deer and turkeys will often take the excursion approach when it comes to their daily movements. Sure, they are on patterns when it comes to spring and even more so for summer, but that does not mean they won’t take the safest route. This is why the right type of camera is important. A small, quiet, inconspicuous, and invisible flash camera is perfect for trails. A mineral site, feeder, or clover plot might be anticipated for some sort of stress (camera flash, sound, physical sight of the camera itself), the deer get used to it and the costs (stress) do not outweigh the benefits (food and nutrients). A trail can easily be wrote off if stress is involved. Keep your trails and funnels stress free all year in order to preserve them active.

So which camera is right for you?

Your next step is to blow the dust off your old trail camera, is it even working? Is it worth it to buy the batteries needed the rest of the year, is it time to take it out back and (metaphorically) put it out of its misery?

Next, decide which scenarios you see yourself needing a camera for. Are you the avid turkey hunter, fanatical deer hunter, or the passionate land owner/manager? Are you all three, like every hunter seems to be? In that case strongly look into purchasing a camera with the following requirements.

  • Small/Compact size
  • Able to be cable locked and secured
  • High image quality ( Trail cameras in this century should be at or above 10MP)
  • Photo-Image burst capability (day and night)
  • Time-lapse capability
  • Video capability (Audio included)
  • Invisible flash (black)
  • Simple operation and backlit screen (to see in low light)
  • Trigger delay options
  • Image data: time, date, temp, camera ID
  • Waterproof housing
  • Product warranty
  • Battery type: AAs (are easiest and have great rechargeable option)
  • Detection and flash range > 10-15 yards (30’-45’ at least)
  • Wide Detection Angle
  • Several mounting options: tripod, screw in, and straps
Muddy ProCamTrail Cameras at the 2016 ATA Show
(video)- Published on Jan 16, 2016, Muddy ProCam Trail Cameras at the 2016 ATA Show, Muddy’s new line of cameras for 2016, including The Pro-Cam 10 and The Pro-Cam 12.

Spring Trail Camera Tips and Tactics | Muddy OutdoorsSpring has arrived, and with it an opportunity to gather some critical information with your trail cameras. Don’t miss this opportunity due to an old camera, or an inefficient new one. Make the right choice and follow these trail camera tips on settings, placement, and considerations for this spring.