When it comes to hunting small properties, is it worth running trail cameras? The answer is yes and here is how.
Like most of the hunters out there, unless we have an Uncle who has a friend that has property and you can hunt it occasionally, we hunt public land. For those who hunt public land and have an opportunity at private land, often times our private properties are quite small. Those smaller properties are usually less than 50 acres. It may seem useless to run trail cameras on these smaller parcels of land, but that is the furthest from the truth. Here are some tips on running trail cameras on small properties in order to maximize success.
1. Major Travel Routes
When placing the camera look for major travel routes that cut through your property. Doing this increases your chance at capturing a glimpse at deer that pass through your property. It may seem like a no brainer, but this is a great way to capitalize your property and hunting opportunity. Truth is, if you find that the deer in the evening come onto your property from the East right before sunset, you know you need your stand on that side of your property. Placing a stand on the West side of your property on that same trail in this situation, the deer may not reach your stand location by the end of shooting light.
2. Food Source (Natural and Baited)
Your property may not have a primary food source to hold deer so where it doesn't, you can always create one. Feeders work great to hold deer on your property longer and can help attract them to your property during specific times of the days. Hinge cutting your property is another great way to attract deer if you are unable to use feeders or bait piles. Placing a camera on a bait pile using the QDMA Trail-Camera Survey is a great way to estimate your deer herd population. Check with your state laws though before you place a feeder up. If you have enough land to plant a small food plot you can also run a camera on this. Spring season food plots help with antler growth, Summer and Fall plots help to kill deer on your property and late season food plots help retain and pull deer from other properties. Based on this, you can decide what type of food plot you need for your property.
3. Running Multiple Cameras
Money is always an issue when it comes to hunting. Until we find out how to grow a money tree, we will have to make it work with what we have. If you can afford multiple cameras we recommend doing so. Combining a camera on your feeder and a camera on your game trails can really help give you an idea as to how your deer move across your property. If you have a major trail that comes through your property, placing one on either end can really give you an idea when these deer come on or leave your property. In 2017 we reviewed over 11 trail cameras. For that full review, click here.
4. Cell Service Cameras
One thing about small properties and running trail cameras is having to check the cameras. This added invasion of having to enter and exit the property to pull cards can really affect a small piece of land, especially if this property is a bedding area. It can really be worth it to save up and purchase a camera with cell service. Thus, you wont have to take trips to the property and disturb any deer that may be on or near your property. In July of 2018 Primos will introduce the first sub $200 cell service trail camera called the Proof Cellular Trail Camera. Additionally, who doesn't like waking up to pictures of deer cruising your property. I know I would much rather get a text of a deer than a phone call telling me I won another free boat cruise!
5. Keep a Log of Your Property
Although these tips and tricks have worked for us, each property is different. Learning and understanding your property comes with time and experience. That experience will only benefit you in future seasons to come. A great way to keep a log for years to come is using DeerLab.com
Not only can you put together information to help you track specific deer or specific kinds of deer, you can monitor deer movement based on the weather, moon and more. This tool was very helpful in harvesting a velvet buck in our 2017 Maryland Opening Weekend. To see that video click here.
We love hearing from everyone so please send us your stories. Share with us your tips and tricks you use for your trail camera set up. We are all in this together and any tips that you would like to share we would love to hear them!