Hunting deer with trail cameras

MARC 089

Well, hunting season has come and gone – for me at least. I realize there are still some hunting opportunities left but, sadly, I haven’t any time for them. How far off is retirement again?

Thank goodness for my trail cam hunting; the closest thing to real hunting I’ve found yet. Planning out a good trailcam strategy and location, I’ve discovered to be very much like hunting itself.

You need to understand whitetail patterns and travel habits, and setting up camera position & location can be compared to choosing the proper stand location. The actual photos and vids you acquire would be to hunting, akin to lining-up the shot and making the decision when to pull the trigger.

You see where I’m going with this?

Also, trail-camming is similar to hunting in that there is, certainly, some luck involved but as you become more skilled, the better the images you will get. Sure, there is such thing as beginner’s luck with hunting, but it is also common knowledge that the more experienced hunter will have, on average, more opportunities to harvest game than those with little experience.

Throughout the year I run just 2 trailcams around my place , however, once December arrives I’ll put out 2 or 3 more to cover different areas as deer travel patterns change.

The more the merrier I always say and, as luck would have it, Bushnell has just sent me two new models to test- out. The Trophy Cam HD and the X8.

Here are some of the more interesting images I’ve taken this fall. Although I pride myself on knowing the look and names of practically every deer I photograph around my place, I was surprised to discover a big buck I had never seen before. Mrs Outdoors Guy named him ‘Silver’ and he’s a real beauty as you’ll see….

Happy trail-camming and enjoy!



(This young bull was photographed on the trail beside our hunt camp, while the moose hunters were in the camp having breakfast. They never saw this bull during the season)



(In Sep this black bear stopped by my deer camp feeder for a nibble and a close-up look at my trail cam)


(This is the same bear 1 minute later trying to bite said trail cam! Thank goodness for my Bushnell Bear Safe and cable lock, the camera wasn’t damaged or moved. And since this cam stays up for 2 months without being checked, it remained in position until deer season!)



(This coyote had a good snack at my camp feeder. Notice the Acorn Rage attached to tree in lower left)


(Coyote then notices the Acorn Rage attached to the what’s he going to do?)


(This photo shows same coyote after he tore the Acorn Rage block off the tree. Keep in mind this things are attached with a heavy screw!)



(Now on to the cameras around my place. Here’s a nice pic of my old pal Garfield – now an impressive 5 year old buck! Garfield was born in my back field and can be recognized by tell-tale white markings on his hind legs)


(Another picture of Garfield at same camera location)


(Here’s the new buck we’re calling ‘Silver’. Not sure if he and Garfield have met personally, but I’m sure they will soon as I suspect there is a hot doe around!)




(A little while after Silver went through, this guy was on his tail..bugger!)


59 thoughts on “Hunting deer with trail cameras”

  1. Great pictures Jeff. You need to start hunting in your back yard! Silver would look nice on your wall.

    1. It’s funny Rick, I was just telling Chessy in a pm that hunting these big boys around my place never even crosses my mind. I much prefer to film them or watch them thru my back window.

      I have no idea how/why I can do that and then go off each fall to hunt them…they are fascinating animals whether you enjoy them through a cam(trail) lens or riflescope!


      1. I have two smaller bucks around as well..Peanut and Rainbow – yearling and 2.5 year old.


  2. I sat for 6 hours today and no deer. Yesterday, when one would figure the deer would be laying low enjoying the warm weather, nope – the 8 pt was there twice during the day! grrr…

    Trailcams are fun. Some folks who don’t hunt think it’s cheating, but as my first thought proves, it doesn’t mean squat lol

    It’s something fun to do and to provide some hope.

    As for that ‘Silver’ buck, oh my! And you can’t hunt there right? 🙁

    1. Nope sorry Keeb..that guy Silver(& Garfield too) are off limits, but they sure are fun to watch. Something like those big bucks you guys see behind the fence at the CFIA building.

      Too bad man, maybe that 8 point may make a mistake yet..are you still going out??


  3. Those are some outstanding photos Jeff…. I’ve got a couple of bucks that visit my camera occasionally. One decent 8 pointer and a smaller one that’s got a major deformity on his left side.
    It’s neat to see what goes on when there’s nobody around.
    If you are talking to Bushnell and they need someone else to send a couple of cameras to, feel free to give them my name…. :-)))

    1. Herman, thanks so much..and great to hear from you btw, its been awhile!

      Hope you had a good fall?


    1. Hey Chess, I just saw it now..dont worry man, I’ll make sure you get to read them!


  4. I am still gathering pics and have only seen one buck for sure since the gun season ended, although out of the 3 or 4 I have pics of before the season I am yet to identify him. Same doe and fawn a couple times now but there has to be more. Food source is focused with combined corn field bordering my neighbour’s place so I have to think most of the feeding is happening there with lots of cobs on the ground and nothing tilled yet. The same farmer has one green field bordering me, but the other was sprayed for next spring. I don’t think a camera gives too much of an edge to hunting other than showing that there are deer in the area. When you sit in stands for days and don’t see anything you begin to wonder, but the camera doesn’t lie. And it’s quite amazing at what times you actually get pics too, they travel at all times.
    Its strange with the numbers of coyotes around my place that I don’t get more on the cam. Only got one so far but they obviously don’t travel on the same runways as the deer. I have got turkeys on the cam this year too.

  5. Good pics Jeff, thanks for sharing
    don’t worry too much about a deer named Rainbow, not much chance of that one breeding 😉
    Can’t you hunt the yotes out there?

    1. Tks Iggy, unfortunately you can’t touch the yotes till you get up around Frank Kenny and Wilhaven, then they are fair game. Of course it’s all private property up there. I know a lot of the land owners dont want them around though..a lady I know told me her neighbour’s big dog was all torn-up by a yote last winter!


  6. I’m almost positive that today was my last day to get out. Sat for a few hours this morning. Nothing. A new little 6 pt had been by at 6 a.m. Was going to walk around, but way too crunchy to be quiet.

    Maybe later with the bow. Thankfully busy with work for the Christmas rush.

    Funny….I’ve had just over 5 weeks of hunting this fall and I still want to get out every hour I possibly can 🙂 lol

  7. i will get out on boxing day till jan 1 with the muzzle loader down south… need to clean up a few does

  8. morning jeff i was out this week with my bow when i got a hot tip about a massive buck that crosses a certain highway where i live he is either a 12 or a 14 pt buck the landowner sees him almost every am i took a walkabout and found a huge apple tree with lots of apples still on the tree walked around some more and found atleast 6 scrapes and they are abnormally big i wish i had a camera with me because the tree 20 yards from the apple tree has a limb the size of a mans leg and about 10 feet long has been shredded and all of the branches broken off after further investigating this a deer that has chased dogs off the field He roams in as several dog walkers that cross this field said that a deer chased their dogs for several hundred feet and then pawed at the field like he owned it .Just wondering if i should set up nearer to this area or keep a bit of distance .Since this deer obviously is a an experienced buck he is travelling with a doe his hoof prints are the size of a small horse really excited to get a poke at him .any readers have any wisdom to help bag this buck would be appreciated .

    1. Thanks Barry, I hope to see more of him..of course now the coyotes have moved in big time!


  9. Jeff, I see the Sun has closed down a lot of their topics and now you have to pay, just wondering if they are going to do the same with the blogs.

    1. Iggy, I know the paid portion of the online paper will NOT include the Blogs, thank Goodness..but as Chessy pointed out, it will affect my outdoors column and most other material.


  10. Mike, I’d find an area with the most scrapes around it and pick a spot around those. Especially if you can see the deer runs – just sit back about 30 yards.
    If you have a self-climber (or maybe borrow one), then set up.

    good luck!

  11. Take your dog and your crossbow for a walk? He seems primed to make a mistake if the landowner sees him every day and being so aggressive, sometimes the only time you see these bruisers. Good luck, post pictures. Only advice I can give is don’t take a silly low percentage shot dreaming about his horns on your wall.

    1. mike, I guess if that landowner was a hunter him or herself, this big buck would have been taken a long time ago…its the time of year where you can often turn a lucky break. Just the fact that he’s travelling in the light of day is a huge plus!


  12. Great pics Jeff. As for huntin Silver your first mistake was naming them….Get your bow out.

    As for the Bushnell Trail Cam shown in the first pic. is this the one that took these photos ? I have two just like it and they don’t work worth a dam.

    1. Trapper, I have no intention of hunting Silver or any of the other deer around my place….and I name them for fun but more so for future reference. Regarding the Bushnell trailcams I currently use..they are certainly not the one shown in the first photo(trailscout), that model is very old but the image was well suited for this Blog post.


  13. How will it affect your column, it will be part of the paid online Sun?
    I read it in the paper anyway, but the out of towners wouldn’t be able to I guess, maybe I’ll post it on here, or would the Sun frown on that hehe

    1. Iggy, my column will 100% be part of the new paid online SUN..and it remains to be seen how that will affect everyone. I may just go for home delivery to be honest, its prob the cheapest deal going and I do like to read the actual paper sometimes.


  14. I name my deer too, there’s Stewy, the non-typical big lad, and T-Bone, the little 4 pointer I have many pics of. My last post about seldom getting a coyotes on cam, well got one last week ironically enough. Nice looking one too, right in the scrape sniffing. Of the 90 pics triggered on the camera, only 3 of them were taken during daylight, and those were a large buy on a Big Red.

    1. johan, for some reason the coyotes have exploded around my place over the last few days.

      I suspect they may have actually taken a deer. In a couple of photos from what I call my ‘back cam’ can see a coyote running by with ‘something’ in his mouth. It doesn’t look like a squirrel or rabbit, but more like a piece of deer hide maybe. I’ll post them and see what you guys think. Ironically, I haven’t the little buck I call Peanut around in a couple of weeks either…

      Anyhow, I took a walk in the back on the weekend and couldn’t find anything. Didn’t hear or see any meat birds either which might indicate a kill site.


  15. Jeff, I have to think it’s rare that they take down a healthy deer at this time of the year but I suppose it’s possible. Peanut’s instincts are kicking in and with Silver and Garfield around he is likely had a beating or two already of he’s trying to get some. I have seen coyotes dragging hides that hunters have dumped off with lower legs attached, not to mention road kill parts. There are always lots of coyotes around here and I have never come across a kill when there hasn’t been over a foot of snow or glare ice. I have seen more than one deer killed on the frozen lake over the years.

    1. johan, you are right..It’s prob just my imagination working overtime. If I start seeing scat around with deer hair in it, then I’ll get concerned.

      I do have a neat Blog post coming up, though, that shows how friggin close these coyotes can get to the deer before the even realize they’re in town!


  16. Jeff
    Every morning I make a coffee and then go on line to the sun. I check out your blog for new comments, then I check for your outdoor column. After that I read the unimportant stuff.
    I’ve been doing this for free ever since I was able to do it on line. Now it will cost me 20 cents a day to access everything. The rest of the paper is worth that much. Your column and blog PRICELESS. Thanks for all the joy they give me.
    Hunting season is never really over just paused so we can reminisce a little and make plans for next year.

    1. Bob m, thanks for the kind words but why does this sound like goodbye?

      You’re not leaving us now are you? This whole ‘metered viewing’ thing is a pain but we will find a way to get through it…I promise you!

      And btw Bob, you hit the nail on the head about the season ‘never really being over’..that’s a terrific ‘glass half full’ way to think of it.

      Thanks again and hope you continue to read and send in comments..or course, next time please give me the heads-up when you’re sending a comment as yours tend to end-up in the spam folder..nothing personal, it happens to the best of them!


  17. I have seen two deer and two coyotes in the same clearing at the same time from a tree stand, and they paid no attention to one another. That was also the very first time I used a gunt tube to call a buck, and the first one I ever shot at (and missed, darnit) with a compound bow. Was a decent 6 pointer and I can still see that arrow flying into the ground.

    1. johan, I agree that on certain occasions deer and coyotes wont bother with each other, but on a lot more occasions they will. Probably the biggest danger I see around my place is coyotes running the deer all over..the chase these them around at a time when they shouldn’t be exerted themselves. They also get displaced a lot during the winter which can throw off the deer survival strategy.

      Drag about missing that 6-point..ohhh, for the ones that got away. Funny how those tend to stick in your mind even better than the success stories sometimes.


  18. I read the sun on all media and all versions of the sun … i have noticed that some a pay and some are free… but after about 12 hours or so they drop the fee and you can read for free.. this may change but looks like us non Ottawa people might be able to read it a day or so later

  19. Sorry to continue with the railroading of this thread, but on the topic of “pay per use”, Jeff, in a similar fashion to United Way contributions where a contributor can dictate where their funds are allocated, is this an option with the Sun ? I would subscribe in a heart beat if I could direct my payments directly to the support of your column or better yet the blog. If not then I won’t be paying for access. Maybe it’s time for the blog to consider another promoter like CanadianGunNutz for example. (But please don’t direct me to the Little Man’s Hunting Lodge forum)

    1. Hey Trapper, no worries on the railroading…it’s a topic on a lot of people’s mind these days. And I hear the other newspapers are going this way also with so few people reading oldschool these days.

      From what I read, they seem to have different ‘subscription levels’ where you can get partial access depending on if you choose paper home delivery or whatever. I don’t; however, think you can purchase just one or two columns or articles specifically..

      Oh and btw Trap, the Blog is NOT affected at all by this new ‘metered’ reading policy….everyone will still gain access to the all the Blogs – it’s only the other regular material and SUNshine girl you’ll have to pay for….sniff

      Or perhaps as Chessy has discovered, there may be loophole for those living outside of Ottawa..shuush, dont tell anyone.


  20. (But please don’t direct me to the Little Man’s Hunting Lodge forum)

    hahahaha, Trapper, now behave

    What about posting your column on your blog, will it be allowed?

    I read newspaers, I’m not a fan of online newspapers, I’ll be able to read your column
    in the real newspaper, but a lot of people don’t have that option, even at my cottage which is 40 minutes from downtown there is no Sun delivery

    Say, is that Bob M AKA Bob the Butcher?

    1. Hey Iggs, I would love to just post the column here but Im pretty sure that’d go over like a lead ballon..if you know what I mean..hehe

      Not sure its the same Bob or not…but he has commented a few times.


  21. what if one of us posted it though, what’s the worst that could happen, the first time they’d tell you that it shouldn’t be done, so then we don’t post it again, I doubt very much that they would do anything more than a warning, if they even read this blog

  22. Hey Jeff- Just curious what cams you would recommend for a first-timer? I would like to scout a location for a treestand and the use of cameras could be very helpful. Just the fun of catching photos as well!

    Many thanks !

    1. Well Scott, as you can probably tell I am a Bushnell man…and for good reason, their products are very good quality!

      For starters, I would look into the X8 model trail’s a brand new model this year, and although I haven’t put it thru the wringer yet, from what I have seen they are very good! I actually plan to run a field-test on the prod this winter just haven’t had time yet.

      Best thing too…they retail for $150 or less in some stores..

      Thanks for stopping by!


    1. they’re everything Iggs, from what I see off hand, they have all the features of the high end Trophy Cam HD…but dont have a colour display for playing back images

      Again, I haven’t looked at them that closely dont quote me yet.


  23. Thanks, Jeff – I will look into that! I have been a Bushnell binoculars guy since my time in Afirca many years ago! top quality specs – I assume cams would be too.

    I shall give it a try and let you know !

    Thanks again !


  24. i have had great luck with my bushnel that jeff turned me onto i purchased one in the usa… i have gotten over 3000 pictures with 8 aa batteries in sub zero weather.. if i needed more i would not hesitate to buy a bushenell and if there warrantee is anything like there scopes NO PROBLEM i get pictures that are calendar worthy

    1. Actually Chess, those Bushnell Trophy – Bone Collectors have turned out to be probably my fav model so far. They are extremely reliable all year long and trust me, mine are up 12 months a might even call it Commercial Use!

      The new Trophy Cam HD is suppose to be the cat’s meow, though, so we’ll have to see.


  25. Trailcampro is a good website and the people are very helpful! No affiliation except a happy Bushnell customer. 4 AAs lasted me over a year and I took hundreds of pics and lots of video in all weather. Can’t go wrong for the price. Don’t know about other brands

    1. johan, I will go visit that site..thanks very much!

      Did you check out my latest Blog Post?


  26. ive always had great luck with the cuddeback , great battery life and very reliable . awesome pics! jeff thats a couple nice bucks you have there!

    1. Tks matt, I have also heard great things about cuddeback and stealthcam too…I believe they are also higher-end trailcams.

      Yup, I HAD a couple of nice bucks around my place..they’ve since moved out..thanks to the pesky yotes! They tend to move out around this time of year anyway..I capture pics of them during the winter in another area about 1.5 miles away. Just put-out that winter cam yesterday in fact.

      Where the heck you been hiding anyway?


  27. To answer your question jeff i guess ive been hiding in the woods ! lol between my laptop being busted and 3 weeks of hunting , time has been short thats for sure… just ask my wife !! im sure she cringes when she hears the words deer hunting.For me this is a great time of year for trail cameras i live near a winter herding area and seem to be getting new bucks on camera on a daily basis … what did we ever do before trail cameras ???? i remeber a buddy using this little electronic device called a trail timer it used a piece of fishing line to trigger the sensor and recorded the time and date of any movement …lol pretty archaic compared to some of the gadgets out there now..
    as for the coyotes. . man ive never seen and heard so many around here i really hope we dont get another hard winter ..

  28. Beautiful blog images in dark. Hunting camera allow to hunters and nature lovers to capture images of wild animals in remote locations. If you enjoy hunting and wish to scout out game animals, then it will capture images and videos of game animals without disturbing them.have good time there boss great luck.

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