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Natural Hunting Skill vs Trail Cams

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Natural Hunting Skill vs Trail Cams

Old 10-06-2014, 02:59 PM
  #21  
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Regarding the use of game cameras:

Cameras don't lure trophy deer to the gun or the bow, they simply capture an image when SOMETHING triggers their sensors. If you don't have any fieldsmanship skills and don't do any scouting, you won't know where to hang the camera in the first place. While I do agree there are ways to use the camera to gain 'intel' that wouldn't be available by conventional scouting techniques, it's not really that powerful of an enabling technology. These things have sensor ranges of ~45-80ft usually, so if you don't place cameras somewhere that you know to have deer sign and activity, you won't see any deer. All it really does is give you a look at 1) what is passing through, 2) at what time, and 3) with what consistency. Other than confirming to a hunter that deer are passing through regularly, cameras really don't reduce any scouting load, or make it easier to find them. You still have to find the deer, the camera just lets you know how often/how regularly they are there.

Fieldsmanship and "hunting savvy" really aren't that hard, so when I see threads like this, my mind ultimately just sees them as an attempt to pretend that somebody is a mystical great hunter because they notice deer schit or rubbed branches, then sat down and waited. It's not like we're flying over with FLIR equipped drones and taking high resolution photos using "rack recognition software" to locate animals, or using comprehensive video surveillance or GPS locating technologies to track their movements, then just pointing a bow or rifle and clicking an easy button. Heck, there are many tried and true traditional hunting methods that require a LOT less "hunting savvy" that increase your hunting successes a lot more than using a trail camera, but folks seldom complain about those. It's really not that difficult to go out and successfully harvest deer - I'm no master hunter, but I've been successful at bringing in a few respectable trophies, and have been successful at filling my freezer and filling my belly on many years, with as little as a used rifle or a 50yr old heirloom recurve bow and walmart arrows. If I can be successful, then it obviously isn't THAT HARD.

More than anything, I love getting my trail camera images just out of an interest for the natural world. Even though my lifestyle and job has always afforded me a lot of freedom to enjoy the outdoors, it's just not possible to be everywhere at once. I'm the type that takes the time to marvel at the world around me whenever I'm in nature, so I appreciate that trail cameras can capture moments that I simply wasn't there to witness. I have photo series of a pair of 160"+ bucks fighting for over 30minutes straight, photo series of coons wrestling under a feeder, of a young buck "fighting" a skunk, of coyotes stalking a doe with a fawn, of a pheasant "roosting" temporarily in the antlers of a buck... And the list goes on... I'll run feeders or food plots and run cameras on spots in many years that I have no intention of hunting, just to capture the wildlife photos. Really marvelous stuff (to me at least) happens in nature, and the cameras are extra sets of eyes (and a photographic record to boot!!) to help me see even more of it.

I suppose one specific purpose I use my camera photos for is herd management. I have 500 acres of my own, but my family has ~17,000 acres of crop and pasture ground, much of which I manage these days, but upon which several of my family also hunts. That acreage envelopes a lot of deer, and over the last 20-30yrs, we've had certain 'conditions' like over hunting or funky genetics pop up in one spot or another, and having the cameras lets us keep a closer eye on the natural deer herds to help promote healthy populations of good quality animals. For example, we've had years where certain area only has younger bucks and low doe populations, but good food availability (bachelor pads), my family and I will "let them walk" and not hunt that area but will plant food plots to encourage doe migration to the area, and to let the bucks grow. Another area had a bit of a stagnating gene pool, good problem to have - great big bodies even at young ages, but really imbalanced racks. So we made an effort to knock out a few of the larger bucks in one season, which successfully left room for a few different bucks to come in the next seasons - WHICH WE LET WALK - to help diversify that gene pool. Granted, that required a lot of 'policing' to prevent uninvited hunters from screwing up our plan, but it worked.

I don't necessarily have an ethical stance in favor or against cameras or feeders or foodplots, or rifles or crossbows or box blinds or dogs or hunting apps or scent blocker or camo etc etc, - I've hunted very successfully when all I could afford was a box of ammo every other year to hunt with and my tags, and I've not found it legitimately EASIER to hunt because I own trail cameras, nor many of the other items available to me now that I'm able to enjoy the disposable income to afford some of them. For what it's worth, I'm not even convinced that FEEDERS really improve a hunters odds significantly (outside of farms) unless the overall food supply in the area is really lacking, as I've noticed that deer respond VERY differently to feeders even simply by moving them 20yrds in one direction or another. I also don't feel the need to take a stance on many of these issues, because I don't feel compelled to criticize others for how they hunt.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:45 PM
  #22  
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Well, for someone who doesn't criticize others, you sure did.

You seem to put no value on woodsmanship, but claim to hunt private property, use cameras, food plots, feeders, and anything it seems that you claim doesn't help. I can see why you don't need woodsmanship.

Classic.
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Old 10-06-2014, 04:16 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Nomercy448
Heck, there are many tried and true traditional hunting methods that require a LOT less "hunting savvy" that increase your hunting successes a lot more than using a trail camera, but folks seldom complain about those.[/b].
Would you care to elaborate on what methods you are referring??
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:35 PM
  #24  
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i use cams every day and spend more time scouting than most people who dont have cams up its just another way of having fun with the sport. As far as loosing hunting skill goes over using cams, well, it doesn't even make since.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:25 PM
  #25  
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I personally think a lot of people way over scout. There is just not that much useful information to be found by tromping through the woods in the summer IMO.

I spend my summer on the lake looking for crappie.

Even on a new property I just set up a stand/stands based on terrain and learn as I hunt.

I suppose it can be very different in different regions but here in the midwest we have significant season changes. Knowing what a deer is doing in August just really doesn't help me much.

Basically hunting is my scouting.

I guess if I didn't go out deer hunting 100 times a year I would scout more.

Last edited by rockport; 10-06-2014 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:35 AM
  #26  
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I feel it is your own personal choice. if it is legal in your state and you feel it is helping you where a mentor can't then by all means use it to your advantage. the person who says it is illegal in his state and it should be Illegal in all states has his own personal beliefs but, it should not be if I don't like it then everybody else should follow. deer are getting smarter and smarter every year and if we come up with something that may help us then I say use it as long as it is legal.We as hunters all have different ways we hunt, use different things to hunt with but, when it comes down to it we are all the same and should not bash each other just because we think a little different then some one else. that is what will help end hunting not help it. Good luck in your hunting.
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:06 AM
  #27  
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I don't own or use one, they seem to me to be more trouble than they are worth. But it doesn't bother me if someone else wants to use one. I'd reckon that most of the pictures you get would be in the dark anyway, when deer movement is peak.

Around here in the crowded Northeast, all you hear is guys crying about someone breaking or stealing their game cameras from the woods. No thanks, don't want any part of this.
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:10 AM
  #28  
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I have a simple question for those using trail cams, and say they don't help any.

Why would you spend the money to buy them if they don't help?
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:26 AM
  #29  
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I don't use one, or have any real desire to do so -- though I have seen some cool pics of deer and other critters taken by them. It would seem to me that unless you're rich enough to carpet an area with cameras, you'd still have to use some judgment in deciding where to put them

===========
And:
"I personally think a lot of people way over scout." I couldn't agree more -- at least around here, most people don't have access to enough land to meaningfully scout and make decisions about where to hunt.
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:34 AM
  #30  
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I think if there is a problem its like usual.....money.

Way to much simply paying somebody to put you in a stand where the deer are.

Just seems to me that is a much bigger cause for decline of actual skill.
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