Trail cameras come in handy for surveying property

Is it too early to think about hunting? With the temperatures climbing toward 90 plus degrees I must say that I’m thinking more about night fishing to beat the heat than I am about sitting in my deer blind hoping for a buck, or even a nice, fat doe. Still, it’s smart to sometimes be the first one to survey your deer hunting grounds. Of course the deer’s pattern will change as the weather cools and farmers harvest their crops, but at least you will know the lay of the land.

If you know the lay of the land you will know where deer can find food and water. All living things need food and water, and wild creatures also need a safe place to hide. Granted that the brushy spot now covered with green leaves and weeds will probably be bare sticks and limbs by October, but it is still smart to know these hiding spots.

Deer hunting is often a matter of setting up an ambush along the deer’s trail so you need to learn these trails. Yes, things will change, but even a picked cornfield will still attract deer so learn the paths they take from field to water, to concealment.

My trail camera will be out in the woods by August, and it will tell me if there are deer in the area. Trail cameras are great, and even interesting to non-hunters. You would be surprised with what turns up along your hunting property in the middle of the night. I never cease to wonder what ever happens to that 14-point buck that trips my camera shutter at 1:00 am before hunting season arrives. He somehow manages to vanish on the first day of the season. Maybe it’s magic like Dancer and Prancer. Maybe he even has a red nose. I know that no matter how many cookies I left for Santa Clause I never caught sight of him or his reindeer.

Trail cameras come in a variety of styles and prices and I go for the cheapest I can find on sale, as long as it will do what I need. Some trail cameras are capable of tremendous quality. Some can even be viewed on your home computer. I would love one of these high tech cameras, and so would the thief trespassing on my hunting area. I’ve already had one stolen and fortunately it was of the cheaper variety. Even so I did not ask happiness for the thief. By trespassing he, or she, was already stealing from me.

If you worry about losing your camera to a thief you might want to camouflage it. There are some interesting methods I’ve seen on the internet. One used a bird house to conceal the camera and the other was in a pile of junk with the camera in an old oil drum. The junk method was not to view wildlife, but used to catch a bad guy stealing scrap.

My blind will be set up in August along a deer trail. By setting it up early the deer will be accustomed to it by hunting season. Once the blind is up and ready I’ll sit in it once in a while just to enjoy watching the local wildlife. It’s always fun to watch chipmunks scurrying through the leaves, and you will see birds you seldom see at other times. There is a big pileated woodpecker where I hunt and I love to watch his antics when he doesn’t know I’m wYou might notice that I have not mentioned the need to prepare your hunting implements, but I might get to that in a future column. What I have outlined in this column can be used by those who will never hunt and just want to observed wildlife. You can even do this in a city neighborhood, but you might want to let the neighbors know what you are up to. Don’t want them to think you’re spying on them as that could make it difficult to maintain a healthy neighborly friendship. You might even share photos from your trail camera to show that it is not you and really is the deer who are stealing all his tomatoes.