Next Generation Scouting
By: Travis Faulkner
Let’s face it; consistently tagging top-heavy giants with intimidating headgear is no easy task. The truth is you have hunt hard, but scout even harder. Fine-tuning and maximizing your scouting strategies is probably the best way to generate more close encounters with shooter bucks. With that being said, here are some next generation game-camera scouting techniques that will keep you right in the middle of antler-rich and action-packed hunting environment this season.
Step 1: Do Your Homework
Before hitting the woods, take some time to study topo-maps and aerial photos of the area you plan on hunting. Try to nail-down potential big buck hotspots such as possible feeding areas, bedding locations, staging points and travel corridors. Look for natural funnels such as cliff-lines, steep terrain, rivers and small streams that will dictate how whitetails move from place to place. Pinch-points are another key feature you should focus on finding, because these unique spots can be excellent locations to intercept a mature buck.
Step 2: Go Scent-Free & Undetected
Without question, a whitetail buck’s mainline of defense is his keen sense of smell. This is exactly why you need to take extra precautions when hanging and checking game-cameras. For starters, spray a cleaning cloth down with a quality scent-eliminator spray from Code Blue. Next, place your game-cameras outside and let them air out overnight. Wear latex gloves when handling each unit and store them separately in large Ziploc bags.
When positioning your game-cameras in-the-field, make sure you’ve showered with a scent-eliminator shampoo and soap. Always wear scent-free rubber boots, latex gloves and clothing that have been pre-washed with an odor neutralizing detergent. Try to be as quiet as possible when hanging and checking your game-cameras. It’s also a good idea to hang and check your units before or after key activity periods to keep from spooking and educating veteran bucks.
Step 3: Maximize Your Coverage
Once you’ve pinpointed several primetime areas and are scent-free, expand your reach by utilizing a network of game-cameras to monitor each spot. Strategically setting up and running several game-cameras simultaneously in-the-field will maximize your overall coverage. This tactic enables you to get on shooter bucks a lot faster and makes it much easier to establish a complete daily pattern. A single game-camera essentially just gives you one piece of the puzzle, but multiple units will provide you with all the pieces you’ll need to solve it.
Step 4: Construct Game-Camera Traps
Enhancing your game-camera setups with mock scrapes and other attractants like Moultrie’s Camera Candy is another tactic that will help you pinpoint and pattern mature bucks much easier. It only takes a few minutes to make a highly-productive mock scrape with natural scents from Code Blue. Products like the Scrape Mate and Grave-Digger can be quickly applied with minimal effort. Any buck that picks up the aroma will work the scrape and pose for the perfect photo shoot.
Moultrie’s Camera Candy is another attractant that is extremely addictive and fast-acting. You can simply strap the candy to a tree with the included game-camera strap or hang it from a limb. Both of these tactics give you the ability to bring deer exactly where you want them. You’ll always have the right camera angle and height to capture professional grade photos every single time.