How Many Deer Trail Cameras?
If you’re reading this, chances are pretty good you already have the trail cameras you need. Some study recommends one trail camera per 100 acres. Go get more if you need them. I’m certain you’ll find other uses for them after the survey.
When to Place Cameras?
For optimum results conduct two surveys, one just before hunting season, and another just after. Exactly when will depend on when your seasons occur, but you can begin as early as late August and end as late as early February.
Start by laying out a map grid of your property - on an aerial photo or topographical map - divided into approximately 100-acre blocks. Then place one hunting trail camera in each block. They need not be evenly spaced. It’s more important that you place cameras in areas heavily utilized by deer. Two-tracks, skid roads, the edges of food plots or agricultural fields or heavily traveled deer trails are ideal.
If you haven’t already done so, establish feeding stations as part of your regular supplemental feeding program at the same ratio, one per each 100-acre block. These will also be your camera stations. Record a GPS waypoint if needed, then plot each station on your map.
Make sure your cameras are working properly and loaded with fully charged batteries. Set all of the cameras to record date and time of each photo. Also, set all cameras on a 10-minute delay to avoid an unnecessary glut of images. Face camera North or South to avoid backlighting, and clear all vegetation from the detection zone to prevent false events.
Pre-bait for at least five days. If you’re supplementally feeding, you’re likely already doing so. Be sure to check the baiting laws in your state to make sure it is legal. You’ll be conducting your survey outside of the hunting season, but it’s still a good idea to be sure.
How much food you need will depend on several variables, including how many deer you have, and how hungry they are. Make sure there is feed at each station throughout the survey period.