Everyone thinks of game cameras for hunting deer, but they are exceedingly useful in understanding the patterns of spring game like turkeys … and especially black bear coming to baits. Always consult game laws to ensure that using cameras is legal, but where it is, there are few better tools for patterning game.
As you deploy your trail cameras to pattern your next bruin, consider these common mistakes and avoid them:
Mistake #1 Placing cameras too high
This is the Number One mistake of inexperienced game camera users. We walk upright; bears seldom do. Cameras to photograph bear should be placed at their shoulder height – less than three feet.
Mistake #2 Going for a leisurely walk in the woods
Have a plan when placing cameras. Get in; do the job; get out. Be cautious with scent control. This isn’t a naïve youngster you’re after. The big boys have seen and smelled it all. You don’t want your presence or cameras to alter their routines. Place your cameras in your regular baiting routine, and you’ll be fine
Mistake #3 Visiting cameras too often
The temptation to check cameras often is natural. You want to see that bear you plan to meet soon. Resist. Only check when conditions are perfect and part of your baiting routine. Don’t use dead batteries as an excuse. Instead, pick up a solar-charging panel and hook it up to the camera with rechargeable batteries.
Mistake #4 Hanging cameras in the brush
Just like you need a clear lane to take a good shot, so does a game camera. Take along a hand pruner to clear obstructions between the game camera and the estimated locations of its intended targets.
Mistake #5 Leaving cameras at home
No game camera works sitting on a shelf. Even when you travel to a new destination for a few days, take the cameras along… or on a guided hunt. Set them up on vacant bait locations to see what’s passing while you’re hunting another stand. Multi-tasking – scouting at the same time you’re hunting – makes the most of your time.