Category Archives: Trail Cameras

Post Season Deer Survey

Trail Camera Tips For Post Season Deer Surveys

Post-season deer surveys can bring a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. The unknowns surrounding which deer survived hunting season and which deer didn’t can create immeasurable curiosity. Especially when you have intimate knowledge surrounding a particular buck.
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When a hit list buck disappears for a few months it can create a mental tug-of-war between hoping for the best-case scenario and sorting through the worst. Yet, most hunters would agree that little compares to seeing that buck you thought was gone, suddenly appear in a post season trail camera photo – it’s as if he has come back from the dead.
Now that bucks are in their home winter ranges and deer are concentrating on food sources, post season is the time to strategically place trail cameras before bucks drop their antlers. According to Lindsay Thomas Jr., editor of Quality Whitetails and Director of Communications for the QDMA, “A trail-camera survey – put simply – is the most powerful herd monitoring tool you can use that doesn’t require the assistance of a professional wildlife biologist. On your own, you can estimate deer density, sex ratio, buck age structure, fawn recruitment and more – tons of information that will guide you in achieving Quality Deer Management success where you hunt.”
Here are a few simple tips to help you conduct a post season deer survey.

1. Locate Prime Food Sources

Much like pre-season where food was the ‘go-to’ for locating mature bucks, similar tactics are used when conducting a post season survey. With colder temperatures, snow accumulation and depleted testosterone, mature bucks are in survival mode and are driven by appetite.
If baiting isn’t an option then choose a survey site based upon prime food sources. These can include food plots, bean stubble, cut corn, winter wheat, or mast crops in areas where row crops are not an option. If hunting near residential areas, locate places where the snow has less chance of accumulation and deer are feeding on remnants of green—you might be surprised what you’ll find there.
Residential lawns that were irrigated late into the fall often attract deer and can offer a unique late season food source. Deer are known to resort to unlikely places when trying to fulfill a winter appetite. So, depending on where you hunt, think outside the box when it comes to food sources.

2. Use Bait Or An Attractant

Depending on where you reside, baiting or supplementing a pre-existing food source may not be an option. If baiting is legal in your state, it is the recommended way to conduct a post season deer survey. Shelled corn can be used as the preferred bait or attractant, but there are other available options from manufacturers of specialized deer feed.
If you prefer not to bait, you can supplement a pre-existing food source with some form of attractant. Options could include attractants such as Big & J’s BB2 or other mineral supplements that are similar.
One of our favorite tactics for post season deer surveys is to incorporate some form of generic goat feed into the bait or around the bait site. This type of feed is usually laced with molasses and serves as an attractant due to its strong odor. Although it is used sparingly and not used as primary bait, it serves to draw deer from a considerable distance. Adding some form of attractant will quickly draw deer to the location you wish to photograph for your survey.

3. Strategically Place Cameras

According to the QDMA, one camera can sufficiently survey 100 acres if baited properly. If conducting a survey using a pre-existing food plot or other type of food source, placing additional cameras would be recommended.
When planning where to hang your trail camera and establish your survey site, strategically locate the best possible location by using terrain features, travel corridors and bedding areas. Take the time to study topographical maps so as to adequately execute a plan of action based upon known deer movements and habitat.
post season deer surveys
In a post season deer survey, you want to be able to adequately judge the age and maturity of the bucks in your photographs. Over the years we have found that when baiting, if a mature buck does not have adequate cover or feels vulnerable, you may only catch a slight glimpse of him. When conducting a post season survey, it is best to locate your camera, bait or attractant in an area that is thick enough to provide a sense of security for a mature buck.

4. Orient Camera And Remove Obstructions

Depending on the camera’s field of view, hang your trail camera approximately 12-15 feet from the food source. If hanging it over bait or an attractant, make sure the bait is centered in the camera frame. When locating your camera near a pre-existing food source, locate the camera where you are most likely to photograph deer entering or exiting the area. If you are hanging a camera near a heavy traffic area, such as a game trail, mount the trail camera at a 45-degree angle to the trail. This will provide a wider field of view and allow more opportunities to catch deer moving to and from the area.
Whether overexposed, not enough exposure, too much flash, not enough flash, or some obstruction in front of the camera, few things are more frustrating than a photo of a mature buck that didn’t turn out well. The first step in avoiding this kind of disappointment is to make sure your camera is oriented North when fastening it to the tree or camera mount.
After mounting your camera northward over the bait, use a pair of lopers, pruners or a saw to clear away limbs and undergrowth. Make sure to check for low hanging limbs or small stalks of grass that can trigger a trail camera on windy days. Taking the time to make sure your camera is set up correctly will pay big dividends.

5. Survey And Dream Of Next Season

Statistics show that monitoring an individual bait site for 15 days can provide adequate deer survey results for 100 acre plots. More time may be required if monitoring a food plot or traffic areas to and from a food source. After the necessary time has expired, collect your images and collate the data by reviewing your trail camera photos. This will allow you to take a count of what bucks, does, yearlings and fawns you have on your property.
Remember to use adequate scent control and if the weather is bitter cold, replace your batteries as needed. If you have large numbers of deer around your survey site, use suitable SD cards with adequate memory.
Once you have run the survey, here is a helpful article and computation form provided by the QDMA that can help you calculate your buck to doe ratios.
Our friend Cody Altizer has also shared some perspectives on conducting a post season survey. You can find that information by clicking here. Using Trail Cameras for Late Season Inventory
You may also want to consider organizing or sharing your trail camera photos by using the services provided by Deer Lab. Deer Lab is a trail camera photo management platform that allows you to store and filter photos based upon weather, moon phase, barometric pressure, wind direction and so forth. This platform also enables you to sort statistics by individual deer giving you an overview of what the wind, moon or temperature was like when a certain deer showed up.
Have fun conducting your survey and if you have any other deer survey tips, please feel free to share them with us.

Deer hunting

Bow Season: Has It Ended or Just Begun

As the sun tucked itself behind the last of the clouds, I watched as two bucks and five does fed into the fading light. This was a good way to end the last day of archery season. Unfortunately, the 150-class buck I encountered earlier in the week was a no-show for this party.
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Before securing my boots into the Lone Wolf climber, I cherished the moment. This had been a good year. There had been several encounters and plenty of indelible experiences. Sharing these moments with my two boys made this season all the more memorable.


The highlight of the year was to hear my boys whisper from the other side of the tree, “Dad, deer!” I was going to miss the camaraderie. Shaking my head at how fast this season had passed, I stood there savoring the memories.


Then I realized—this is not an end—it’s only a beginning.


There are properties to scout


Having recently acquired several hundred acres of new hunting property, there is some serious scouting to do. Now that season’s over, it’s time to take a few Saturdays and bust the brush. We’ll be searching for prime bedding areas and learning the main travel corridors to and from food sources. Using GIS maps will enable us to assimilate this information and hang stands accordingly.


There are trail cameras to hang


Now that we can legally put out food and mineral, it’s time to move some trail cameras and establish what bucks we have on our property. Drawing a multitude of deer to a few strategically placed feeding sources, just might give us some pleasant surprises. We’ve already had some good bucks on the SD cards, so we’re excited to see what else might show up. Being a mixture of row crops, creek bottoms and heavy oak ridges, this property is bound to hold some bruisers.


There are sheds to find


With testosterone levels dropping, it won’t be long until the bucks will be laying some bone in the dirt. Having seen several bucks whose headgear would make a nice addition to our antler pile, we have the necessary inspiration to cover a lot of ground. There are several South-facing slopes that just might hold some large pointed pieces of protein. Hopefully it’ll be our good fortune to find them.


There are predators to kill


Plenty of coyote sign and a visible den are sure signs that we have excess predators. It’s the time to put the Fox Pro caller to work and reduce the number of predators on the property. Although predator hunting is fun, it’s also a must for adequately preserving the deer herd.


(At Christmas my children surprised me with Flambeau Lone Howler decoy. We named it Delilah and will be putting her out to help lure, Mr. Sampson Coyote. I think their gift was a hint they would like to make some fur fly this winter.)


There are new trees to locate


Post season is a great time to locate suitable trees to hang a stand. A tree might look good in early season and leave you completely exposed when it gets late and the leaves fall. I’ve already noticed a couple of suitable trees that I want to hang a stand in for next season. These trees offer good late season cover and allow for a proper entrance and exit routes.


There are shooting lanes to trim


There’s no reason to wait till next July to trim shooting lanes. Once we’ve located our stand locations, we’ll trim shooting lanes. Remember when trimming lanes that vertical lanes allow more cover than horizontal. It’s also important this time of year to consider the spring growth. Allow yourself some added room when cutting back limbs. Trimming shooting lanes this far in advance of the fall season will give your area plenty of time to recover from the disturbance and help to limit unnecessary scent within your prime hunting areas.


There are food plots to plant


We’re still working on our food plot strategy and will be working with the QDMA to make the plots as productive as possible. This means soil samples, ample fertilization, tillage and planting. We will also be working with landowners to help them understand our long-term commitment to quality habitat. Our property also holds Eastern wild turkeys, meaning our food plots will be serving a dual purpose.


There are 3D shoots to enjoy


Post-season means the start of indoor 3D archery shoots. Our family enjoys the competition and it’s a great way to spend the weekend when it’s cold outside. Shooting under pressure helps to keep us sharp and it’s a great way to meet other archers who share the same passion.


It’s not an end


As I planted my feet into the climber and made my decent, I realized again—there’s no off-season. The enjoyment and hard work of whitetail hunting goes on 365 days a year.


Bow season hasn’t ended — it’s just begun.




Covert Special Ops Code Black Trail Camera Review

Named after highly trained military units known for their “hit and run” tactics, the Covert Special Ops Code Black was intended to be like its namesake – unconventional. With its ability to silently monitor your favorite hunting area and send photos directly to you, the Covert Special Ops Code Black camera has earned a place in the ranks of the elite.


Covert Special Ops Code Black – Unconventional 

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Covert designed the Special Ops Code Black to help create the perfect scouting scenario. Traditional trail cameras require you to regularly retrieve your SD card and risk being exposed to your quarry. Integrating a wireless feature into the Special Ops camera, Covert Scouting Cameras made it possible for game animal pictures to be sent directly to your cell phone, email or both. This innovation allows strategic hunting areas to remain undisturbed and scent free.


Covert Code BlackThe cellular operations of this camera are simple. The Covert Special Ops Code Black operates on GSM networks and uses a SIM card for activation. With no plans or contracts to buy from Covert Scouting Cameras, simply purchase a prepaid SIM card for as low as $9.99 and receive up to 1000 messages per month. Your local AT&T or T-Mobile store can help you with the necessary cellular activation process.


Covert Special Ops Code Black – Clandestine


Covert Scouting Cameras engineered this camera with a full understanding of the mission at hand. To insure clandestine operations, the Covert Special Ops Code Black weatherproof case comes cloaked in Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity. To assure the hunter of undisturbed game, the camera features whisper-quiet function and invisible “black” infrared. With its 8MP resolution and 1.2-second trigger speed, this unit has what it takes to get the job done. Fully aware of the objectives, this trail camera is willing to match wits with any wary whitetail or elusive elk.


Equipped with the latest technology, the Covert Special Ops Code Black specializes in coordinating and transmitting up-to-date photos from your hunting area right into your hand. Designed to monitor remote and complex environments, the Covert Special Ops Code Black works as your very own operative. With its primary mission being infiltration, the Special Ops Code Black can help remove the guesswork when planning your next hunt.




  • 60 ‘Black Flash’ IR LEDs
  • 8MP high quality photos
  • Fast trigger speed
  • Built-in true color display
  • 640×480 MMS resolution
  • User-friendly interface
  • Works with external power source
  • Low power consumption


Technical Specifications:


  • Operates on 4, 8 or 12 batteries
  • 8MP color CMOS sensor
  • Up to 8GB SD/SDHC Card
  • 5.6″x 4.75″x 3″ in size
  • Takes pictures and videos
  • Adjustable picture resolution – 3MP, 5MP or 8MP
  • Adjustable video resolution – 320×240 or 640×480
  • Adjustable PIR Sensitivity (Low, Med or High)
  • Password Protected
  • High Resolution (640 x 480) pictures sent to phone or email
  • Photo burst of 1, 2 or 3
  • Intervals adjustable from 1 second to 60 minutes.
  • Date, Time, Temp, Moon phase stamp
  • Select standard camera or wireless feature


For more information visit Covert Scouting Cameras or our friends at




Covert Game Camera


Safe keeping for the Cuddeback Cuddeview X2 Field Viewer

The Cuddeback Cuddeview X2 Field Viewer® is an essential piece of scouting gear. Allowing you quick and easy access to your trail camera photos, the Cuddeview X2 makes viewing and downloading your trail-cam photo’s a cinch.

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With the possibility of damage to the display and controls when transported with other gear, we set out to find some form of additional protection for the viewer. Searching for durability with a custom fit, we hit the jackpot with the Pelican 1020 Micro Case Series®. Durable, waterproof, and a perfect fit, made the 1020 Micro Case a no-brainer.


As if tailored for the Cuddeview X2, the Pelican 1020 removes all risks of damage associated with storing or transporting the Cuddeview X2 Field Viewer®. Adding Sony’s padded SD Card storage sleeve into the lid of the Pelican 1020 gave additional protection to the viewer, along with extra storage for multiple SD cards.


For added protection of your Cuddeview X2 Field Viewer check out the Pelican 1020 Micro Case Series®.


Cuddeback Cuddeview Field Viewer


Simple Steps For A Scent Free Trail Camera

No matter what our individual regimen’s for scent reduction might look like, as whitetail hunters we understand the importance of scent control.
From scent free soaps, scented dryer sheets, chlorophyll pills, or scent elimination sprays, there are a host of opinions as to what works and why. The non-debatable issue is – it’s tough to fool a whitetail’s nose. So shouldn’t scent control begin with a scent free trail camera?
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Whitetail enthusiasts spend millions each year trying to avoid detection. While there is no such thing as a magic potion, there are benefits to going the extra mile when attempting to reduce human odor. And limiting the impact you have on any given area you hunt, will undoubtedly increase the odds of success this hunting season.
Whitetails survive day after day by being acutely aware of their surroundings. When a hunter positions a trail camera in the living room of a trophy whitetail, precaution should be taken in order to avoid ‘tipping off’ your quarry. From the bolts, bungee strap, or security box that holds the camera, to the camera itself, taking the time to eliminate as much odor as possible will only work to your advantage.
Here are some simple tips that will help you hang a scent free trail camera.

  • Before setting up your camera make sure it is clean and free of any foreign odors. This also applies to all hardware used to mount the camera.


  • When setting up your camera, use a pair of surgical gloves. This will limit the amount of human odor left on the camera during mounting and setup.


  • Bring along a clean rag, stored in a zip lock bag and a small bottle of scent elimination spray. Spray the camera and all hardware and use the clean rag to wipe the camera lens of any residue.


  • When retrieving your SD card or changing batteries, wear surgical gloves. Before leaving, clean the camera with a scent elimination spray of your choice.


  • Rainy days are the preferred time to check trail cameras. The rain naturally eliminates human odors.


  • Last but not least, always wear ‘clean’ rubber boots when checking your cameras. Odor control is especially important when entering and exiting any area you plan on hunting.

We hope these simple tips not only help Mr. Talltines to pose for your camera, but you’ll have a chance to see him in season as well.

If you have any additional tips for a scent free trail camera, please feel free to share those with us!


Scent Free Trail Camera Tips