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Three Trail Camera Setups

You've Probably Never Considered (But Should!)


Mature bucks are spooky. Wary. They don’t suffer fools and your standard trail cam tactics may not be enough to fool an old boy into posing for the camera. To get a big buck in the frame, you’ve got to re-conceptualize how and where you use your camera.

It’s pretty much trail cam canon to strap the device onto a tree trunk…which is fine so long as you have sufficient trees in and around the deer’s travel corridor. Whitetail hunters on the western side of Kansas know the challenges associated with deer hunting in the absence of the tree, which is why you’ll often find them hunkered down on the ground somewhere…why not set up a trail cam on terra firma too?

So long as it’s braced against falling over, placing your trail camera on the ground could open up a world of possibilities you’d never even considered. You won’t have to worry about a tree or fence post being in proximity, just make sure you’ve got the angle right and a clear field of view for the lens and motion sensor. If there’s a chance of moisture pooling around your camera, place it on a few rocks to keep it from sitting in water.

Let’s go a completely opposite direction now for unorthodox camera placement. Think of the one place you absolutely want to see deer from. The only location where it truly counts for you to know what’s passing by your stand.


Pictures from your treestand will give you a first-person account of what you can expect to see when you’re hunting. Sure, it’ll take a little more effort (be sure to harness in) to set up and check your cards, but the payoff is either confidence in the spot or confirmation that it’s time to cut bait and choose a new location. Be sure to get the angle right since the elevation will likely be so much greater than the path the deer is walking.

Finally, the somewhere-in-between option from our previous two. Blowdowns and snags in the woods are filled with nooks and crannies seemingly made for tucking a trail camera into. Since most of the limbs will be horizontal, it’s unlikely you’ll be strapping the camera to any of them as you would a tree trunk. Rather, look for spots to wedge your trail cam into that will render a clear picture and avoid false detections from moving branches in the frame.

Remarkable deer call for remarkable tactics. That five-year-old buck is a completely different animal from the same deer at three. You’ll have to do things differently than the average hunter to get a shot at him, which includes your trail cam strategy. Deploy these techniques and give yourself a better chance at figuring out his world.

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