A Guide to Trail Cam Placement Through the Deer Season

Don't just set your trail cams and forget them. Move them to the money spots as the season progresses, from August through winter. This month-by-month schedule will help you maximize the usefulness of your camera traps to track big bucks on your property.

July-August
Where: Summer food sources, mineral blocks, supplemental feeding locations (where legal), and water sources in arid climates.
Why: Summer bucks will visit these places routinely, providing you the perfect chance to take an inventory of deer, check out antler growth, and get pumped for the coming season.
**Tip: **Your cams will take lots of pictures now, so consider a secondary battery source.

Sept. 1-25
Where: Trails leading to and from food sources and new rubs nearby.
Why: The evening feeding pattern is a buck's most predictable routine as archery seasons begin. These pictures will tell you where to hunt.
Tip: Big bucks often hang back from field edges before entering. When you get pictures of a good buck near rubs 20 to 40 yards off the edge, hang a stand.

Sept. 25-Oct. 25
Where: Field-edge scrapes.
Why: As the rut gets closer, bucks will hit these spots to communicate and measure up rivals. These are great places to take a quick inventory of bucks after bachelor groups disperse.
Tip: Adding tarsal-gland lure or fresh urine to scrapes, especially later in October, can increase the number of buck visits.

Oct. 25-Nov. 5
Where: Primary scrapes and signpost rubs.
Why: Does are visiting scrapes, and bucks know it. Bucks are also hitting the biggest rubs to advertise their presence.
Tip: Look for primary scrapes in heavier cover; they often have rubs and smaller scrapes nearby.
**
Nov. 5-20**
Where: Doe bedding areas and trails leading to them.
Why: This is peak breeding time. Does will spend the majority of their daylight hours here--and bucks will find them.
Tip: Check these cams only when you need to make a decision on where to hunt. Too much scent in bedding areas is bad news.
**
Nov. 20-Dec. 1**
Where: Pinch points, funnels, travel lanes.
Why: Bucks are putting on miles seeking out the last hot does.
Tip: You'll get more pictures of cruising bucks if you aim your camera down the trail, as opposed to perpendicular to it.

Dec. 1-Jan. 15
Where: Trails leading to prime food sources.
Why: With no rut activity, it's like the early season with snow--it's all about the food.
Tip: Cold weather kills both batteries and scent. Check your cameras more often.

From the August 2013 issue of Field & Stream