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Before trail cameras, the day-to-day lives of wild critters were largely mysteries to most of us. But now, thanks to the latest cams, we can spy on game 24/7 to uncover secret animal behavior that was once totally hidden from hunters. Who knew, for example, that whitetail bucks spend so much of their time getting pumpkins, buckets, and other random objects stuck in their antlers?

What else to deer, turkeys, coyotes, cougars, and monkeys (yes, monkeys) get up to? See for yourself in this updated collection of shocking, funny, and just plain weird trail-cam pics. 

1. Beach-Ball Bruiser

trail-camera photo of deer with beach ball in antlers
From Matt Lile (Kentucky)

This buck seems to be either working a licking branch or trying to get a better look a the thing stuck in his antlers—and thinking, What? A beach ball?! How did that get there?

2. Pining for the Fields

wildest trail camera photos, not dead buck
Brian Salmons

Wow, this buck fell dead right in front of the hunter’s trail-cam. What are the odds? Well, low enough that it’s not actually what is going on here. This buck is just taking a nap. “I have several pictures of him coming in multiple nights and laying here,” says Brian Salmons, who submitted the photo.

3. Fired Up

photo of deer in wildfire
From Rex Summerfield (Idaho)

Forest fires are a common hazard for western whitetails. This Idaho doe was captured on camera right on the edge of a large burn.

4. Listen, Girlfriend

wildest trail cam photos, does
Bobby Wilson

This photo from Kentucky hunter Bobby Wilson seems to show one doe putting her arm around another, as if to say, “Don’t worry, Hun. We’ll get our turn.” Isn’t that sweet? Well, no. The doe on the left is actually giving the one on the right a nice, swift kick to work out dibs on the corn.

5. Peek-a-Boo

trail-camera photo of two deer
From David Voisey (Ohio)

Not sure what’s going on here, but we’ll keep it PG. Maybe they were just trying to get a new perspective on things.

6. Monkey Business

trail-camera photo of a monkey
Courtesy of Justin Moore (Tennessee)

This was taken in Tennessee. Your guess is as good as ours.

7 & 8. High Jump

wildest trail camera photos, buck jumping
Blake Vanover
wildest trail camera photo, jump
Robert William Gates

Planning to fence out your food plots to keep the deer out until hunting season. Good idea. But if these photos submitted by Blake Vanover (top) and Robert William Gates are any indication, you may want to rethink the height of your fence.

9. Flying Squirrel

trail-camera photo of hawk with squirrel
From Zach Snortum

This doesn’t look like an actual flying squirrel, but if it ever wanted to be, it got its wish. The hawk was happy to oblige no doubt.

10. Death Grip

trail-camera photo of cougar and deer
From Rex Summerfield (Idaho)

We know that cougars are capable of taking down adult big game, but it’s rarely captured on a trail camera. That’s a big-bodied deer too.

Related: The Best Cellular Trail Cameras

11. Mad Hops

trail-camera photo of coyote and turkey
From Lance Patton (Tennessee)

This coyote was hoping for a turkey dinner, but he couldn’t quite jump high enough. Impressive try, though.

12. Fast Food

trail-camera photo of mountain lion chasing deer
From Ryan Gascon (Oregon)

This big cat was captured mid-sprint while trying run down a mule deer doe. We don’t know who won the race, but our money is on the one with the long tail.

13. Oh Sh*t!

trail-camera photo of coyote
Josh Honeycutt (Kentucky)

There are two ways to look at this one. Either he turned around and was surprised to find a camera there. Or he knew all along and is thinking, Get a picture of this, as he takes a dump in your mineral lick.

14. That’s Mine!

wildest trail camera photo, coyote
Ken Smith

Submitted by Ken Smith, this November tail-cam shot shows a coyote marking its territory. That stump is his, and no one else can have it.

15. Pain in the Neck

wildest trail camera photos, neck pain
Jacob Blackburn

Some buck fights get serious, as this photo from Jacob Blackburn proves. Here, we see a buck with an antler that’s broken off in its neck. Might take a while to shed that one.

16 & 17. Fawn Feast

Whitetail Hunting photo
Courtesy of Todd Gneiting (Idaho)
trail-camera photo of coyote and fawn deer
Courtesy of Ryan Stehl (Illinois)

Coyote predation on whitetail fawns was once thought to be insignificant, but the latest research shows otherwise. This is why the fawn drop is synchronized—so that a large number of newborn deer overwhelms predators’ ability to get too many of them, ensuring that some will to survive into adulthood.

18. Racoon for Dinner

trail-camera photo of coyote with raccoon
Courtesy of Andy Douglas (Mississippi)

Coyotes rarely prey on raccoons because the latter are generally too mean to mess with and often travel in packs. This one, clearly, was an exception.

19 & 20. Staring Contests

trail-camera photo of whitetail buck and coyote
Courtesy of Todd Gneiting (Idaho)
wildest trail camera photos, coyote and buck
Derek Zimmerman

Too bad these cameras weren’t on video mode so we could find out who blinked first in these standoffs between lone coyotes and bucks.

21. Bloody Mess

wildest trail camera photo, bloody buck
Will Kyle

If you need more proof that buck fights can get serious, this ought to do it. It looks like this warrior may have gotten the worst of one, as its head and neck are covered in blood. On the other hand, whitetails are incredibly tough; he’ll probably be back working that big rub on the right in no time.

22 & 23. Crossing Over

wildest trail camera photos, bobcat crossing
Pat Howard
wildest trail camera photo, coyote crossing
Pat Howard

Why get your feet wet if you don’t have to?

24. Crypto Tank

trail-camo photo of rare whitetail buck
Courtesy of Jeremy Flinn

This is most likely a cryptorchid buck, which is one that never shed its velvet (or antlers). This is a true rarity in the wild.

25. Truck Bucks

trail-camera photo of deer in barn
Courtesy of Reese Johnson (Kentucky)

Maybe they think it’s a getaway vehicle. “Get in the truck, Stan. There’s someone watching us.”

26. Baloo Bruin

wildest trail camera photos, bear
Pat Howard

Nothing like relaxing around the campfire. For the moment, at least, this bear does seem to have forgotten about his worries and his strife.

27 & 28. Ghost Bucks

trail-camera photo of whitetail buck
Courtesy of Stephen Floyd (Kentucky)

trail-camera photo of whitetail deer
Courtesy of Dan Infalt (Wisconsin)

Filtered sunlight paints a ghost’s face on the buck above. As for the image below, well-known whitetail hunter Dan Infalt says the camera was located behind the home of a family that went missing. Once he saw the photo, he had it analyzed by an expert who said the camera flash lit up some dust particles. But neither of them could deny the skull-shaped orbs. When you blow up the image, you can even see teeth. Pretty creepy.

29. Head Pieces

trail-camera photo of whitetail buck with plastic in antlers
Courtesy of Taylor Early (Indiana)

Apparently, this Indiana buck had these pieces of plastic stuck to his head for a while, as hunter Taylor Early found them lying just a few yards from the deer’s antlers during shed season.

30. The Other, Other White Meat

trail-camera photo of albino turkey
Courtesy of Reese Johnson (Kentucky)

Only about 1 in 100,000 wild turkeys are albinos.

31. Ghost Deer

wildest trail camera photo, albino fawn
Cole Maddox

This fawn is probably leucistic. If it were albino, its nose and eyes would most likely look more pink. Either way, any all-white whitetail is a sight to see in the wild.

32. Bobcat Bait

trail-camera photo of a bobcat
Courtesy of Michael Pitts (Georgia)

Bobcats almost never take down full-grown whitetails, but they can kills fawns and even the occasional yearling, as seems to be the case in this photo.

33. Dude!

trail-camera photo of turkey and coyote
Courtesy of Clede Spooner (New York)

The question is, did this hen just happen to be walking bye (Dude! Really?) or did this coyote really, really have to go?

34. Bucket Head

trail-camera photo of a deer with a bucket on its head
Courtesy of Kevin O’Dell (Kentucky)

Maybe he wanted something to catch acorns in.

35. Strike a Pose

wildest trail camera photos, buck
James Sprinkle

Hard to say exactly what is going on here. Either this buck knows how pretty he is and decided to strike a pose for the camera, or we caught him in the middle of his scrape dance.

36. Strength In Numbers

wildest trail camera photos, bobcat
Jerry Whittmer

Bobcats will target adult deer, especially small does, but this one apparently couldn’t be bothered with a whole parade of them.

37. Piggyback Ride?

wildest trail camera photo, piggyback fawn
Josh Honeycutt

This fawn was born so small, it had to ride on its mother’s back. Okay, not really. Of course, the fawn is in the distance and standing in just the right spot to create the illusion.

38. Up a Tree

wildest trail camera photos, fox
Josh Jewell

Maybe you knew that some foxes can climb trees. But have you ever seen one do it? Now you have, thanks to this trail-cam shot submitted by Josh Jewell.

39. C’mon, You Three

trail-camera photo of whitetail doe and three fawns
Josh Honeycutt

You don’t often see a whitetail doe with triplets. It’s even rarer to see one keep all three fawns alive for any length of time. But this one did.

40. Blondie Song Dog

trail-camera photo of color-phase coyote
Josh Honeycutt

Color-phase coyotes are also rare, especially one as blond as this.

41. Swing Low

trail-camera photo of whitetail deer with abnormal antler
Josh Honeycutt

Something is very wrong with this buck’s right antler. It must have been damaged during the growing process. I never saw the buck again after this photo.

42. Klingon Queen

trail-camera photo of whitetail doe
Josh Honeycutt

This old doe has the biggest Roman nose I’ve ever seen. She’s been on my farm for nearly 10 seasons, and I hope she made it through the most recent one.

43. Does Duke It Out

trail-camera photo of whitetail does fighting
Josh Honeycutt

Hooves are flying. These two does are working out who is the real matriarch of the group.

44. Unicorn Buck

trail-camera photo of a whitetail buck with one antler
Josh Honeycutt

This deer grew only half a rack. The other side remained a stub all season.

45. Four Against One

wildest trail camera photos, coyotes and buck
Matthew Wyckoff

Coyotes often hunt alone, but they do so in packs, too. In this shot sent in by Matthew Wyckoff, a young buck tries to fend off four coyotes.

46. Bobcat Bait, Revisited

wildest trail camera photos, bobcat prowl
Matt Jenkins

This trail-camera photo, submitted by Matt Jenkins, shows a bobcat stalking a whitetail doe at a bait pile. This was the final photo with both animals in the frame, so he’s not sure how it ended.

47. Spike the Punch Bowl

photo of whitetail deer and blue heron
Josh Honeycutt

Most people know not to pee where they drink, but this doe didn’t get the memo. The heron probably isn’t thrilled either.

48: Cat Vs. Dog

wildest trail camera photos, cat vs. dog

Bobcats and coyotes rarely fight. Each knows the other is a formidable foe. Here, it looks like they almost came to blows, though—and that the bobcat had the upper hand.

49. Climb On In

wildest trail camera photo, deer feeding
Steve Plylar

Seems like you just can’t teach manners to bucks these days. In this trail-cam shot from Steve Plylar, a buck is climbing up into a feed trough to grab a bite to eat. “Guess he likes putting all his hooves on the dinner table,” Plylar said.

50. Camera Thief

trail-camera photo of coyote stealing a trail camera
Courtesy of Sean McCrory (Missouri)

So, what do all these critters think of getting their pictures taken? This photo might be an answer. Either the coyote is very intelligent and doesn’t want hunters knowing it’s around. Or it’s very, very intelligent and wants a little payback.