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How To Use Trail Cameras to Hunt Deer

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Craig Doherty and his son Neil Doherty have spent the last ten years taking pictures to get big bucks. But they’re not professional photographers. Instead, these intrepid hunters have mastered the art of trail-camera placement in order to make the most out of every deer hunting season. With the proper placement and positioning of trail cameras, say the Dohertys, they can begin to recognize patterns of local bucks, and they’re able to identify each individual creature and decide which animal they’ll pursue.

In a recent article for Outdoor Life, Craig Doherty offers invaluable tips for setting up your own network of trail cameras: How many cameras you need, where to position them, how to frame your picture, even which direction to point the camera. After that, Doherty walks you through the process of “taking inventory,” going through your photos and preparing your hunt based on the intelligence gained from your automated scouting. This is when Doherty begins to recognize the four-legged players in this drama.

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If we can pattern a specific buck, our chances of taking him are a whole lot better. Hopefully we can catch him a couple of times on different cameras. The more times you photograph a deer, the easier he will be to pattern. If we are lucky enough to catch him a time or two, we mark him on an aerial photo or topo map and make some notes to document the event.

If you move a few cameras around and you begin to catch the buck more often, you’re likely closer to his core area. If you move cameras around and don’t catch him at all, that tells you you’re likely moving away from his core area. Plot all sightings and look for a travel pattern or at least an area where he seems to be spending time.

Photos: Outdoor Life