Trying to bag a big buck during the rut this year? Here’s how trail cameras can help you.
Trail cameras area a major player when it comes to using them to help pattern, and harvest big mature bucks. They give you an advantage you otherwise would have never had. But can they help you during the rut when bucks are running crazy? They sure can, and here’s how.
1. Annual Patterns
Did you get trail camera pictures of a buck you’d want to harvest during the rut last year? Maybe you got pictures of him for a week, and then he disappeared and you never saw him again. Completely random, right?
Not quite. More and more evidence is showing that bucks move within some type of annual pattern. Think of it logically; how many times have you seen a buck somewhere, and then the next year, you see him in the same area? The same goes for the rut. If you got pictures of a buck cruising through a funnel last year at this time, there are good odds he’ll be in the same area this year at that time.
2. Most Recent Information
Staying up to date on what bucks are doing during the rut can help you put the pieces together to ultimately harvest a certain buck. If you have trail cameras up over scrapes, in funnels, at pinch points, etc., you can get a good idea of what bucks are doing right now and then use that information to make a play on a buck.
Example: You know of a doe bedding area where you’ve got a stand set up. Based on trail camera pictures, the buck you are after has been hitting a scrape regularly. Yesterday, you went in and pulled the card, and poof, the buck hasn’t touched the scrape in a week. Odds are, he’s on a doe, or trying to get with one. This would be a good time to go sit on the downwind side of that doe bedding area to attempt to catch him looking for that hot doe.
3. Buck Inventory
By running trail cameras all fall, you get an idea of which bucks are on your hunting property. You can use that information to decide which bucks you might want to shoot. During the rut, there is a good chance new bucks will show up on your camera from neighboring properties, and this time of the year is the only time you’ll have a chance at one of them. By having those trail cameras out, you will know when he’s around and when you can set your sights on him, realistically.
If you use trail cameras, don’t forget about them during the rut. You don’t always have to hunt where your trail cameras are, but they give you important pieces of the puzzle. If you can put the rest of the pieces together, you just might be able to tag a big mature buck this month.