Wildlife attractants and food plots make it easier than ever to get pictures of wildlife. These methods are great for providing a high number of pictures because deer will be concentrated and spend more time in these areas. There are more “traditional” spots to hang a camera that don’t involve any planting or disrupting natural deer movement. These spots may be slightly harder to find but provide an excellent opportunity to get pictures. Outlined below are three hotspots for whitetail that hunters continually overlook during pre-season scouting and camera placement.
From standing water to river crossings, water plays a key role in the habits of every whitetail. If you are in an area that has few available water sources, using aerial photography or mapping software to locate small ponds and creeks can drastically cut down on search time. Placing a camera on the edge of a water source will provide countless pictures during the summer and early fall when daytime temperatures are high.
Tip: If you have multiple available water sources, consider where deer typically feed in your area. Is there a large agricultural field nearby? Is there a large oak flat on your property? Try to connect the dots between bed and feed and look for water that is near or in-between those areas.
The time of year and weather will impact natural forage crops. In the early season, apple and pecan trees should be high-priority areas. As the leaves fall and the weather turns cooler, oak trees and oak flats are prime hotspots for game cameras.
Tip: Learning to identify oak, apple, chestnut, and pecan trees by bark and leaf shape will help you find these trees.
Funnels and Pinch-Points
You have two options to find prime funnels and pinch-points: an aerial map or by walking the property. Aerial maps are the easiest way to locate funnels because you are able to see the “big picture,” which is difficult to imagine by walking the property. Using a map is a great starting point but nothing beats putting your boots to the ground and walking the funnels that you identified through your map research.
Look for large areas or sections of land that condense down to a point or smaller area. Field edges, creek bottoms, thickets, and the like are areas you should be targeting.
Tip: The smaller the pinch-point or funnel the better. Depending on the effective range of your camera, if the funnel is too large you have the possibility of missing pictures. These “ideal funnels” are very hard to find. Normally, you will find a funnel that condenses a large tract of land or thicket down to a hundred yards or more. In those cases, find an intersection of major trails leading out of the funnel and place your camera.
Not only do these areas provide excellent opportunities for pictures, you are able to pattern whitetails based on their natural travel routes and feeding patterns. By using funnels, water, and natural food sources you can be more confident that deer naturally frequent or use an area. This will provide you with more consistent pictures and hunting opportunities when the season rolls around.
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