By Bud Utecht
With the camera set to video, I was able to watch him thrashing the branch above him and paw at the scrape. Now I was pretty thrilled that he had been there and it was boosting my long- gone confidence in this spot.
I have read a few articles recently, even some in this fine paper, that tell me game cameras are not going to get you your deer. While I do agree that it is unlikely you will pattern a buck during Maine’s deer season, there are ways to increase your odds using cameras.
My buck story starts this time of year, believe it or not. I stumbled onto a spot that had been dug up and wanted to know what had done it. I was betting it was bear, but I love surprises. So back I came several weeks later only to see it was a doe, yep a doe. Not only did she stop by but urinated in it. That got me thinking about another spot that was similar and needed a camera, presto it had a camera. Both sites had does visiting and occasionally urinating in the scrape. They would come to the spot even with their spotted offspring tagging along.
As the summer was winding down and the bucks started shedding their velvet the young ones started showing up on these cameras. Small yearling bucks would be trailing the doe a couple hours behind her. At one of the locations two young bucks sparred for a while. One of the spots was not really conducive for a hunt, but the other was perfect. I packed up a tree stand and placed it overlooking the camera and waited for the start of the season.
The Monday after the start of the season I was in the stand and was treated to a doe and her young coming to hang out for a bit. She did not go to the scrape and just meandered around then left. The next chance I had to hunt was the next Friday. First thing I did was check the camera, nothing. I sat in the stand wondering if I had made a big mistake with this spot. I do that anyways but with no pictures I didn’t really know what to do. I put a scent dripper on the scrape and left the stand. The next morning I was back before daylight. I added some scent to the scrape and even in the dark I could see that something had been working that scrape. I went back to the stand and waited. Now I did one thing that was driving me crazy while I sat there, I hadn’t pulled the camera card to see who had visited. There it was right in front of me and I couldn’t go back down there.
I waited forever and just couldn’t stand it anymore .I had to see what had freshened the scrape. I made it to 8:30 a.m. You understand what I was going through. I pulled the card, just as expected there was a great big buck just putting on a show. With the camera set to video, I was able to watch him thrashing the branch above him and paw at the scrape. Now I was pretty thrilled that he had been there and it was boosting my long- gone confidence in this spot. I put the card back in, turned on the camera, picked up my rifle and looked up. Here here he comes! I saw him at 60 yards and pulled the trigger at 30, he made it another 30 and went down.
Without seeing him go down caution was paramount, taking time to watch the trail and look out in front to ensure he wasn’t sneaking away. He wasn’t far, just far enough to get into a pretty nasty thicket so I couldn’t see his rack until I was on top of him. Eleven points and a long drag ahead. I decided to get the ATV. On the way out I remembered the video so I stopped to watch my buck in action, only to realize that this was two different bucks and either one was a keeper.
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