WildGuarder Hunting Strategy: 5 Useful Pre-Rut Trail Camera Tactics
Pre-rut is the last few weeks before the primary rut. In this specific time, the bucks begin to rub or scrape. Moreover, they search for the first cycling as well. It is the best time to tag a trophy for them.
This is also called the “chasing phase” when the bucks travel with, tend or chase estrous does. Hunting during the pre-rut can make a major difference. So, let us have a quick look at the useful pre-rut trail camera tactics.
Right now the big question is “when is the does going to come into estrus and when will the bucks start actively pursuing them”? I wish I had the answers. Honestly, there are too many variables involved to spew out a definitive response. However, what I can tell you is that if you get aggressive with your trail camera placement you just might find the answers for yourself. Here are some trail camera tactics to consider when using your trail camera to hunt down a pre-rut buck.
Learn To Be Mobile
Forget about your preconceived plans because they are on the fringe of being thrown out of the window. Bucks are starting to move during times they weren’t previously moving and showing up in places they weren’t previously showing up in. But that’s a good thing. The only problem is when we hold onto our slow, early-season way of thinking. Right now the bucks have something else on their minds other than food and that is causing them to move more. You should be ready to move too.
Don’t be afraid to move your trail camera wherever the sign takes you. Be mobile.
Move your trail cameras to find those scrapes that are actually being used more than once. Move your cameras to find those rub lines that are being used by the size of the buck that makes your heart pound. Then move your stand accordingly. Move, move, move.
Check the Trail Camera Frequently
If you visit the trail cameras sparingly, it will be good for you. A buck’s daylight activity increases with the rise of testosterone levels in his body. To watch over its transformational change and know the exact time of the beginning, check it with your trail cameras. You do not need to check it every day. However, it will be better if you increase the frequency of checking them (maybe twice a week).
It will give you an idea of the starting of a buck’s activity and let you decide the most appropriate time of spending a few vacation days. Nevertheless, you must follow some general rules. If you make a mistake, the cost will be high. You can observe them with your camera but do not try to seek attention. Be careful!
You must guess by now that whatever you do, it will leave some impact on the hunting zone. Nevertheless, the negativity or positivity of impact depends on the effort to fly below the whitetail radar.
For example, the time of checking with your camera and the odor you are leaving behind will determine the resulting impact.
If you go to check trail cameras right after the first lite or prior to the sunset, it will cause the deer to leave the place. Therefore, it is better to go anytime except these periods if possible.
I cannot guarantee you of coming across one or two deer, but it is good to replace SD cards throughout midday hours. Remember that, when you are near to the pre-rut phase, you can see a buck anytime within a day.
Create Your Own Pre Rut Hotspots
The pre-rut is the perfect time to doctor existing scrapes and rubs or simply make your own. By introducing an “intruder” into the area other bucks might be more apt to visit a scrape or rub that they had previously made during daylight hours. Still, no matter what type of scrape you are monitoring, just be sure not to place your trail camera right on top of it. By moving your camera back just a little bit you give the buck room to do his thing without noticing your camera hanging nearby.
A good option is to set your camera up so that you can monitor trails running into or out of the area. That way you can better understand the direction the buck is coming from or the direction he is going. Both can lead to more clues about his behavior and ultimately the right place to hang your treestand.
Never Forget about the Does
Bucks want a hot doe the most in the pre-rut time. Nevertheless, it is easy to forget it during that time as they leave additional evidence of their location than any time of a year.
It is a decent tactic to use the evidence and hanging tree stands to watch over the buck’s activities. However, you have to be patient and focus on the bigger picture. A buck will grab a hot hoe anyway irrespective of the place of scraping or rubbing.
If you know the area they prefer to bed, travel, and feed, it can lead to a filled tag, especially if the buck can bunk you to this area.
You may take the initiative of including a doe to monitor in your pre-rut pre-rut trail camera tactics. If you hang your camera on a hot scrape or rub line, it might not be so good.
Whatever the fact is, the bucks will ultimately find you. But, you also need to know what the doe is doing in the area. So, utilizing the trailing camera to collect information would be the best option.
Trail Camera Options
In a perfect world, all of my cameras would be cellular so that I could check them from the comfort of my home. If your area has good cell phone reception then this might be an option to seriously consider. If not, you have to do it the old fashion way.
Also, when dealing with mature bucks I opt for the “no-flash” style cameras. Until it is proven that a white flash doesn’t speak deer I will stick with no flash at all. Why take the chance of spooking the buck of your life when most “no-flash” cameras are reasonably priced and are increasingly becoming the norm.
Give the deer in your area room to move without disturbing them and you will gather more and better info. This buck’s broken antler suggests that fighting has begun among the younger age-class bucks.
Setting cameras up a little further back from trails or even elevating them are both good options. Bucks are starting to become more aggressive and showing themselves during daylight more often. This only means that their sense of awareness is heightened. With that comes a nose and eyes that will sense every little change in their environment. As if they weren’t already. So, plan and operate accordingly.
The pre-rut is a great time to locate that buck that has been a ghost all year and put a bullet or an arrow in him. Trail cameras can help you do that. But only if you are cautious about where you place them when you check them and the scent you leave behind. Concentrate on those three areas and you could very well be reaping the reward in a few short weeks. Best of luck.
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