Wouldn't it be great to see visual evidence of the bucks roaming your hunting property? How about seeing a collection of does that gather in prime feeding areas, the overall sex ratio diversity of the herd, or just the sheer numbers of deer in a specific area? What about seeing what shows up on a well-worn trail or over a fresh rub or scrape?

Today, this is easily enough done, and it really isn't new news or even breakthrough technology.

Trail cameras have gotten extremely sophisticated, with features including the capability to capture live video in addition to recording still photographs of deer and other wildlife. Highly advanced electronics can even transmit wireless current video to an external computer location for 24-7 viewing.

Even so, having all this technology does not automatically ensure the product photography or video is going to be of high quality. Much of the value of the information a trail camera collects depends on the user's understanding of the technology and how to apply it to deer management practices.

The quality is also highly dependent on knowing how the camera functions, with its multitude of settings, and installing it properly in the woods in a good spot likely to capture frequent wildlife movements.

But why bother?

If I have heard that one time from a deer hunter, I have heard it a hundred times. It's the same guys that won't buy a subscription to an outdoors magazine like Mississippi Sportsman or pay $8 to get into the annual Mississippi Wildlife Federation's Extravaganza to listen to a national deer hunting or whitetail management expert give a seminar.

Some people you just can't help, because they already know it all.

"I put out trail cameras for a multitude of reasons, but naturally I want to see photos of the actual deer - especially bucks - that are standing on my hunting property," said Dr. Brad Carr of his Holmes County hunting property. "Sure, I finally came to the realization after several seasons that some of those nice-racked bucks were just passing through one time or are perpetually nocturnal, and I will never spot them during daylight hunting hours.

"But, then, I just might."

That "might" keeps the hunters coming back and the cameras running.

Deer camera data can tell hunters and landowners a lot of information that can be used to improve hunting chances and enhance whitetail management strategies.

Quality photos can show you the deer at a precise moment, day or night - so you have the when and where. If, for example, a buck shows up at a specific camera site consistently, then that area might be a place to post a stand.

Cam photos also can show how many deer are using a food plot and the composition of the group. How many does, sizes, and ages are gathering there? What are the profiles of any bucks photographed? Are there any mature bucks, or are they all small racks or spikes? Is there any evidence of rutting behavior?

Carr said he focuses his game cams on travel corridors.

"I like to put trail cameras on trails," said Carr. "Yeah, I know - what a novel idea. But these camera placements always seem to yield more buck photos.

"If I happen to find a trail coming out of shallow water or with a nearby rub, then I post a camera there. This tells me what directions the deer are moving and, by noting the time of day or night, I can ascertain if they were coming to or from bedding or feeding areas."

Once it's time to actually put the information into practice, it's more important to hunt the area, not right over the camera. Find the bedding and feeding areas to and from the active trails. Study the majority of the tracks to know the dominant direction of travel. This will assist with deciding on a place to set up an ambush.

Keep a running journal or a deer cam photo album for the entire season. Look for patterns of the same bucks showing up matched to times of day especially if it's during daylight hours. Inspect the photos attempting to size up the deer's overall health and condition. A healthy herd means normal rutting activity and reproductive potential.

Trail cameras are the latest technology that can help average deer hunters learn more about the deer they hunt. Even so, it takes more forethought than just strapping a camera to any ole tree out in the woods.

Plan smart and monitor consistently but carefully, and you'll likely be pleasantly surprised at the results you can obtain.