Trail cams offer collateral ‘peepshow’

The peepshow that trail cams provide can be entertaining as well as educational, such as this photo of two does pawing in a display of dominance.

While the focus of trail cams is hopefully on deer, hunters often find other critters on the images. This can be fun and even beneficial, since full-scale comprehensive game management of any given hunting property has to encompass the full spectrum of wildlife species. This means also understanding and appreciating the impact these other animals have on the deer population.

Trail cameras will inevitably catch a whole host of wildlife species, both animals and birds, especially if you are placing trail cameras to spy on or nearby wildlife feeders, mineral blocks, or any variety of deer feeding-cubes. Wildlife feeding sites will attract plenty of wildlife besides deer.

Classic examples include predators such at the wily coyote. These woodland dogs have been shown to negatively impact the local deer numbers by preying on fawns and other weak deer. If you cameras are catching what seems to be way too many coyotes at all times of the day or night, then you might want to look at a coyote hunting campaign, particularly in the off season. The same goes for fox or even bobcats, but these are not usually in high enough numbers enough to adversely affect deer herd populations.

Game cameras will photograph anything that ventures into range close enough to trip the camera’s lens.

Expect to see wild turkeys gathering about.

If you have a feeder going, then you know you’ll see raccoons conniving a way to pry off the canister lid or grabbing feed out of the spin wheel. You certainly don’t want adverse numbers of food grabbers depleting your expensive wildlife feed resources. Squirrels may do the same thing. In the extreme this could mean instituting a trapping and relocation program.

It can be interesting and curious to also see photos of different wildlife species interacting with each other. My cameras have caught deer and turkeys in the same plot many times, but never a coyote secretly spying on deer from cover though I know it happens.

Hunters need to inspect their camera shots closely. As the rut approaches or heats up, some photos may offer an indication of this. Are bucks nuzzling up to does? Are there jealous postures showing between different bucks?

Ultimately the thrill of working trail cameras is to see the results they yield. It could be the buck to go after, or even several bucks. The time record feature could indicate a repeated gathering hour for does. Don’t be disappointed either if a big buck shows up on your trail cam, yet you never see him during legal shooting hours.

Hey, that is part of the trail camera peepshow, too.

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