By Alex Comstock
Yesterday was a special day for me. I went in to check a few trail cameras on my best property with hopes of finding my number one buck from last year whom I call "Kobe". I wanted to give these cameras at least a month before checking them, as I didn't get them out until July 15th. I'm aiming to be very sensitive on this certain property, and just wanted to confirm that Kobe was back. But with the conditions yesterday being ideal to check trail cameras in a delicate area, I opted to take advantage of them, and boy am I glad I did.
The Right Conditions
When I put a trail camera in a sensitive area in the summer, I only want to check it with ideal conditions. I want the right wind so I don't alert any bedded deer of my presence, but one thing that I also like is rain. Rain gives you the ability to get into an area without leaving as much ground scent. What this does, is it gives you a chance to get in and out, swap an SD card, and not put hardly as much pressure on deer. This is particularly effective if you've got a mature buck on your radar that you don't want to alert.
My Situation, and How it Can Apply to You
In this particular piece of property that I referenced in the opening, I had a buck that I hunted last year named Kobe. He was towards the top of my hit list, and after a couple bucks were shot by neighboring hunters, he rose to the top. Between me and Tyler, we had three encounters with him, but weren't able to get it done. He summered in my area, lived there in the fall, and his sheds were even found by a neighbor. So I figured he had the same core area year round for the most part. Leading into this year, he was all I could think about.
This summer, I knew I wanted to figure out if Kobe was still around, but I wanted to do it in the least intrusive way possible. Knowing that there was a good chance he could be living in the same area as last year, I waited until the middle of July to get out trail cams, given the fact that if I did any earlier, I knew I would be tempted to check cameras more often than I should.
I figured the best way to handle this situation was to only check the trail cameras with the greatest conditions possible, and then if I had pictures of Kobe, I would stay out until hunting season, and if I didn't, I would re-evaluate the situation. And that brings me to yesterday.
I originally wasn't going to go check cameras on this property until next week, but when I got off work and looked outside, I saw that it was absolutely pouring rain. I about ran to my vehicle, raced home, grabbed a few SD cards, my hip waiters, and headed out to go check the cards.
After checking the cards, and getting pictures of Kobe, I knew I wouldn't be going back until I was sitting in a stand. There's no point, as all I wanted to do was confirm he was alive and well. I'm also not worried about him coming by where I walked and spooking from my ground scent due to the rain. It may seem over the top, but when it comes to a buck like this, I don't want to take any chances. Going out there in the pouring rain might not be the most enjoyable, but it could pay off down the road.
When it comes to you, and when you check your trail cameras, you don't have to wait for it to be a rainy day to check your cams all of the time, that simply wouldn't be very realistic. Most of my trail cameras are on the edges of fields, or in easy to access areas that won't cause much disturbance. But if you've got a trail camera back in the timber, and are worried about being able to check it without "messing anything up", check the weather forecast, and try and line up a day to check that camera with a day full of precipitation. If it's not raining while you're out there, the next best thing is for it to rain shortly after to "wash away" your scent. It may make a difference.
When it comes to chasing mature bucks, I try to put every little thing that I can in my favor. Stacking the odds if you will. This is just one more little thing that I try to do to help myself out. It may not make that big of a difference, but in the same breath I can confidently say that it could be a difference in whether or not I end up sending an arrow through a certain buck.