Trail camera surveys can serve a couple of purposes. There are scientific surveys that break down your buck-to-doe ration and then there are surveys that focus mainly on bucks to see who is walking around the woods just before season starts. This is really important on property where you are targeting mature bucks. Either way, catching as many deer on camera is the goal and using some kind of attractant is the best way of bringing the deer in. Extreme Hunting Solutions have a few products that we’ve been using at Borrowed Acres this season.
Corn is a great attractant when trying to see what deer are on your property. Sometimes it can take deer a few days to find the corn and start feeding on it regularly. This year I’ve been mixing in an extremely sweet-smelling product called Kandy Korn. Kandy Korn is a concentrate mix of corn and other grains as well as vitamins and chelated minerals. You mix a 6-pound bag of Kandy Korn with 300 pounds of regular or cracked corn. One bag goes a long way, especially if you have multiple camera sites. While this is a great product to feed to your deer herd year-round because of the vitamins and minerals, its sweet smell really draws them into a new survey site fast.
If you’re like me, and can’t make it to your hunting property as much as you like, then keeping corn on the ground consistently for your survey can become a problem. That’s why I’ve placed Stick-N-Lick Deer Pops at each of our camera bait sites. Even if the corn runs out for a couple of days before I can get back to replenish it, I still keep deer walking in front of the camera with this easy attractant. The Deer Pop is made with apple, hard-cooked molasses and whole corn and the sweet smell travels a long way. Trust me, you have to wash your hands after handling one of these — they’re sticky! With a built in weather shield, these pops will last for months, too.
Another hot place to get pictures of deer on your property is at a mineral site. Deer will use these all summer long as well as into the fall and winter (be sure to check game laws on mineral site where you hunt). Spring and summer is when you see a lot of activity around mineral sites though. The sodium in the minerals aids in digestion and deer seek it out. This spring I replenished all of our mineral sites with Big Buck Mineral formula, which gives your deer the vitamins and minerals they need during the summer months, but is also highly attractive to them. It’s best to start these mineral licks in the early spring and keep them maintained through the summer. Then in August, place a trail cam over these sites to see what deer are in the area. To target mature bucks, place the mineral site close to cover and water.
The last product that I’ve been using in our surveys this summer is the Wedge. This simple device allows you to easily point your camera exactly where you want it. I’ve spend countless time rummaging around the woods trying to find the perfect-sized twig to jam behind my cameras because they are on a slightly leaning tree. While this method works, it’s not precise and it’s no fun. The Wedge is a small plastic wedge with small teeth on the back for gripping into the tree. Simply slide one to two of them under your camera (top/bottom or either side) to the desired depth and tighten the camera strap — perfect alignment every time.
Plan ahead next time you want to take inventory of the deer on your hunting land. With some strategically placed bait or mineral sites, you can get a good idea of the bucks and does you want to target this season.