By Ward Hegeler | Long Beach, Miss.

BobcatsPeople wonder why would anyone want to use a trail camera for predators? It's not like a deer or other antlered animals where you are trying to determine size of the rack or age of the animal. While that might be true, I use trail cameras for predators for other reasons.

Predators can range in size and sometimes color. I know a lot of Eastern states that have coyotes ranging in color from traditional brown to jet black and everything in between. For those with predator check lists (such as myself), setting up trail cameras in multiple areas will give you a good idea of what kind of fur is around. Personally, I'm still waiting to catch that jet-black dog in my cross hairs. It applies to fox for areas with both the reds and grays. Target ID is another good reason to put up trail cameras. They are clearly canine or feline tracks, but for those of us who aren't Jeremiah Johnson and might mistake a coyote track for a domestic dog or a bobcat track for a big domestic cat, or in other parts of the country a coyote track for a juvenile wolf track, etc., the camera helps solve the mystery.

Cameras can also show you what prey animals live in the area, which can help you better determine which prey-distress sounds might work best. You can also pattern predators, see what time they are moving at night or during the day, average out the time and make that your target time to set up on stand. With predator camera consistency you will even know where to set up. If legal in your area and you chose to set up a camera on a large kill or bait you will know what time they are usually coming out to feed and what kind of predator is feeding.

I've lived in some pretty dry and rocky areas where tracks are hard to come by. The best and sometimes only way is to find what has been lurking around is checking sign by a water source. To save a lot of time just set up a trail camera. These are just a few reasons why I use trail cameras for predators.

Coyote Stream

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