Video: 3 Top Spots for Public Land Trail Cams

Public land whitetail hunters must think differently than their private land counterparts when it comes to capturing decent images of bucks — and avoiding trail cam theft and vandalism.

Video: 3 Top Spots for Public Land Trail Cams

Summer is a great time to place trail cams in preparation for the upcoming whitetail season. While it’s true that some of the bucks you see on camera will relocate come fall due to changes in food sources, many homebodies will stay put.

Hunters with access to private land often place trail cams on food plots, mineral licks, bait piles and artificial watering holes, but public land hunters in most states can’t use any type of attractant to lure deer in front of their cameras. In the 5-minute YouTube video below, Brian Grossman from the National Deer Association explains three top spots for placing trail cams on public land.

Grossman does an excellent job explaining the “why” behind each of his three choices. And I agree 100 percent with his picks. The only additional advice I think worth noting is a bit more of the “how” behind getting decent pics and avoiding theft or vandalism in the woods. Keep these three how-to tips in mind the next time you hang a cam on public land.

  • If you watch the video closely, you’ll notice Grossman has a climbing stick in his right hand. The reason is one of the best ways to avoid your trail cam being seen (and maybe stolen or vandalized) is by hanging the camera high on a tree. How high? Of course, it depends. On relatively flat ground around a mock scrape, I prefer to place a cam at about 10 feet. Another deer hunter who is out scouting/hiking probably won’t have climbing sticks with them during the summer, so your cam should be safe. If your camera mounting system doesn’t allow for tilting the camera toward the mock scrape, look for a slanting tree.
  • Just as high elevation can help you hide a camera from other deer hunters, you can place one almost in contact with the ground in hilly terrain to obtain top-notch pics. For example, Grossman talks about capturing images where a drainage ditch ends near the top of a high ridge. In this scenario, I’ve had good results placing a camera only an inch or two off the ground above the deer trail wrapping around a ditch. The cam is 5-7 yards from the deer trail, pointed down a steep hill. Hiding a camera that’s positioned low to the ground is easy by placing a bit of screening cover around the camera housing; just be sure the area around the lens is clear.
  • Whenever possible, aim your camera away from the rising or setting sun to avoid camera glare. This isn’t a huge problem in a forested setting on public land with trees covered in leaves, but everything changes after the leaves drop during autumn. In general, aiming a camera north works well in most scenarios to avoid lens glare.


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