Trail Camera Strategies for PSE Bowhunters with Glenn Eilers
Editor’s Note: When Glenn Eilers of Shelbyville, Kentucky, discovered PSE bows 8 years ago, he decided he’d found a bow that was made for him. He’s been able to use PSE bows to take some really nice whitetails.
I believe our trail camera strategy is one of the reasons we can keep up with our bucks so well, and determine how, where and when to take these bucks. We put out 40 trail cameras on both pieces of property that we hunt at the first of July to inventory our deer herd and to try and determine which bucks may be potential shooters. As the bucks’ antlers grow, we can tell if they’re expressing the genetic characteristics of the bucks we photographed the previous year. Then we can tell if the bucks we passed up last year still will be available for harvest this year. We’re trying to cover about 4,000 acres and not only determine what bucks we’ll have to hunt at the opening of bow season, but also where these bucks are traveling. Once we find four or five really good bucks that we want to hunt, then we may take down a lot of the other trail cameras we have out. If we’ve located the bucks that we want to harvest at the first of bow season, we may remove our cameras out of the woods and not put them back up until about 2 weeks before bow season arrives.
One of the reasons we don’t have to leave our trail cameras out the entire months of July and August is because we have quite a few food plots planted. Generally the deer will be hidden in the food plots. Once they establish trails going to and from the food, they’re happy, and they’re usually not going to change their routes of travel. When we go in 2 weeks before the season to put our trail cameras out again, we’re also picking the trees where we’ll hang our tree stands and determining the wind direction we must have to have to hunt from that stand. We’ve learned from our camera surveys that some of the bucks are super stars. For whatever reason, they love to be in front of the camera. Other bucks are much more shy. You’ll never get them right in front of the camera, but you’ll see them on the outer edges of the pictures.
Another important ingredient that we believe helps us to be successful growing and holding big bucks is that we don’t hunt our property during gun season. This way, we’re creating a sanctuary for older bucks from surrounding lands, where they’ll have plenty of food and little hunter disturbance. This tactic usually pays off best in the late season, after the gun season has ended in both Kentucky and Indiana. We allow the gun hunters to drive the older age class deer onto our property during gun season, and we’ll have an opportunity to take those bucks after gun season is over. When we go into the woods, we’re either checking our trail cameras or attempting to take bucks with our bows.