Tips & Tactics

Trail Cam Tip for Streetwise Bucks

Trail Cam Tip for Streetwise Bucks

By James Howell

Photo: This tactic helps you decide if a change in treestand sites is in order once mature bucks seem to vanish.

Placing trail cameras to overlook a pile of corn or some type of feeder is probably the most common method of buck surveillance used by whitetail hunters.

While you can have success capturing images of bucks in your area in the summer, pre-season and off-season, their habits change quickly once hunting season begins.

Mature bucks become streetwise after guns start sounding and hunters begin invading the woods, so they will only show up at food plots and feeders late at night, or not at all.

When the old boys on my trail cams refused to show up at my feeder and food plot during daylight hours, I knew they should still be around, but where?

Were they chasing does in the next county? Were they dead already? Were they simply afraid to step in front of the feeder? Did I need to change my hit list?

I was curious about all these things and had to find out, so I began to map out the bucks’ paths between my feeders and their bedding areas.

Using their tracks and examining trails leading to my food plots and feeders, I scouted deeper inside the woods and placed my trail cameras in places the bucks had to walk by.

I found doing this right after a rain made it easier to see the tracks and determine mature buck prints from does and small bucks.

When I checked my trail cams, what I found amazed me!

The bucks were there all right, but they were staying out of sight and hanging back in the woods until well after dark, while the does and immature bucks were walking right up to the feeder.

This called for a change in tactics by placing a portable stand deeper into the woods overlooking the trails where my trail cams were turning up daytime pictures.

This tip has helped me ambush some nice ones, and I hope it’ll help you start finding your streetwise bucks, too.

By the way, Buckmasters recently ran a Tip of the Week about hanging trail cameras high on public land and places where they might get stolen.

I haven’t tried this hang ’em high tactic yet, but I have a place in mind. Thanks for your helpful tips!

Editor’s Note: If you have a unique or special tip you’d like to share with Buckmasters fans, please email it to and, if chosen, we will send you a cap signed by Jackie Bushman, along with a knife!

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd