Yeti

Are trailcams making hunters lazy and less skilled?

BuffaloRCody

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So, I write a hunting blog from time to time. I was thinking of writing an article about trailcams and if they are making hunters less skilled and ultimately more lazy when it come to scouting and finding game. I imagine this will "rile" some folks up. Any thought on the subject?
 

James Riley

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So, I write a hunting blog from time to time. I was thinking of writing an article about trailcams and if they are making hunters less skilled and ultimately more lazy when it come to scouting and finding game. I imagine this will "rile" some folks up. Any thought on the subject?

It's all in the definitions, I reckon. When the first man picked up a club or a rock he started an argument about this. Knife, clothing, trap, spear, atlatl, bow, rifle, scope, range finder, scent-blocker, etc. ad infinitem. We could use F-16s if we let ourselves.

So, working back in the other direction, becoming one with the prey, allowing them to chisel us as we chisel them; that, to me, is hunting. And it makes you more skilled at hunting and less lazy at hunting. When you quit chiseling the prey, you quit hunting.

In this light, a mountain lion is more skilled and less lazy at hunting.

It's been a billion year dance but our partners can no longer learn from us. They just die. I suppose we might be helping to evolve a deer species that can survive with us. But they are not prey. They are the one's living in town eating the azaleas. The lady who screams at them is not a hunter.
 

Tufrthnails

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Personally I am in the woods way more now that I run cams and I am covering a whole lot more ground scouting. I don't have to search every last inch of an area in the off season. Run in hit the targets looking for bedding find some good terrain features IE funnel food throw a cam up in a tree and let it soak. Of course this is for the elusive Florida "Swampdonkey" Whitetail you guys out west might be getting lazier LOL:cool:! Only joking your hill country would smoke me with a quickness.
 

sbhooper

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I guess that it is all in the perspective. I have only every used one and it was a poor one. They are a good tool, though. I put them in the same box as the fancy sonar that fishermen use. Also, the gps that everyone uses is in that class. You can argue pro or con all day long, but they are not going away.

Technology is a great thing, but it does tend to take away the outdoor skills to a certain degree.
 

Tufrthnails

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I guess that it is all in the perspective. I have only every used one and it was a poor one. They are a good tool, though. I put them in the same box as the fancy sonar that fishermen use. Also, the gps that everyone uses is in that class. You can argue pro or con all day long, but they are not going away.

Technology is a great thing, but it does tend to take away the outdoor skills to a certain degree.

I agree they have pros and cons, but I view the GPS way more harshly then I do trail cameras. Don't get me wrong I have one and use it religiously, but I also never leave home with out a compass and general map if I am going anywhere of any size. My gps in my truck has ruined me. I can't hardly drive to my brothers house on the coast without it and I have been there a bunch. But trail cams most of the guys I know personally running them are on private and have already scouted the heck out of the place and just run cams for inventory they don't run them on public because they are afraid of them getting stolen and rightly so because they don't hunt 200 yards from the road on public. I've never had a cam looked at since I started hanging them high.
 

maxx

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I can only speak of whitetails. I think trailcams have made people more picky. You are not going to shoot a 150" buck when you know a 180" is actually running around. I sometimes think the hardest part about killing a large whitetail is hunting a place that has a large whitetail. I know that isn't true always but I do know for a fact that you cannot kill a 200" deer if you are not hunting where there is a 200" deer. I don't think a 200" 5-6 year old deer is any smarter than a 130" 5-6 year old deer he just has bigger antlers.
 

TimeOnTarget

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I've been running trail cams for awhile now. No, they don't make me lazier. The opposite I think. I use them more for inventory purposes and to identify a individual deer. When I have those 160"+ deer on cam over and over, I spend every second I have on stand.

Perfect example is last year, I had a 165ish buck on cam that had a couple very distinct points on his left side. I saw a buck coming through some thick brush and I got the binos on him. I never got to see his entire rack but I did see those distinct points. I immediately knew who it was. My opening for the shot was small and I never saw his entire rack before I let the arrow fly. I got a great buck because I was able to identify him from those 2 distinct points.
 
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Lazier, I don't really think so. I have walked and driven a lot of extra miles dealing with trail cameras, when I might have just gone in and hunted a left instead of walking a 2 mile loop to pull cards and check the cameras.

I honestly have zero positive or negative impression of them, but I definitely recognize how important they are for whitetail hunters and guys who are farming deer in a sense. I think they have the benefit of engaging people year round in their hunting and a lot of cool pictures have come because of them. Ironically this is first year in a long time that I'm not running a pile of cameras during the summer, but that has more to do with my general lack of interest in whitetail hunting anymore. I don't miss driving 2 hours to find out my hunting buddy set them in a horrible way and I have 3,000 pictures of grass moving back and forth. Me personally, I've only had one hunt where camera pictures clued me into when and where to setup and the rest have been much more a game of buying SD cards and AA batteries to get off hour pictures.
 

noharleyyet

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Sorta go in fits and starts with em. Drought and urban sprawl has taken it's toll on mature buck sightings at our little patch of leased habitat so the motivation for surreptitious scouting isn't what it's been in the past. I can also vouch for the difficulty of patterning hogs with time stamped pics. IMO, trail cams in our part of the country, sate curiosity....
 

el unit

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I'll hike about 3-5 miles every other day this time of year checking trail cameras at 6200 ft elevation. It's a great way to get in shape for the fall. Plus, I've been fortunate to pick up some great elk, deer, bear, moose, wolf, and Mtn lion pics over the past 6 months. And nothing gets me more excited and amped-up for chasing elk and deer like daily photo updates from the woods that surround our place ��
Once September rolls around, it's then 5-7 miles hiking every single day until tags are filled. Thankfully, our tags are usually notched before the mid-October rifle season starts.
Game cameras have helped me get in the best shape before the season starts. Definitely not a lazy man's tool around here!
 

Bambistew

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IMO, i put trail cams up there with airial spotting. Takes the hunt out of the "hunt." Many animals are found that otherwise would have never been. They take the place of hours upon hours of sitting, scouting and acual hunting... all for bragging rights. I guess it gives guys a reason to come up with some lame moniker or a "hit list" for an animal they're "tracking."
 

TheTone

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I put one out for the first time last year on an elk wallow. It didn't change the way I hunt in any way. Had way more elk pictures than I expected and actually made me feel kinda bad about my elk hunting skills as I didn't see even a sliver of the elk that were on the cam while hunting in the nearby areas. I picked up a couple more this year and will probably go place them fairly soon even though I don't intend to even hunt the area this year where I will have them out.
 

BuzzH

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I talked with Ryan Hatch a number of years ago about the Arizona Strip when I was working down there. He flat said that trail cameras kill a vast majority of the big bucks there. Without them, he said the strip would be a whole lot tougher to hunt.

I tend to lean toward the camp that they can really take the hunting part out of the hunt.

I think that in some cases, trail cameras do save deer if hunters never get a chance at a specific deer and don't end up punching a tag. On the other hand, many big deer, elk, pronghorn, etc. die because of them too.

The other trouble I have with them is all the B.S. and cry-baby whining, regarding people stealing them, looking at somebody else's SD card, territory marking over who's camera was there first, etc.. IMO, you put your camera out on public land and somebody breaks it or steals it...tough chit, keep your drama to yourself.
 

James Riley

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I can't stand seeing a satellite fly over at night; so imagine how my little black heart sank when I found one of these Fkrs in what I thought was one of the most remote and left-alone areas I hunt, deep in wilderness. Might as well be on a street corner in Great Britain with a bunch of turds watching me on security cameras.

Ignorance used to be bliss but I don't even get that anymore. If a man can't pretend he's Daniel Boone going through the Gap then he might as well stay home and rage on the computer. So, in that light, yes, they make me lazy.
 

Joe Hulburt

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I would say the exact opposite is true! Trail cam's get me out in the woods way more than I used to in the off season and I go in deeper and to more new places. The actual photos gathered honestly don't aid much in hunting at least for me. On a rare occasion a photo might cause me to focus more on one area but most of the time there is already other sign in that area that would have the same result. I need to add I generally hunt animals that are not pattern able.

Bottom line is there are just some people who love to complain about anything that other people do that they don't. They are so full of themselves they seem to take is as an insult if someone dare have a different view.
 

James Riley

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Bottom line is there are just some people who love to complain about anything that other people do that they don't. They are so full of themselves they seem to take is as an insult if someone dare have a different view.

Depends on who's ox is being gored. I'm sure you'd be the same if someone was doing something where you hunt that detracted from your hunt. We can discuss just what that might be, but I bet I can make the case that "live and let live" is BS when your sensitivity level is greater than another's.
 

BuffaloRCody

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This has nothing to do with complaining or being full of myself. I was just thinking of how my grandfather and uncles learned to hunt and how I was originally taught. Summer time I would spend hours with a spotting scope or binos and patterning deer, learning their trails and tracking them by the "hoof". By doing this I would learn every piece of land in a way that maps couldn't teach you.

Now we use trailcams, and I use them too, but I was wondering if the new hunter ever really learns why the deer are using a trail or bedding in a certain area or if they just know that they are there by the picture, and then that's all they care. I guess it's the same way with a fishfinder, you can see a school of fish in an area and just fish it, not knowing that they are there because of the specific structure.
 

Gr8bawana

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IMO, i put trail cams up there with airial spotting. Takes the hunt out of the "hunt." Many animals are found that otherwise would have never been. They take the place of hours upon hours of sitting, scouting and acual hunting... all for bragging rights. I guess it gives guys a reason to come up with some lame moniker or a "hit list" for an animal they're "tracking."

^^^This^^^
 

----

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Catch and release trapping. I enjoy the hell out of it.

I'm also glad I live in an area where I know I can put them up and not get humans on them, and not have to worry about finding other people's. I'm also very glad they're not legal to use during hunting season here.
 

Nameless Range

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Catch and release trapping. I enjoy the hell out of it.

I'm also glad I live in an area where I know I can put them up and not get humans on them, and not have to worry about finding other people's. I'm also very glad they're not legal to use during hunting season here.

I fully agree.

I set up a couple every summer. I suppose they could certainly give someone an unfair advantage in some places. I do not hunt where I set them up because frankly those animals aren't there come September. It's more of a curiosity thing. What lives on this miserable hillside at 8,000 feet when it's 100 degrees down in the valley?

I think it is absolutely true that they can take the place of hours of scouting and sitting, in an analogous way that Google Earth took the place of miles of burned boot leather. It's a threshold thing and I fully understand opposition to them. For example, I set up cameras but think that cameras that text you a picture when a critter is in front of them crosses some sort of personal threshold of mine. Either way, I get excited to check them come August.
 

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