The Hadley Creek Trail Cam Strategy - Hadley Creek Outfitters The Hadley Creek Trail Cam Strategy - Hadley Creek Outfitters

Here at Hadley Creek Outfitters, we love using trail cams! Besides using them as an aid for hunting, we just love trying to get pictures of these big Illinois whitetail deer. This time of year, when we can’t be hunting them with bows, it’s pretty much the next best thing! Trail cam strategy may not be quite as exciting as the hunt, but it still takes a lot of work, patience and luck.

Besides being just fun, we do also work hard on our trail cam results to help us hunt these mature and elusive Pike County bucks. But the way we use trail cam photos to aid in hunting might not be what you expect. We don’t use the trail cam to identify specific deer. We don’t have them all named and patterned by the time our hunters show up in October. Instead, we use trail cams in a much more broad way. Here is a little insight into the Hadley Creek trail cam strategy:

The first thing to know about our effective use of trail cams is that we are constantly moving them. We usually don’t leave a camera in the same spot all throughout the season. Using a trail cam successfully means frequent adjustment. The deer certainly aren’t doing the same things in July that they are in November. Their patterns change during the course of the year, and so must ours.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKnowing what the deer are generally doing in the spring versus the summer and then into the fall will help us determine where we place cameras. Think about your food sources and other factors that influence deer movement at different times of the year. Then place your cameras accordingly but don’t be afraid to adjust. If something isn’t working, change it up. Don’t keep doing the same thing, expecting different results.

The second thing to know about our trail cam strategy is that we don’t attempt to use cameras to identify or pattern specific deer. Sure, it’s fun to capture images of the same buck and see how he’s growing through the summer. But that only gives you a small window into the deer activity. Because we’re constantly moving our cameras, we’re often looking at new deer, different deer and seeing how their habits might be the same, or different.

Third and finally, moving our cameras throughout the year and not being concerned about keeping an eye on any specific deer leads us into how we actually use these photos and information. We use our trail cam photos to help identify broad overarching patterns. We are able to see a wide cross-section of deer and identify patterns that may help us in hunting them.

0023_WGI_0091For example, we might notice when they are generally moving to food plots or when they’re moving into wooded areas. In addition to everything else our guides already know and observe, we can use this supplemental information in placing our hunters in the best possible locations on a particular morning or evening sit.

Trail cams are fun and they can also be useful. But it is important to understand their limitations. You probably won’t get pictures of all the bucks on your property. So instead, try and identify those larger patterns to help aid your hunting decisions.

For more information on hunting in Pike County, Illinois with us, please give us a call at 217-335-3804 or send us a message. We would love to talk with you about hunting big free-range whitetail deer and what makes this place truly special.