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January 11, 2008

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BuckTracker: Why I Love Trail Cameras

Some deer hunters—including my friend and colleague Bill Heavey—do not appreciate scouting cameras. I happen to think they’re pretty cool, and I can trace this attitude to my childhood, when I was something of an espionage freak. All spies were cool, and those who hid little cameras in picture frames and pieces of fruit were using the ultimate surveillance tool.

Most folks who dislike scout-cams think they give hunters a technological edge, allowing the scouter a critical glimpse into a whitetail’s life that will aid in the harvest of the buck. In my experience, just the opposite is true. I rarely get pictures of the deer I know I’m hunting. Instead, I’ll snap a nighttime pic of some behemoth buck using my stand tree as a scratching post, and this blurry image will be the only glimpse I’ll ever get of the deer. Photos like these are humiliating, not enlightening.

Anyway, I love to look at trail cam pics, and I’d love for Buck Tracker readers to submit some of your favorites. They can be from this fall or season’s past, great big deer or interesting little ones. Heck, some of my favorites are those without a deer in them. Need proof? Check out the bears that showed up on this “carcass cam,” placed near the carcass of a muley buck (you can see them after the jump). Pretty cool stuff, for a little spy camera!





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David E

uh... why waste a perfectly good deer carcass (and rack!) on nighttime photos of bears?
big mean grizzly bears are cool and all, but so are venison steaks and wall mounts!

Blue Ox

Smile!! You're on Candid Camera!


I agree. Seldom do I see the same deer in the field that I see on the camera. But I'm like a kid at Christmas everytime I pull that SD card out and head back home. I can't wait to see what's inside.
Just a little example:


We have a 140 class deer on trail camera for three years now. We have never seen him while hunting only on camera.


We have a 140 class deer on trail camera for three years now. We have never seen him while hunting only on camera.


Yep, had a buddy place three cams near his feeders in Sept. Had some pic's of some "gnarly" deer. Come deer season in Nov., he and his two sons, killed one pretty nice 8, everything else was spikes, forks and does!

Just because he's on film, don't mean he's on the property!


bill heavey

ATTENTION READERS: bestul is pretending to be friendly guy who just "happens" to disagree with me about trail cameras. he convincingly adopts the pose of a modest midwesterner. between the lines lies a more sinister message: "i am a more skilled deer hunter than bill heavey. i can figure out complex technology that bill heavey cannot. i am a better person than bill heavey."

as it happens, all of this is true. on the other hand, he was captain of the girl's softball team in high school. so i'd say we're about even. bh


{he was captain of the girl's softball team in high school. }

And your point? (grin)


It's O.K. Mr. Bestul, Heavey was the chearleading captain at his highschool!

Scott Bestul

Get your facts straight, Bill. It was the girl's snychronized swimming team. And anyone who knows me can attest that I am, indeed, a very mediocre deer hunter....but I can do an underwater headstand that would make Esther Williams proud.


Scott, I don't remember Bill mentioning cheerleaders in his book???

Do you in yours?

Bill Heaney, I wanted to know if you could get me on a guided hunt. My name is Laiton and I live in Louisiana. Please wright back at [email protected]
Thank's Laiton


id be scared to go back to my camera if i seen that on film,,lolol

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