With whitetail season a few short months away, deer freaks everywhere are breaking out their deer gear. One of the first things they reach for is their scouting cameras. Little do they know, they just may be making the biggest blunder of the season.

Scouting cameras are a great invention and many of us couldn’t hunt as well without them. But, unless used correctly, early season scouting with cameras can end your chances of taking a mature buck.

Big bucks hate pressure and they have a hard time knowing the difference between a hunter checking his trail cameras and a hunter trying to run an arrow through his ribs. Human pressure is human pressure and big bucks want nothing to do with it. Early season camera pressure can run the buck of your dreams clean into the next county.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, done correctly, early season cameras can give you a good feel for the deer using your property and how they are using it. And that means low impact camera scouting. Here’s how:

1) Set cameras far away from bedding areas on food or mineral
2) Set cameras where deer will not be alarmed by human intrusion
3) Set cameras where you can get in and out undetected
4) Check cameras during the middle of the day
5) Check cameras infrequently (every two weeks)
6) Don’t let your scent drift into bedding areas (watch the wind)

Hunting season is a long way off, and you’ll have plenty of time to find and locate the big buck you’re going to hunt this fall. This is the time to take inventory and see who is out and about. Deer movement will change as food sources change. It is too early to map fall hunting strategies now. The trick to early season scouting is to tread softly and don’t over due it. Cameras are a great tool but only when used correctly.

See my post on how to locate and pattern mature bucks with trail cameras.