Question for game camera users in California

Plain ol' Steve

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I am curious how valuable these cams are as a tool.

Are you users noticing the game on your cameras showing up with any regularity (daily, and or at regular times of the day)?

If not, what value do they hold for you? Its my understanding that whitetail deer are creatures of habit, so I can see their value in whitetail country but not here in CA.

Thanks,
POS
 



Moonshine

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As long as I've been setting game cams, I've noticed in my areas, that Mule deer do not pass the cam everyday at the same time, or everyday period. These deer roam around a large area and you may get a pic of the same deer every now and then. The deer I capture , you can not pattern. The cams do give me some sort of idea about what's in the area, and it's fun to check them in the off season.
 

Aught-SixGuy

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It's been my experience that it's not so much about patterning as it is about learning what time of day you're most likely to see deer and what areas they use most.
 

cali-carnivore

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They are more valuable as a tool to gauge populations. You may want to hunt an area that looks good but you have not seen many deer or other game. You set a camera up near water or travel routes and you will know if it is worth the time and boot leather. I also use them in areas on a ranch that I am not hunting to see if I should hunt the area. They have helped me eliminate more areas than locate honey holes.
 

lewdogg21

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Like the others have said the cameras don't pattern the deer and they don't pass the same day. I basically use it to know what bucks/bears/critters are in the area and get an idea of when they are active in said area.
 

Rob P.

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I don't know about others but I use them to eliminate areas of low interest AND to help find that elusive buck.

For instance, I just set my camera in a new-to-me area. I walked in, found big tracks, and set my camera on a pinch point on the game trail. The camera pictures show that the big tracks are from an older doe with big feet. (And apparently she is barren since no fawn ever showed up.) A genetically defective spike buck was there but neither he, nor the doe can be harvested in the general season. That was it for the deer. Except to say that where there are does, there are bucks as the young spike indicates.

So I moved the camera hoping to find a nice buck at a water hole since I know that he must be there someplace. Once I find him I can move the camera outward from the current place and see if I can find how he's getting to water. Once I know that, I can set up to ambush him some morning.

Also, by moving the camera around I get to know the lay of the land. I know where there is a natural choke point or funnel and that there is a VERY NICE knoll about 100 yds away with a good field of view in 3 directions around that choke point. Now I have to hope that Mr Antlers lives in that direction - which the tracks says he (or his twin brother) should.
 

raidernation0618

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You should be able to look at a set of tracks and no if its a doe or a buck.doe will have all four insteps same distance and inline eith each other, a buck has a wider rear steps or his legs arent in line like a doe because of his balls a doe can almost step into her front paw print with rear cause there in line a buck will have his hind steps foot wider than his front feet
 

PCguy760

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game can be scarce in CA , so I think cams can tell you if a spot actually has live game recently instead of just old ass footprints in the dirt ........................ that's valuable info
 

Rob P.

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You should be able to look at a set of tracks and no if its a doe or a buck.doe will have all four insteps same distance and inline eith each other, a buck has a wider rear steps or his legs arent in line like a doe because of his balls a doe can almost step into her front paw print with rear cause there in line a buck will have his hind steps foot wider than his front feet
Without trying to get into a nasty debate on this, I believe this is an old wives tale. Despite the "experts" who say differently, you can't always tell from the tracks what the sex of the deer is. Terrain, slope, soil, moisture, etc are all part of it.

For instance, some people believe that bucks print dew points from their hind feet with every step because they are heavier than does. But, you won't get dew points on tracks going up a steep slope. And the dews won't be noticeable on crumbly loose dirt. On top of that, Muleys tend to not print dews since they don't have high body weights and they live in areas where the ground is very dry and hard or loose and sandy. Neither of which take definitive tracks very well.

Size is one indicator but can be wrong (as my last camera location showed). Step size and even-ness are easily seen when the ground is flat and hard packed around a feeder location but the ground is rarely flat in the wild where the deer have to forage for food. The result is that the steps are almost never symmetrical because the deer has to brace itself or step over/under something as it moves up and down slopes and across the terrain.

So, the only real definitive test to tell if the tracks are from a buck or a doe is to see which one is standing in the tracks when the tracks are being made.
 

JONFSH

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Rob P.... I agree +1.

And if I might add; if anything a bucks front legs would leave a heavier imprint due to more mass up front in the chest and antler weight. While a doe has wider hips due to berthing. At least that is what I've read....

Bottom line seeing is believing...
 

Rob P

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This Rob P agrees with the other Rob P. just based on my personal experience.
 

Common Sense

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the only real definitive test to tell if the tracks are from a buck or a doe is to see which one is standing in the tracks when the tracks are being made.
But it is fun to try other methods.
 

d14deerman

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I use the cams to notice consistency weather it is a days or weeks. Also to notice direction of travel when the buck is in view if on a trail, so I can kinda have an idea of where he was coming from. And it is good visual motivation to see what's out there, helps with the long hikes to know there is a buck in the area.
 

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