OK, sexy might be a little strong for trail camera tips for scouting turkeys.
These tips will allow you to scout and understand your hunting properties from a turkey hunting perspective in a relatively quick fashion. Trail camera tips for turkey hunting are few and far between on the web, and most of them stem from running trail cameras for deer hunting, which doesn’t really relate.
When I’m scouting for turkey with trail cameras, I care about 2 things. Where are the turkeys roosting? If I know nothing else, I want to know that. Secondly, where are they going, after they roost? Here are 3 tips for using your trail camera to find the butterballs (turkeys).
Trail Camera Tips For Scouting Turkeys
1) Time Lapse mode
This is the bee’s knees when it comes to scouting turkeys with trail cameras. Sure, the strutting turkeys close to the camera are sweet to look at, but what do they really inform you of? Diddly, that’s what.
Setup the trail camera to take pictures every minute (or 5 minutes), from sunrise, until the end of legal shooting time (here in Illinois, it’s 1 pm). If you can hunt turkeys all day, I’d still say noon or 1 pm is a good time to cut off the time lapse mode. Position the trail camera as high as possible, so your trail camera pictures can “see” a far distance. The point is to see exactly where the turkeys are entering the field, and where they are leaving.
If the turkeys are not very pressured, there should be a huntable pattern forming over a week or so. If, (big if) there are turkeys utilizing the area. After 1 pm, I have my camera in a regular mode, using the motion sensing feature. That is, up until 6pmish, when I turn on the time lapse mode again. If I can get pictures of turkeys in the last hour or two of light, I know roughly where they are located, come morning. If I’m getting turkey pictures in the PM, and not the AM, I know the turkeys are roosting in the area, but not using the field the camera is on. This is vital info.
The important things to remember here are: 1) time-lapse mode and have it overseeing as much of the field as possible, I position mine anywhere from 6-9ft off the ground. I use the Stic-n-Pic trail camera stand for this. Partially because it’s a badass trail camera stand, and partially because it just plain works.
2) Check your trail cameras in the dark.
I know a guy in Southern IL that does this when checking the cameras for deer hunting. I only do it for turkey hunting. This ensures I don’t spook at turkeys during the daytime, and puts less pressure on the birds, allowing them to hold their pattern longer.
There really isn’t anything special about doing this, other than 99% of the people don’t do it this way. Just be as silent as possible, check the camera, and get out of there.
3) Shoot the biggest file size you can.
In nearly all trail cameras, you can set the camera to shoot different megapixels and file sizes. This is to allow for more pictures (less quality), or fewer pictures at a higher quality.
The benefit to having your trail camera shoot a big megapixel picture? You can blow it up on your computer, and see the birds in the distance much better. This is a big benefit when you’re looking at animals over 100 yards away. So, that brings up another point – get big CF or SD cards for your trail cameras. They are essential when utilizing the time lapse feature that racks up so many pictures.
And there you have it, 3 sexy tips that make scouting turkeys in the Spring easier, and more effective. Put these to use, and you’ll be having more turkeys in the back of your vest!