For some reason when it comes to trail cameras and summertime, I feel like I'm cursed. I've been running trail cameras staring in early July for the last 4 or 5 years and I've yet to get a photo of a really good velvet buck. Sometimes I feel like I'm cursed, especially when I see some of the bucks that others are getting on their cameras. My only real excuse is that in the urban areas I hunt I'm terrified to put a camera on a field edge for fear of it getting stolen, so I often put them in the woods where foilage is thick and deer can be hard to find during the summer. Typical travel corridors aren't being used as heavily as deer aren't really traveling very far, and there won't be any active scrapes for a few months yet. So these typical hotbeds of trail camera activity are fairly slow right now.
So like usual, my first batch of photos produced nothing but a couple of does. After seeing these results I do believe I'll have to move at least one of these cameras before the summer ends! If my next batch of photos still doesn't reveal any bucks, at least I'll know where not to look for buck bedding areas come October.
Right now I have a Moultrie i40 and a Reconyx Hyperfire HC500 out. Both cams have great color quality during the day, and superb IR flash range at night. However, they aren't without their flaws! Both cameras seem to have a distinct problem with motion blur during those low-light daytime images. Many of my Reconyx photos are really blurry, which make the photos almost worthless. The Moultrie has similar issues with blur, combined with a lot of empty images. I'm not sure what's setting off the motion sensor but I've got probably 50% empty images so far, which is typical for this particular cam. The Reconyx however had zero blank photos and did not miss a beat when it comes to capturing images. That's one thing that HC500 does extremely well.
A typical daytime image from my Reconyx. This doe and fawn seem to love working the trail I have this particular camera on, as I have quite a number of pictures of them.
The night time IR range on the HC500 is superb. I just wish it was a nice buck instead!
The Moultrie i40 has some better color saturation, but motion blur is still a big issue.
I have the AM/PM reversed on this camera so it's only 3 in the afternoon. Not quite sure why the IR triggered, but the overall quality of the photo isn't bad.
After checking both of these cameras, and almost dying of blood loss from the mosquitos, I set my ScoutGuard SG550 out inside a chunk of woods where I captured my two best bucks on camera last fall. I'm really hoping to get a glimpse of one of the big boys this summer so I know they're still around. Come October it always helps that motivation to know you've got a few target bucks to chase. Now it's just a waiting game. I'll go back in two weeks and, provided nobody steals my cameras, we'll see what we've got!
This Saturday Mike and I are headed to his lease to see if we can't film some velvet bucks in a giant soybean field so hopefully we get some good footage for you next week. Check back soon and I'll let you know how things go!