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Mid-January Fighting Bucks Caught on Trailcamera

by Mike Willand 18. January 2012 13:28
Mike Willand

I am relatively a newbie when it comes to utilizing trailcameras for whitetail scouting or inventory purposes. In years past I just didn’t understand their appeal. I understood that photos of big bucks were cool and often couldn’t wait to view some of the snapshots my good friend and hunting partner, Justin Zarr, was able to capture on his. In fact, he’s probably the single greatest influence to why I use them today. I just couldn’t understand why someone would waste their time giving away their position long before the season started.  The problem for me was that extra human scent we are certain to leave behind and how it influences deer movement.

Since I’ve started using cameras over the past two years, I’ve been fortunate to have captured some pretty unique whitetail behaviors, something I attribute to my never ending bout to control my human odor. For me, it’s a relatively simple endeavor. Living in the farm country that I do I utilize the terrain to the best of my ability and simply don’t push too far into the woods. I use rubber boots, rubber gloves, and approach my cameras the same as I would approach a treestand. I try my best to eliminate human pressure even while not hunting.

Whether or not this is the reason for some of the unique photos I’ve gotten is certainly debatable. It could be nothing more than luck. However, if the old saying holds true and luck really is where preparation meets opportunity, then perhaps it’s something more. Perhaps those extra little steps do give me more luck in the photos I capture.

This past weekend while checking my cameras looking for the first signs of bucks that have dropped antlers, I was surprised at what I had captured.  Nearly mid-January and to my surprise a fight for dominance between two bucks! In fact, just days earlier while enjoying my last sunset of the year from a nearby treestand – I witnessed the same two bucks harmlessly feeding alongside each other acting as if they were the best of buds. My stealthcam said otherwise.

The battle took place between a busted former seven-point buck that Justin and I have captured at least fifty pictures of since the start of deer season. This two-year old is an absolute terror, a warrior who’s had a mostly battered rack since before Veteran’s Day. His opponent was a more timid three-year old eight-point with a wide spread, another buck Justin and I knew well, but had far less photos of.

The two-year old broken seven-pointer gloats in front of my trailcamera following the fight.

The reclusive three-year old eight-pointer in early October.

When the two bucks first enter the field they appear as equals, casually strolling out to feed just like I had observed days before. A doe group enters from the camera’s right side and suddenly tempers flare. The bucks’ ears go back, full body posturing while walking in a circle around each other for several frames. The battle grows more intense while the females look on. Eleven minutes later the battle ends, only the mangled snow-covered field still shows the signs of the struggle that took place.

While it’s not clear who won, the two-year old ends up sticking around another twenty minutes and posing in front of the camera. The reclusive eight-pointer casually strolls off behind the doe group like nothing happened.

The fight doesn't begin to shape until does enter the field.

The eleven-minute battle would end and begin at least three times, while my camera snapped over 150 images of the scene.

Notice the snow between the first and last frame - showing the battle that once took place. The only sign that still existed the day I went to check this camera.

Like I said, I’ve been fortunate to capture some pretty amazing whitetail behaviors with my trailcameras in my short time utilizing them. These new photos are among my favorites. 

Day 6 PlotWatcher Pro- NEW for 2011!

by Bow Staff 3. February 2011 01:58
Bow Staff

2011 Day 6 PlotWatcher Pro

The original Day 6 PlotWatcher time-lapse video camera was a game changer no doubt, but the new PlotWatcher Pro hits it out of the park. With four times the battery life and a 2.5" LCD for on-board camera set-up, video aiming and camera status messages, the PlotWatcher Pro will put you that much closer to getting that trophy buck you so desire.

The PlotWatcher Pro is not a traditional trail camera. In fact, traditional trail cameras with time-lapse features pail in comparison to the PlotWatcher Pro. There are three very important design criteria for a time-lapse camera -- long battery life, the ability to support tens or hundreds of thousands of images and good picture quality in low light conditions without a flash. This is because some of the most important scenery for a timelapse camera is happening right at dawn or dusk, out of reach of a flash.
Traditional trail cameras are optimized for large megapixel counts, continuous motion detection and energy-efficient flashes. The design choices to make a good quality trail camera are simply not the same design choices to make a high quality time-lapse camera such as the PlotWatcher Pro.

Like the original PlotWatcher, the PlotWatcher Pro uses time-lapse video technology to record high-definition images taking a picture every 5 or 10 seconds and saving these individual pictures as an HD video. So whether the animal is 30 feet away or 330 feet away, you'll see them on the video. Essentially, the PlotWatcher Pro records what you would have seen if you'd been scouting that same spot for all of that time.

In addition, the PlotWacher Pro accepts add-on zoom lenses, features temperature and moon-phase info on each image, uses an SD card storage, is security cable ready and saves video files in ½ of the memory space. It also features defined time-of-day for video start and stop.

The GameFinder video player software, free with the PlotWatcher Pro, gives you the ability to watch an entire 12-hour day's worth of video in just a few minutes.

To learn more about this new PlotWatcher Pro take a look for them on the web.


Categories: Current News

BuckScore Download will take the Guessing Game Away!

by Bow Staff 29. July 2010 16:08
Bow Staff

Expect BuckScore to score points with deer hunters!

Ever sit on your PC late at night studying the images of countless bucks you captured on camera? Ever wonder what each buck scores? Sure you can guess. Sure you could have a friend guess. But wouldn’t it be great to really know? Read below and STOP the guessing game.

Introducing BuckScore, a downloadable program developed by two professors from the Mississippi State University’s Deer Ecology and Management Lab, along with a graduate-researcher, over a three year period. Using known measurements for average deer ear widths, eyeball widths, and measurable facial features such as the eye-to-eye distance, these researchers developed equations to assess the antlers in inches using the Boone and Crockett scoring system.

BuckScore can even estimate the antlers' inside spread, main beam lengths and gross score simply from photographs. And is accurate whether the antlers are in their summer "velvet" or hard-horned.

Simply upload a buck’s digital image into your PC and use the tracing tool to outline the antlers. Within moments hunters will get an accurate estimate of the antlers total score!!

Without BuckScore this hunters estimate was off by less than one-inch! With it, he decided the buck was big enough to take after all! Thanks BuckScore!

BuckScore Pro is expected to be available as a $10 download at their website before the Labor Day holiday. It is expected that a percentage of the sales will go to Mississippi State University, and 25% of that will go specifically to its deer research lab. BuckScore is also teaming up with Bushnell scouting cameras to allow a free download with purchase of some of their products.

While the software will first be offered for Windows-based computers only, a Mac version will shortly follow. A BuckScore application is even in the works for both iPhones and iPads and is expected to be available this January.

So take the guessing game out of your favorite trailcamera photos, or just bust the chops of your co-workers and friends. Look for the BuckScore download and start telling the truth about what you really saw!


Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

Montana Bans Trailcam Usage!?

by Bow Staff 7. April 2010 14:03
Bow Staff

Both resident and visitors to the “Big Sky” country of Montana will be interested in this state’s latest ruling on the banning of trailcamera use during the hunting season. That’s correct, you didn’t read that first sentence wrong, we did say trailcamera banning. Read below to find out more!

Taken directly from page 10 of Montana’s Hunting Regulation booklet.

“Motion-Tracking Devices and/or Camera Devices
It is illegal for a person to possess or
use in the field any electronic or camera
device who’s purpose is to scout the
location of game animals or relay the
information on a game animal’s location
or movement during any Commission adopted
hunting season.”

The Bowhunting.Com staff wants to know how you feel about this latest Montana law and the use of trailcameras as scouting tools. Do you agree or disagree with the new Montana law? Would you support a similar ban in your home state? And, why do you suppose they even made this into a law? We want to know! Please leave your comments below. Thank you!


Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

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