How to Capture Camera-Shy Bucks
I have heard a lot recently about bucks that are wary to trail cameras and will avoid them at all costs. Personally, I think it’s more about how often that deer moves on your property than him avoiding detection. Bucks will travel out of their normal routine in order to acquire easily accessible food sources, and now is the time to capitalize on the late summer food quality reduction that is occurring with natural forbs and browse. The best way to get a picture of a buck not frequenting your cameras is to use a baited setup. Also, try putting the camera higher up in the tree so bucks would have to look up to detect it.
Plants are not as easy to digest in late summer because as they grow, their stems get harder and the surface area of new, succulent growth is diminished. Bucks still need to eat in order to prepare for the upcoming fall, so by putting out feed or attractant this time of year, you can get some great pictures of bucks that you never knew were in your area.
Here are the combos I like to put out this time of year to get an accurate inventory of all the bucks living on the places I can hunt:
Protein Blockbuster: Ani-Protein Block topped with Ani-Supplement GOLD. I call this the ultimate protein site. This combination offers the best of both worlds in terms of intake and longevity in case you can’t make it to re-stock the site for a few weeks.
Double Apple Supreme: Take a bag of granular Braggin Rights Apple and dump it on a big log, then pour a bottle of Liquid Apple Braggin Rights on top of it. This creates a one-two punch with Apple aroma and seems to make deer go crazy to get more. The downside of this combo is that all the deer will hit it in a very short time, so you will have to replenish often to stay ahead of them.
Mineral Blockbuster: Ani-Mineral Block on top of Mineral Dirt 180. This is the same trade-off as #1 above in terms of maximizing intake and longevity, but uses minerals instead of protein. Mineral use is starting to fade from the peak of spring, but I have witnessed bucks hitting this combo up until the velvet falls off in early fall.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race: This combo involves putting out one Ani-Mineral Block and one Ani-Protein Block. This combo will allow for multiple bucks to get nutrients at the same time and keep the site active for around a month (depending on local herd density). Obviously, this has the lowest intake of the 4 mentioned because all the nutrients are stuck in a block, but this option will definitely win the longevity game.
If you happen to live in an area that is off limits to using baited trail camera surveys, check out the new product called, Ani-X. It is a scent attractant that does not contain any nutrient value or plant protein products. You simply shake a bag out and disperse the scent over a wide area in front of your camera. It won’t hold bucks like the blocks and feed products do, because bucks won’t get the food reward they are looking for, but it should grab their attention long enough to get a few pictures on their way through. If you have a good trail cam picture of a buck you will be targeting this year, feel free to post it to our social media pages, just make sure you leave out the GPS coordinates. Good luck capturing those elusive camera-shy bucks, and happy velvet rut everyone!