Trail Cameras For Predators? Heck yes!

Trail cameras are a standard piece of gear for big game hunters, but their use by predator hunters isn't nearly as widespread. Why?

I've always been a part of that no-trail-cam crowd for predators, but for the past few months I’ve been playing with their use on patterning some coyotes.

It all started when a farmer friend called during the spring to tell me he's been losing calves. With prime coyote hides worth more than $100 each, I really don't want to kill them at this time of year unless I have to, but this was a "have to" situation.

On my first trip out to help, one coyote died in an ambush, but subsequent trips showed me these coyotes were educated to calling and as smart as any I've ever encountered.

While I was trying to devise a strategy, the farmer had a bull die. And when he dumped it on his dead pile, I saw the opportunity to set out a scouting camera in an effort to learn more about the coyotes terrorizing his herd. Around here any dead livestock will immediately attract every raven, crow and magpie in the area—and keep a motion-detecting camera snapping constantly.

So, I focused the camera on the dead bull and set it to “time lapse mode,” taking one picture every 10 minutes from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. During the majority of daylight hours it sat idle and movement never triggered it.

Reaping What You Sow
My plan worked, and I was able to catch plenty of coyote pictures and get some idea of how many are in the area and when they are active. This effort has caused me to rethink the usefulness of scouting cameras when hunting predators—and I can now see other possibilities.

For situations where there is no bait, the application of some coyote lure of the type used by trappers, should work. I'm thinking if I deposit it near a watering hole or on a likely coyote trail, then return the camera to its motion- sensing mode, it should work. Also, whatever varmints I shoot over the summer—be they ground squirrels, crows or pigeons—won't go to waste if I set a camera over a central varmint graveyard.

I've been reminded that coyotes are a lot shorter than deer, and it's important to tilt the camera downward to catch these critters. But don't set the camera too low to compensate, because tall grasses waving in the breeze might trigger the device, wasting precious battery juice.

Also, at this time of year the days are much longer, so avoid having any sky in your camera's field of view. A camera's sensors can't deal with the severe contrast between a daylight sky and dark ground, and useless photos result.

I'm now convinced that trail cameras can be of some use for predator hunters and I'll be exploring the options they provide some more. If you have any additional ideas, toss them out for other readers to share on the forums.


North American Hunter Top Stories

\r\n\r\n

I've always been a part of that no-trail-cam crowd for predators, but for the past few months I’ve been playing with \r\n\r\ntheir use on patterning some coyotes.

\r\n\r\n

It all started when a farmer friend called during the spring to tell me he's been losing calves. With prime coyote \r\n\r\nhides worth more than $100 each, I really don't want to kill them at this time of year \r\n\r\nunless I have to, but this was a \"have to\" situation.

\r\n\r\n

On my first trip out to help, one coyote died in an ambush, but subsequent trips showed me these coyotes were educated \r\n\r\nto calling and as smart as any I've ever encountered.

\r\n \r\n

While I was trying to devise a strategy, the farmer had a bull die. And when he dumped it on his dead pile, I saw the \r\n\r\nopportunity to set out a scouting camera in an effort to learn more about the coyotes terrorizing his herd. Around here \r\n\r\nany dead livestock will immediately attract every raven, crow and magpie in the area—and keep a motion-detecting camera \r\n\r\nsnapping constantly.

\r\n\r\n

[MEDIA:1539837]

\r\n\r\n

So, I focused the camera on the dead bull and set it to “time lapse mode,” taking one \r\n\r\npicture every 10 minutes from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. During the majority of daylight hours it sat idle and movement never \r\n\r\ntriggered it.

\r\n \r\n

Reaping What You Sow
\r\nMy plan worked, and I was able to catch plenty of coyote pictures and get some idea of how many are in the area and when \r\n\r\nthey are active. This effort has caused me to rethink the usefulness of scouting cameras when hunting predators—and I can \r\n\r\nnow see other possibilities.

\r\n \r\n

For situations where there is no bait, the application of some coyote lure of the type used by trappers, should work. \r\n\r\nI'm thinking if I deposit it near a watering hole or on a likely coyote trail, then return the camera to its motion-\r\n\r\nsensing mode, it should work. Also, whatever varmints I shoot over the summer—be they ground \r\n\r\nsquirrels, crows or pigeons—won't go to waste if I set a camera over a central varmint graveyard.

\r\n\r\n

[MEDIA:1539838]

\r\n \r\n

I've been reminded that coyotes are a lot shorter than deer, and it's important to tilt the camera downward to catch \r\n\r\nthese critters. But don't set the camera too low to compensate, because tall grasses waving in the breeze might trigger \r\n\r\nthe device, wasting precious battery juice.

\r\n\r\n

Also, at this time of year the days are much longer, so avoid having any sky in your camera's field of view. A \r\n\r\ncamera's sensors can't deal with the severe contrast between a daylight sky and dark ground, and useless photos \r\n\r\nresult.

\r\n \r\n

I'm now convinced that trail cameras can be of some use for predator hunters and I'll be exploring the options they \r\n\r\nprovide some more. If you have any additional ideas, toss them out for other readers to share on the forums.

","mobileBody":"
[MEDIA:fee8865f88974564ba820d88361826a1]

I've always been a part of that no-trail-cam crowd for predators, but for the past few months I’ve been playing with their use on patterning some coyotes.

It all started when a farmer friend called during the spring to tell me he's been losing calves. With prime coyote hides worth more than $100 each, I really don't want to kill them at this time of year unless I have to, but this was a \"have to\" situation.

On my first trip out to help, one coyote died in an ambush, but subsequent trips showed me these coyotes were educated to calling and as smart as any I've ever encountered.

While I was trying to devise a strategy, the farmer had a bull die. And when he dumped it on his dead pile, I saw the opportunity to set out a scouting camera in an effort to learn more about the coyotes terrorizing his herd. Around here any dead livestock will immediately attract every raven, crow and magpie in the area—and keep a motion-detecting camera snapping constantly.

[MEDIA:1539837]

So, I focused the camera on the dead bull and set it to “time lapse mode,” taking one picture every 10 minutes from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. During the majority of daylight hours it sat idle and movement never triggered it.

Reaping What You Sow
My plan worked, and I was able to catch plenty of coyote pictures and get some idea of how many are in the area and when they are active. This effort has caused me to rethink the usefulness of scouting cameras when hunting predators—and I can now see other possibilities.

For situations where there is no bait, the application of some coyote lure of the type used by trappers, should work. I'm thinking if I deposit it near a watering hole or on a likely coyote trail, then return the camera to its motion- sensing mode, it should work. Also, whatever varmints I shoot over the summer—be they ground squirrels, crows or pigeons—won't go to waste if I set a camera over a central varmint graveyard.

[MEDIA:1539838]

I've been reminded that coyotes are a lot shorter than deer, and it's important to tilt the camera downward to catch these critters. But don't set the camera too low to compensate, because tall grasses waving in the breeze might trigger the device, wasting precious battery juice.

Also, at this time of year the days are much longer, so avoid having any sky in your camera's field of view. A camera's sensors can't deal with the severe contrast between a daylight sky and dark ground, and useless photos result.

I'm now convinced that trail cameras can be of some use for predator hunters and I'll be exploring the options they provide some more. If you have any additional ideas, toss them out for other readers to share on the forums.

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