Game Cameras for Elk Scouting
As any elk hunter knows, the key to a successful hunt is knowing where the elk are at the moment. Since elk are, by nature, a nomadic creature, this is crucial information. It used to be that you would simply walk into the area, look for good sign, post yourself and wait. Sometimes, you may go all day without even a sighting.
The game camera has changed all that and is a vital tool for successful elk scouting. Using them is a science and, yes, there are right and wrong ways to use them. I hope these tips help you bag that big bull, either for the first time or many times to come.
First, elk scouting needs to be done some time in advance. Go into the field and search out fresh signs of activity. The best evidence to look for is fresh droppings and tracks mixed with older of the same. This tells you the elk are still there and moving around a bit. Do this as much as possible so you know where to place your game camera.
Concentrate more on watering areas and food sources rather than highly used trails. I know that sounds counter-productive, but here’s why. If, during your elk scouting excursions, place the game camera on a high traffic trail, guess what other hunters are doing? You got it. They see it too and you will probably find several of them set up if you look hard enough.
By concentrating on lesser used water holes and food sources, the elk are more likely to be stopping for a minute allowing your game camera to snap their photo. Likewise, stick to secondary trails and really look for signs of habitation. Stay away from bedding areas and such as this will only drive the elk way if they sense danger may have presented itself.
Next is placement of the game camera. Be sure to mount the camera around waist height and away from the sun’s rising or setting positions. Radiant heat could cause the camera to snap blank pics. After you have placed the camera, wipe it down with a good scent blocker or eliminator. Human scent will cause elk to leave an area for good and will attract more aggressive animals like bears. Not a good thing to have bears hanging around your hunting spot, is it?
One big worry for the elk scouting game camera enthusiast is thieves. This is a main reason I say stick to secondary trails and lesser trafficked water and food sources. Use a protective cover that disguises your camera. Locks are also available to deter thieves.
In doing all of this, when the time comes for the hunt to begin, you will have inside information on where the elk are at, when they are there and what they are doing. Especially important if you hunt areas that are extremely cold is that you can know what time of day elk are moving through the areas you have scouted.
All in all, using a game camera for elk scouting increases your possibility of a successful hunt by at least 50%. Get a game camera or two and go bag that bull! Good luck!