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Trail Camera

Posted on March 8th, 2013

This evening I spent an hour or so looking back at trail camera photos from this past fall.  It is always really fun to swap cards from my camera, arrive home and view the camera photos taken during the past week or two since I last changed the card.  I have a couple of cameras out at Old Man’s Timber, but the photos below all came from my Bushnell Trophy Camera 8.0.  This is a very nice, moderately priced camera with infrared flash to avoid startling passing wildlife, although they sometimes still sense the camera and come in close for a look.

Although I must admit that my interest in the photos is filled with greater anticipation leading up to, and through hunting season, it remains just as strong after the season.  My son, Michael, and I both love to archery hunt.  To me, archery hunting is the ultimate opportunity to see deer exhibiting their natural behavior.  The time investment is significant, as it requires practice to ensure confident arrow placement, careful work to pattern the deer to find productive routes and the best trees to place stands, and lots and lots of time in the stand.  I have always found this personal time investment to pay dividends, not only in the harvest of a nice deer, but the opportunity to observe wildlife of all types throughout the fall and early winter.  I have been fortunate to see deer of all shapes and sizes, birds, hawks, eagles, squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, turkeys, and even a cougar several years ago on a property NE of Iowa City.

Below are some photos that I thought you might enjoy.  The first one shows a nice buck in early October just as bow season began.  This guy captured the interest of both me and Michael.

Early October Buck

Early October Buck

 

As archery season progressed, both Michael and I had harvested nice deer, Michael a doe and me a smaller buck.  We were still hopeful to be able to have a chance at a bigger buck like the one seen here in later November.  This guy started showing up on my trail camera toward the end of archery season, I was even more happy to get a couple photos of him in late January, having survived the shotgun and late muzzle loader seasons.

Nice Buck November 27

Nice Buck November 27

 

Anyone that has sat quietly for hours in a tree stand and has heard the timber come to life as a result of passing turkeys will appreciate the next photo.  Turkeys are a great addition to Iowa wildlife, but can be a little disheartening, as my heart rate usually doubles in anticipation of a nice buck approaching my stand, only to realize its a few turkeys strolling along the leaf covered timber floor.  After the initial disappointment passes, I am always delighted to watch the turkey forage in the leaves, finding their fill.

Turkeys going for a stroll

Turkeys going for a stroll

 

I was really interested in the next couple of photos taken on December 22, along with several other photos in this series, we can see two smaller bucks engaged in a territorial dance.  I was most interested that this activity continued well past the early November mating and right up to the Christmas season.

Bucks dancing in the snow

Bucks dancing in the snow

Buck dance, part 2

Buck dance, part 2

 

As the winter continued into January, February and now March, the deer have taken to their normal winter herds.  Below is a nice photo of four antlerless deer working together to find food, keep warm and stay safe from predators.  I have a few photos with as many as eight deer in one image, and have seen as many as 16 in one herd during a recent hike at the timber.

March deer herd

March deer herd

 

As winter continues, I see fewer and fewer antlered deer on the camera, and in the herds, indicating that most bucks have dropped their antlers for this year. I continue to look for deer sheds in bedding areas and crossings for gullies or fences, but have yet to score any nice ones.  Although hunting season is long over for this year, I am still curious to see what images await me on the trail camera each time I visit Old Man’s Timber.

 

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