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Hook and bullet club

The middle of June is not exactly prime time to be out scouting for your buck, but a new wave of technology has made it much more interesting.Trail cameras have been around for some time now but with the introduction of digital cameras, a whole new world has come into focus.Troy, a friend of mine from college, works for a company that has just brought a digital trail camera to market. Troy’s job has included bringing home several demo models to try them out.The results have been impressive. Via e-mail I get photos taken as recently as the day before. That’s the big difference between the old film camera and the digital models, instant results.Plus, digital cameras allow you to take many photos and delete the ones you don’t want, keeping only those that pique your interest. Check out most sporting goods shop and you can find trail or scouting cameras from a cheap film model for $70 to a top of the line digital for $700. These cameras have infrared detection you can set to go off when an animal comes by. Daytime and nighttime pictures are available as well as short video clips. There’s even a web site on the internet called that has digital photos of some pretty nice deer. But Troy has been out this spring and summer seeing what’s hanging around his hunting area, which is conveniently near his house in west-central Wisconsin. His photos show a buck developing antlers in the velvet stage. This is June and already Troy has an idea of the deer he might get a chance at in November. Now, for some guys this is darn near taboo. Taking pictures of wild game crosses some imaginary line for them and I can respect their views. But, if the prices on the digital trail cameras keep coming down, I can see digital making an appearance at Camp Cholesterol. We’re pretty low-tech save for a cell phone or the generator to power the sauna. Our deer scouting usually starts in the fall when the leaves start to turn and we can see scrapes and rubs starting to appear around the woods. Tracks in the mud or the fleeting whitetail over a hillside that we see when looking for grouse give us a very rough idea of what to look forward to. And I’ll say there are some benefits not knowing what’s out there as well.Seeing a big 10-pointer come out from behind a spruce tree can get your heart beating in a hurry on opening morning. But what if you thought about passing that one up because you saw a 12-pointer on your trail camera two weeks ago? Maybe your expectations would be higher based on what the camera saw and your disappointment greater if you didn’t see the same thing while out on the stand. Maybe not knowing in some instances is better than knowing what might be coming down the trail.I tried to get Troy to send me one of his demos to give a real test but no dice. Instead I just get to see what will probably end up in his freezer this fall. Whether or not a trail camera makes an appearance at our deer camp this year remains to be seen but make no doubt about it, trail cameras will be in use this fall around the woods. Maybe we should put one under the deer stands of the guys in our camp who like to catch naps while out hunting. At least then they’d know what they’re missing while they’re snoozing on the stand.

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