With summer right around the corner, there will be a lot of trail cameras hitting the woods. It can be intimidating to know how to make sense all of the photos you get all summer and into the fall.
Getting the pictures is the first step, knowing what to do with them will inevitably lead to more success. These five steps will help you wrap your head around all of your trail cam photos.
1. Identify Specific Bucks
It can get tricky when looking through all of your trail cam photos, especially when there are multiple bucks that look similar. What I like to do is give bucks a name, to help remember them more clearly.
For example, you name a buck Lefty, because he is the one that has a much larger left side than right side. That way, next time you check your camera, and notice a buck with a considerably larger left side, you will remember which deer that is.
This is important when targeting bucks that you will want to go after during season, and equally as important for identifying bucks that you might want to pass as well.
2. Number Cameras and SD cards
This is most important when running multiple cameras on a property. Instead of inserting an SD card into your computer and trying to remember where it came from, have it labeled. This makes it very simple to organize your photos.
It takes the guesswork out, and you wonâ€™t have to depend on memory to figure out where the pictures that youâ€™re looking at came from.
3. Create an Organization System
Saving all of your trail cam photos in one place can get messy, and quickly. Especially if you let cameras sit for a month, there will more than likely be a good amount of pictures to go through.
Create folders with a system. What I find works well is to first create a folder of the property the camera is on. Then, if there are multiple cameras on that property, create folders for each camera.
After that, having folders for the month the pictures is taken is helpful. I even go a step further, and create a daylight and nighttime folder within the month, because I like to have all of my daytime pictures in one place.
This way when you save all the pictures that you want to keep, it is simple to put them in their correct folder. When itâ€™s time to go back and search for a picture, it will be easier to find.
4.Â Â Focus on Important Pictures
When looking through all of your trail cam photos, focus on important ones. Any buck that I can identify characteristics, I save.
That doesnâ€™t mean staying up all night studying all of those pictures. Just pay closer to attention to the pictures of a buck that are showing up during daylight hours or close to it. If there is a buck that shows up in the middle of the night all summer long, and there arenâ€™tÂ any daylight pictures of him, save them, but then turn your attention to the ones that have been showing up during the day.
Especially as the season nears, bucks that are showing up during shooting hours will be much more likely to be a target.
5. Use the Time StampÂ
Almost all trail cameras have a time stamp feature that you can set. This is one of the most important tools trail cam photos offer. Knowing exactly when deer come by your camera is critical. It allows you to set the date, time, and most camera companies even give you the temperature and moon phase.
News flash: this info allows you to pattern when deer have visited your camera site. Understand it, use it, and it will make a huge difference when you start to put the pieces together.
As you get all of those trail cameras out in the coming months, keep these five tips in mind. They will help you make sense of all the trail cam photos you will be getting.