Trail Cams and Turkeys | Turkey Hunting Guide
We’re sure you’re looking forward to spring turkey season as much as we are. If calling a nice longbeard into shooting range is on your mind a lot lately, you might want to give some thought to how you can use trail cameras to help. Most people don’t think about trail cams and turkeys, but you can use them to scout and find good hunting spots just like with deer hunting. There are many trail cameras on the market today, so you have lots of options. But if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by that, here’s how you can use two different trail cam styles to help you get closer to pulling the trigger or releasing an arrow on a big boss tom.
Strategies for Traditional Trail Cameras
Most people assume you’re talking about traditional trail cameras when you mention trail cams and turkeys. That’s because they’ve been around much longer, and they are still very versatile. The Bushnell® Core™ DS No Glow trail camera is a great choice for most turkey hunters. It has dual sensors to take better pictures, and its no-glow design won’t spook game animals like older flash models. This camera can take 30 megapixel (MP) pictures too so you can zoom in and retain high-quality resolution.
As far as scouting for turkeys, there are a few situations where these cameras work very well.
- Farmland – if you’re active and present on a farm (e.g., regularly on a tractor or ATV, frequently checking fence lines, etc.), it’s easy to regularly check trail cameras placed on a fence post or field edge. Turkeys will be used to your presence, and it’s easy to swap out SD cards as you go about your daily tasks. Take note of when they enter these fields to know when you should set up a blind.
- Thick Cover – in areas of your property with lots of dense cover (e.g., shrubs, tall grass, etc.), you should be able to sneak in and change SD cards fairly frequently without disrupting birds. This is especially true if you have good access trails to use or you check them on a rainy day when most birds like to use open fields. Turkeys may travel through this dense cover as they transition between roost trees and open feeding fields or strut zones.
Strategies for Wireless Trail Camera
A relative newcomer to the market is the wireless or cellular trail camera. These cameras have some big advantages as compared to traditional trail cams and turkeys. Wireless trail cameras take pictures and videos much the same as traditional ones, but then they can send them via a data plan to your phone, which eliminates the need to physically retrieve an SD card. The Bushnell Impulse trail camera is one of the best options for this style. You can choose to transmit pictures or videos directly to your phone, and the various smart features make it easy to sort pictures by weather conditions so you know exactly when you should be hunting. Always check your local game & fish laws to see if the use of wireless cameras is legal in your area.
Here are some great scenarios where these are better options as far as trail cams and turkeys are concerned.
- Open Areas – some smart gobblers, especially subspecies out west, often move to wide open fields or pastures to avoid hunter pressure. From a strutting zone on a slight rise, they can see everything coming. If you plan to hunt here, use a wireless camera mounted to a fence post to monitor the turkey movement without ever having to potentially bust them out of there.
- Pinch Points – given their necessarily small area, regularly checking trail cameras in forest pinch points can get you busted fast. A wireless camera allows you to see when birds are moving through these areas and clues you in on when you should be there. For example, turkeys may use an open swath of mature hardwoods that is constricted by a stream or swamp on one side and a steep hillside on the other.
A Word On Settings
It’s a safe bet to run your cameras on higher resolutions settings anywhere from 30 seconds to a 1 min delay. Much like how you would do it for deer except you won’t really be getting nighttime images.
If you have trail cams and turkeys on the brain lately, you’re not alone. Hopefully, you can use these turkey hunting strategies to put a nice gobbler on the ground.