My friend, Tyson Hall, says that every time he goes out to check his trail cameras, the anticipation is like Christmas morning. I feel the same way. I have a camera or two up almost year round on the 470 acres we hunt in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, and as the summer and fall progress, I put out cameras near trail crossings, food plots, and other high deer traffic locations around the farm.
I get pictures of all kinds of things on the cameras: deer, red and gray fox, coyotes, lots of turkeys, more raccoon than I care to count, opossum, squirrel, my neighbor checking the crops, neighbors’ cattle that are out, other random wildlife, and the occasional trespasser. I find it all very interesting and a great way to monitor what is happening on the farm when I’m not around. But of course my main purpose in putting out cameras is to monitor deer.
The biggest challenge for getting good trail camera pictures, without just being lucky, is to get the deer to stop in front of the camera and give you a good “photo op.” I used to get lots of pictures of deer butts, legs, just walking past, or nothing at all, as the deer would move past the camera too quickly to get a good photo. So, a few years ago, I began to think about mock scrapes and similar tactics that many hunters use and thought maybe I’d start making them in front of cameras. So, I went to the sporting goods store and looked at all this stuff that they sell for just this purpose. I’m amazed that 1 ¼ oz of this stuff costs $5.00 to $8.00. And what a variety of choices! “Doe Urine,” “Doe in Estrus Urine,” “Dominate Buck,” “Code Blue,” Code Red,” the list is endless. I was overwhelmed by consumer choice, so I bought some “Indian Buck Lure,” the stuff my Dad has had a bottle of for years and never seems to use up.
Determined to give the mock scrape a try, I headed out in early October to set up a camera and put the Indian Buck Lure in a mock scrape in front of it. I had a great spot picked out: It was accessible from a logging road; it was in a food plot; andthere was a pine tree with a suitable limb for the scrape’s licking branch. But when I reached in my pocket for the Indian Buck Lure, it wasn’t there. Not wanting to abort or delay the project, I used the only urine I had: my own. I had been waiting to pee someplace away from the area, because my scent-control-freak bowhunting friends were always telling me how they piss in bottles and carry it out with them, etc. and how I didn’t want to screw up hunting in this area. But I said to myself, “what the heck, let’s see what happens.” So I let loose with a combination brewed from the morning’s coffee, a glass of orange juice, and my preferred vitamin supplement. A generous-sized puddle formed in the mock scrape. I then pulled the branch down and whizzed all over it too, and then I sprayed the ground all around. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but there wasn’t going to be any doubt that I had been there. My only regret is that I didn’t turn the camera on before I did the deed the first time. What I found the next time I checked the camera was remarkable. The attached pictures (including the reapplication) pretty much speak for themselves, but if you follow the date and time stamp you’ll see there is no denying what happened. I’ve done this every fall since then and included a couple pictures from this year.
I’m known as “Buckman” around our farm/deer camp. So, the “Buckman Juice” is now in demand and I’m thinking about selling it by the pint. I’m producing the stuff every day. Or try your own brew yourself. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but hey, it works for me!