Home Forums Campfire Forum Treed Partridges and trail cams

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    • James Harvey
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      I was reading an old TBM today (Oct/Nov 11) and came across an interesting article by a Kirby Kohler, titled Treed Partridges. He talks about Leopold’s aversion to the easy temptation of treed partridges, trad hunters’ general aversion to taking the ‘easy road’, then goes into some ‘easy roads’, or ‘treed partridges’, that have become common stomping grounds for trad hunters…

      My self-reflection cast light on how easy it is to fall victim to temptations associated with hunting. Traditional bowhunters pride themselves on refusing technology, sometimes to the point of sounding like elitists. However, it is clear to me that some temptations have inundated traditional bowhunting without much thought by the traditional bowhunting community.

      Trail cameras have become the mega-industry, changing the manner in which we scout and hunt. Trail cameras are monitoring the deer woods across the country to the point that I sometimes doubt there to be a monster buck left that nobody knows about. We have all seen pictures of a huge buck clicked by some trail camera, then listened to the corresponding story of the hunt to kill the animal. It seems we have entered a time when discussions of scouting center on the portfolio of trail camera pictures. In the past, the same discussions centered on topographical maps and observations in the field. Now the main objective of scouting is to check the trail camera and send the photos to hunting friends. Using trail cameras to simplify the hunt just doesn’t seem good for traditional bowhunting. Using trail cameras seems like swatting a treed partridge.

      Kohler discusses trail cams a little more, addresses carbon arrows (with the caveat that Dave P. has convinced him that EFOC carbons are an ethical choice for hunting large game with modest weight stick bows), and tackles pop-up ground blinds.

      He then sums up his point:

      If traditional bow hunters embrace ease over difficulty when it comes to scouting, arrows and concealment during the hunt, why is it hard to believe that the archery industry continues to develop more advanced compounds and will soon be marketing models launching arrows at 400 feet per second? Why is it hard to believe the rifle industry is marketing rifles and scopes to kill elk at 1000 yards? Why is it hard to believe ORVs have more access to State and National forests every year? Why is it hard to believe the privitization of wildlife threatens the future development of young hunters? Why is it hard to believe our society is willing to label crossbows primitive weapons?

      Kohler doesn’t end there but I think you get the point of the argument from those excerpts.

      I know that ‘trad’ is a sliding scale, there are plenty of places within that spectrum you could fall depending on your gear, methods etc (I for instance have never even shot a self bow, let alone hunted with one), but how do you guys feel about Kohler’s thoughts?

      Are trail cams bad for hunting? They obviously give a fascinating peak into private animal behaviour. But are they an aid or replacement to scouting?

    • Charles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      On this and all matters (be they related to hunting or not), my personal opinion is that the only basis for justifying any choice is personal preference. You can’t show me any choice in life that is not rooted in it, notwithstanding any protestations to the contrary from the various purveyors of various creeds through the millennia.

      To wit: I will use a selfbow or a glass-laminated recurve, but I won’t use high-tech limbs or a riser that was never part of something growing out of the ground. I won’t use a trail cam to scout, but I will use a computer to scout. I own a GPS receiver and am expert with it, but I won’t use it to record the location of sign. (Stopped doing that several years ago.)

      And I hunt with both traditional bows and a scoped rifle. 🙂

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 579

      Jim,

      I’m not sure as far as scouting goes. But for Wildlife Research, remote video recordings are changing the game. A lot of what biologists thought has to be re-examined in light of things we’ve gotten on film. For example, my friend Max Allen recently published an article about a video-recording he got of a spotted skunk bluffing a cougar at a carcass. The spotted skunk was able to defend the deer carcass from the cougar for a couple hours until the cougar came back, and then they shared the carcass together. That’s an animal 1/100th the size defending a carcass. Regardless of how remote cameras are affecting hunting, they are a definite bonus for biologists.

      That being said, I was out scouting this past week. I was about a mile from where the road ends, and found a great drainage with some deer feeding sign. There were rose shrubs, ocean spray, and other shrubs the deer were browsing on. I set up a couple ground blind setups. Then I was circling around about a 1/4 mile upstream from my blinds, and a HUGE blacktail buck jumped out of a blowdown he was bedded down in. From 60 yards without binos he was at least a 3×3 maybe 4×4. We watched each other for a few minutes, then I turned around and I walked directly away from him. Hoping he doesn’t go to far:D for 2 weeks!

      So I think its the same as far as most other equipment goes, depending how we use it remote cameras can benefit us or be detrimental to our learning. It just depends how we approach it.

      preston

    • William Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      I don’t use trail cameras. One, I’m pretty much limited to public land and what private parcels I can go on are just not big enough to warrant the use. The effort in checking them involves regular visits to the cameras and that puts you and your scent in the woods entirely too much before the season. I’ve never been a trophy hunter so the biggest rack is not my purpose for hunting but I know guys who love that aspect and they will all tell you that once you find where a large buck is using staying out of that area as much as possible before the hunt starts is key to having a real chance at that buck. I’m sure there are plenty of stories to the contrary out there. For me it then becomes a matter of what is Trad and what is not.

    • paleoman
      Member
      Post count: 918

      I haven’t used a trail cam to date either. I’m fine with the boots and eyes on the ground approach, and as I’ve said before, the kill is of less importance to me these days anyway. What comes, comes…or I move. Less is more and if someday I die like old Otzi (sp?) and no one finds me for 10k years, at least I’ll give ’em a good scare when they roll me over…and a puzzle for the new age archaeologists why this guy wasn’t carrying 50 pieces of catalog technology common to the era. All that said, have fun with them, I’m not morally opposed either.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      I can see trail cams being fun for simply getting a non-intrusive insight into wildlife, and possibly spy some cool animals that one doesn’t normally see otherwise (like cats). And I’ve really been enjoying Dave’s (and others’) trail cam pics posted here on the forum.

      But when it comes to using them for hunting, I just don’t get how they are all that useful. Maybe it’s where I live, or the species I tend to focus on – it’s big country and the animals are highly mobile. Even if a nice bull came wandering by the trail cam, it wouldn’t necessarily mean anything several days later – he could be thirty miles away by then. Am I missing something?

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Bruce — I think you speak for most western hunters insofar as trail cams have little value in “patterning” game for hunting, because they have so much land to roam across and neither elk nor mule deer follow predictable patterns or trails as whitetails do. So even if I wanted to use a cam to help me hunt, it would be a waste of time. But I don’t, as already stated here. For me, game cams have become an off-season hobby totally unrelated to hunting but closely related to my love of wildlife. For years I’ve sat here in the shack and from time to time thought “I wonder what’s going on “out there” right now? My primary targets are bears, and I don’t even hunt bears. I use only infrared cams so the woods aren’t lighted up as from lightning. On the other hand–I know of one well-known and respected trad bowhunter who sings the glories of monitoring his next intended trophy whitetail with game cams–and this within huge areas of planted “deer crops.” To each his own but to me that akin to building an electronic high fence. Crop baits, photo monitoring, tree stands in all the right places … where is the actual hunting here? It’s not so much a matter of ethics (though arguments can certainly be made there) but rather a matter of trading a true hunting experience for a virtual hunt. Doesn’t interest me. But as a totally separate off-season outdoor recreation–something that will get me out hiking along in the woods in summer and winter, I love it. And I love sharing the results. In fact I just bought a second cam and have two of them out there working as we speak. I just hope I can remember where they are. 😆 If I got any sense this was in any way disturbing wildlife, warning them away from needed resources like water, I wouldn’t do it. Nor can electronics ever replace the joy and satisfaction of good old-fashion sign reading. IMO

    • paleoman
      Member
      Post count: 918

      Dave – I’ll only add that whitails at low densities in vast tracts such as Maine, northern New England, etc., must be as close to unpatternable as western critters? The bucks in this country seem to roam miles and days before, if ever it seems, they come back. I refer to the general rut period.

    • ChumpMcgee
      Member
      Post count: 252

      I do not personally use trail cameras but of course I like to see photos from them. Personally I like the unknown, I hunt on public ground and I go out several times prior to the first day of hunting and scout the woods and set up my ground blinds. I do not need a camera to know that deer are in the area that I set up my blinds, I know for fact that they are there. As far as when it comes to seeing what kind of deer are in the area, I like that to be a secret and a surprise. If I am hunting the area for weeks or a month into the season and see nothing but doe and I see a monster buck come by that I had no idea about man what a great feeling that would be. I also have compared hunting to reading a book I do not want to know bits and pieces of the story or how it will end before I even start reading it.

      That is my personal take on it, I do not mind trail cameras I just prefer not to use them for hunting.

    • Col Mike
      Member
      Post count: 911

      Couldn’t agree more. Have a cam in the back yard to peek on the critters–will post some when I get the time to figure out how–but like all you won’t use them for hunting.

      Three days ago while visiting family my brother-in- law and I were walking in his 40 acres of hardwoods in central In. when we stumbled on a cam–he indicated that he had given young man permission to hunt this year. Then I saw the mineral salt block on the trail–after explaining that baiting is illegal–and unethical–we removed the card and left a note where to claim it and that his hunting rights had been revoked:twisted:

      Mike

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      I salute you and your bro-in-law, Mike! A cam and bait on 40 acres! That’s like using a sonar fish-finder in a bucket of water, geeze. You can bet that young man had been “educated” by TV shows, videos and “hunting” magazines. 🙄

    • tailfeather
      Post count: 417

      I run a few cams. I enjoy the surprise of new critter photos, but I sure don’t use them to “pattern” deer, but more to see what is going on out there….still in velvet? Fawns drop yet? I actually use them more prior to turkey season just to see some (hopefully) strutting gobbler pics…you can never look at too many strutting gobblers.8) Like someone else said, I like the mystery of being surprised by a particular buck when it comes easing through the swamp.

      Some guys have a folder of all the buck photos from their property…..with estimated ages, pet names, and whether they are on the “hit list” for that season or not. That, to me, is more akin to animal husbandry than hunting and I have no interest in it.

      Aldo Leopold got it right, “Very intensive management of fish and game lowers the unit value of the trophy by artificializing it.”

    • Mathew Carothers
      Member
      Post count: 21

      This concept makes me think of ‘I, Robot’. Loosely, humans made machines more and more capable of making their lives easier, to the point that the machines almost took away their freedom in order to save them from themselves.

      While not a direct analogy, I do see similarities. The 80+% let off compounds, 1000+ yd rifles, scent elimination generators, invisibility cloaks and time travel all seem to make hunting easier for people, but isn’t the logical end to hunters becoming more efficient the extinction of species? Is it possible that we as a species can get so efficient at killing that the animals can’t survive?

      I don’t know, but the idea scares me.

    • Mathew Carothers
      Member
      Post count: 21

      Sorry for being melodramatic everybody. Inevitability and the decline of ethical behavior has been really bothering me lately. In more than one context.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Mathew — I wish you were being melodramatic, but unfortunately you speak the truth and no exaggerations.

    • James Harvey
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      MathewC wrote: Is it possible that we as a species can get so efficient at killing that the animals can’t survive?

      I think we as a species have become so efficient at living that the animals can’t survive. I reckon that’s a scarier thought. Subdivisions and golf courses have claimed a lot more wilderness than even the biggest jerks of the hunting world I imagine. Although someone’s pet dog was killed by a pack of wild dogs on a golf course up here recently. Sometimes nature bites back.

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