A buddy and I had a gleam in our eyes like kids at Christmas as we geared up at a trailhead to check our trail cameras. My mind was in fast forward. Did I catch a huge bull on film? Did a monster mountain muley pass down the trail? Could I have captured a bear on film or possibly even an elusive mountain lion? Did Bigfoot, a space alien or even a disheveled Nick Nolte walk past my hidden surveillance unit?
Yes, checking trail cameras is like rushing down the stairs to check what Santa left under the Christmas tree. It's hard to hold back the enthusiasm and fortunately for me, miles and miles of remote country prohibit me from checking the cameras more than once a month. That's not the issue for many hunters. In fact, checking your trail cameras too frequently can actually lead to bucks disappearing from film and sight.
It doesn't take too many intrusions before whitetails catch on to your presence. Sometimes that's OK. I'd rather deer grow accustomed to my presence than flee every time for fear. Being too overcautious can lead to terror when an isolated buck suddenly comes face to face with a human.
Several of my friends have pledged to only check their cameras once a month. Others have a routine that includes checking them every two weeks in a consistent pattern so deer become comfortable with the intrusion.
If you check them every few days be prepared for deer patterning you. It happens if you check cameras too frequently or hunt the same treestand repeatedly. Be careful and reign in your enthusiasm. I think the right answer lies between checking them every other week and once a month.
As for our camera checkup, the SD cards had lots of elk, deer, moose, mountain lions and bears. Here's one of my favorites.
I'm Bigfoot in this neck of the woods.