Who ever said trail cameras were just for deer? Placing a trail camera over a carcass to watch our local predators quickly became one of our favorite wintertime setups. We have been amazed by the number of different birds and animals that take advantage of this opportunity. Give it a try – we guarantee you’ll be surprised by the neat and rare photos you’ll catch between the lens.
Taking the Bait
The basics of this unique trail camera setup is to find some “bait” that will draw in predators and scavengers. We like to use the leftover scraps and carcasses from a successful deer season. You may also be able to locate some carcasses of unfortunate deer that did not make it across the road. Anything that will draw in predators will work, but the fresher, the better.
The Trail Camera
You will want to start out with a trail camera that can take the colder temps. From my experience, cameras that take larger batteries (ex. C and D batteries versus AA batteries) seem to perform the best in colder temps. Since you don’t have to worry about human disturbance as you do with deer, you can check cards often, so set the camera on multiple burst mode to gather as many pictures as possible. Also try placing multiple cameras around one carcass for different angles.
Find a secluded spot that even the wariest of predators will feel comfortable visiting. If you are trying to get pictures of coyotes or bobcats, pick a spot in their territory. The less they will have to travel, the faster they find the carcass and the more photos you’ll get. When dealing with larger predators, it’s a good idea to secure the carcass to a tree, preventing them from moving the bait out of the camera’s view.
When setting the camera up, try placing the carcass with the back toward the camera. The idea will be to focus the photos on the predators and not the carcass. When predators find your carcass, they will start eating the stomach first. This will put them facing right at your camera, giving you perfect photos.
We like to take all things into consideration for the photo and think about what is going to be in the background. When setting the trail camera, face the camera in the direction that is going to make for the best picture. Pointing the camera in the most scenic direction to get that perfect photo.
We have found that some cameras have a negative affect on touchier predators (ex. bald eagles, coyotes and bobcats) so remember to hide the cameras as best as possible or place them about head height pointing down.
*DO NOT use any carcasses that my contain lead – this is known to be very harmful to wildlife.