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Old 03-27-2012, 10:35 PM
titleist_03 titleist_03 is offline
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Default The Reason Why Trail Cameras Spook Deer

Check out the latest episode of Reality Deer Management and see the results of an experiment we did as to why trail cameras spook deer. It might surprise some of you. It was cool to see how the deer reacted to different methods of placing the camera.

http://youtu.be/XVQUSR5BdIk
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:56 PM
yoderj@cox.net yoderj@cox.net is offline
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Interesting tests, but false conclusions. I've used wireless dual lens design cameras with solar panels that have no noise or scent being in the field for many months. Swapping identical cameras except for illumination shows that revisits by mature bucks are dramatically lower with red blob illumination compared to black flash.

I don't doubt that there are many other factors depending on the camera that may have a more significant impact on deer than illumination type, but it is clear that illumination is a source of camera avoidance with mature deer.

As I say, it was an interesting and informative video, but the conclusion that illumination source doesn't matter does not follow from the data presented.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:50 AM
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yoderj, while I appreciate your comments, I'm not sure I follow you statements on illumination source. The point of the video isn't about illumination, it's about positioning. The video states fewer negative reactions were seen when the cameras were placed at 6 foot and higher. The video showed that it wasn't the illumination that effects the deer, it's the camera itself positioned on the tree.

Now in some instances, we've ran into people who have no issues with cameras placed at waist height. This can be explained by a low pressured deer herd that are care free, or the fact that these people leave their cameras out year round and over many months the deer have became accustomed to them.

The biggest factor in differences people observe with their flash, red, black LED cameras is the local deer herd. For some, it doesn't matter what they use or where they put it. For others, placing cameras higher could have a dramatic effect on the number of pictures and frequent visits by mature deer.

The study was far from scientific, but for the regular joe out there it proves some ideas we've had, but further testing is needed!

Last edited by titleist_03 : 03-28-2012 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:22 AM
yoderj@cox.net yoderj@cox.net is offline
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That is why I said the video is interesting and informative. I'm simply saying that at one point in the video, he makes the statement and draws the conclusion that illumination source does not matter. That conclusion is not supportable from his testing and in fact conflicts with other evidence.

As I said, I think the video was both interesting and informative overall.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titleist_03 View Post

The biggest factor in differences people observe with their flash, red, black LED cameras is the local deer herd. For some, it doesn't matter what they use or where they put it. For others, placing cameras higher could have a dramatic effect on the number of pictures and frequent visits by mature deer.

The study was far from scientific, but for the regular joe out there it proves some ideas we've had, but further testing is needed!

I would tend to agree with your statement that there seem to be some regional differences in how deer herds react to illumination sources (and positioning for that matter), but this comes from anecdotal observations and it is nothing but a considered opinion.

On the other hand, age class biased camera avoidance based on illumination type has been well document. Even here enough testing has not been done to identify if regional difference occur.

I also agree that you video was not a controlled study and does not provide proof of anything, but does inform the topic quite nicely.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:41 AM
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I didn't read the article, but the idea of having the camera up higher sounds like it may not threaten the security of the deer as much. It makes sense not having bright sensors coming from down towards the ground. Just got my first camera and think i may put it up high and angle it downwards to keep the threat of something laying low in the bushes for them out of the equation.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:52 AM
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I haven't watched the video, but since having my x7D buckeye cams up, the deer pay zero attention to them. These are blackflash cams that I literally leave alone 24/7 and it takes pics and sends me emails of the pictures taken, like Jack says, so I can definitely relate to and back up his claim. I think the biggest reason deer are negatively effected or the only reason deer are negatively effected by cams are scent left/pressure caused by changing cards or being in the area.
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Old 03-28-2012, 12:54 PM
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Excellent presentation with a lot of footage to back it up, I'm going to try the same thing at my place and see how they react. I love getting video with the Primos cams but it's hell on batteries.
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titleist_03 View Post
yoderj, while I appreciate your comments, I'm not sure I follow you statements on illumination source. The point of the video isn't about illumination, it's about positioning. The video states fewer negative reactions were seen when the cameras were placed at 6 foot and higher. The video showed that it wasn't the illumination that effects the deer, it's the camera itself positioned on the tree.

Careful now, message board rules frown upon posts with repeating themes...

Even with so-called "black flash" cams, critters are still alerted by, and sometimes deterred by my Reconyx mounted low.

Last edited by grundsow : 03-28-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:42 PM
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After my buddy switched his cam(non black flash) to my black flash, pictures went up 8x. Nothing else changed. I am 100% black flash only now. You could give me a non black flash and i would not use it.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:13 PM
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After my buddy switched his cam(non black flash) to my black flash, pictures went up 8x. Nothing else changed. I am 100% black flash only now. You could give me a non black flash and i would not use it.

That's our next step in this experiment is seeing how they react to a blacked out camera. Based on what we've seen so far they'll still react to it because they'll still see the camera on the tree regardless of the color of flash. But everyone's deer are different!
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:23 AM
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Nice work, so many of us have conducted similar research, but not as many have taken the time to put together such a nice presentation.

In a nutshell, if a target animal has a specific purpose for being at a photo site - bait, scrape rubs, etc... They will be very tolerant of a flash regardless of where the cam is mounted; this includes mature game as well (3-5 year old buck, mature bear, elk, etc...).....however, those very same animals will rarely tolerate getting slapped in the face with a whiteflash cam as they are moving from one area to another. This is one instance where elevated cams help a lot, almost all of my white flash trail sets are elevated between 6-8 feet, some in bear country are higher between 7-10 feet to help combat "the chew" (doesn't always work, see pics).

From my perspective the "black-flash" phenomenon is well over-rated, Penn State and University of Georgia have done many studies examining the eye of a deer and they are unable to definitely determine at what spectrum the eye cannot detect light - I'm not saying that a deer can see them, what I am saying is the physiological make-up of the eye doesn't indicate that they cannot detect the light. I know there are a few who swear by them and I am not here to discount their opinions or findings, but only to share mine. In examining some of the best black-flash cams on the market I am not nearly as impressed with picture quality as I am with some other commercial IR cams and certainly not a quality IR HB cam. Couple the "blur" or "fade" with the extraordinary price tag that often accompany the BF cams and my opinion with regard to their "over-ratedness" is compounded.

The important thing to always consider about trailcams is that folks use them for a wide variety of applications. Some just need to "see horns" while others want magazine quality images. I NEVER thought that this hobby would have evolved in this way for me. I run cams all year and at times, while on stand in the fall, I am thinking of new cam-sets that I could establish. I spend more quality time with my wife and children "in the field" now than ever before. We have shed-antler sets, duck sets, predator sets; it really has come a long way for me from just trying to see what's out there.

I hope this helps some, it really is just my opinion, but it is based on hundreds of thousands of pics across thousands of acres, multiple states, and too many cams to count....






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Old 03-30-2012, 06:43 PM
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That is a cool picture 12-ringer, the point blank glance with the 2 in the background is neat. Couldn't stage it any better.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:13 PM
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That bear is up the tree with the camera? You need to enter that in a contest! That's incredible!
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titleist_03 View Post
That bear is up the tree with the camera? You need to enter that in a contest! That's incredible!

Yea, the adults seem less interested when the cams are mounted in the 6-8 foot range, but the cubs seem to think it is just another challenge....

Here is why I mount them higher in bear country...this one is about 5-feet up...

Before (P41 RingerCam)


During



After


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Old 03-31-2012, 07:10 PM
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Good video. Looks to me like they pick it up visually first, then the scent is what sets them off. Most cameras, I have noticed, have a scent of their own. These deer could be sensitized to cameras due to poor usage and placement practices elsewhere. Deer on our river property are much more sensitive to cameras and placement than deer on our farm property. The big difference? ...less pressure overall and no camera pressure from surrounding properties. The farm deer just haven't associated the cameras with any kind of danger and they live a less 'stressed' life overall.

Anyway...not criticism, just more input. All kinds of factors involved and what you have hit upon was very insightful and informative.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:21 PM
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I think you got two different things going on. In the daytime they are clearly seeing the camera and then going to alert and reacting to scent. In the night time pics/video, they are reacting to the glow vs the camera (assume those are low glow). I know there was one clip of a buck reacting to the camera with no power etc... , but I think he was reacting to the scent since he was so close.

I think the visual on the camera itself at night is about the glow, in the day its the shape, in both cases its the scent that is causing most of the reaction.

Interesting none the less, when not using feed, I do try to keep mine 6+ft up and spray with scent killer. With feed, it doesn't seem to matter.
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:02 AM
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Very Interesting... I have IR 24-7 Cameras going and they are both 10 feet high and the deer never even notice them.

My Trail cams are low and I ALWAYS use VIDEO because you see so much more!

Like this...The Fox didn't seem too concerned but the Coyote BOLTED!

Click for Video>>>> http://youtu.be/bTmYV6n2qIk

I'm moving all my trail cams up high...I have rarely seen the same buck twice on my trail cams...and that's 13 different bucks last year alone...
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:34 AM
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I agree it could be visual in daylight from the "box" and the glow at night, but somewhat of an unknown might be can the deer see the "box" at night too. As well as they can see at night, they obviously can see it. To what degree, we really don't know. Regardless, they do see the red glow.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:27 PM
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Great intel! I always wonder why i get some many shots of mature deer straight on.. I can tell they are looking at the camera like " what in the world is that" So this video helps connect some dots for me.

I rely on game cameras as my most reliable scouting tool. After this video I will definitely rethink my use of them. Now I will only use them on particular trees and leave them up 24/7.. It makes me believe its a bad idea to move them from spot to spot. I think they would get comfortable with them eventually. Especially if you have them aimed towards some already foreign, like a corn feeder or mineral lick...

IMO, almost all deer hunters use cameras now. So it only makes sense to me that deer will become smart to them and relate them to danger in one way or another... If a deer is using a trail and all of a sudden there is a invasive camera on it. the deer will probably look for a alternative trail.

Thanks for sharing your finding's.
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