Home On The Range #032: Winter Game Management w/ Moultrie Mobile

A lot of hunters understand the value in having trail cameras up before, during, and shortly after their respective hunting seasons, but what about way after hunting season? Like, in the cold winter months when there are no hunting seasons in sight? Do your trail cameras – cellular or not – have value still being out in the field documenting photos, videos, and movement for you? We look to answer that very question for you this week with thoughts on winter game management with our Moultrie Mobile cellular trail cameras.

“Home on the Range” Series on AllOutdoor

Welcome to our reoccurring series of “Home on the Range.” Here, we would like to share all of our experiences for those who may be homesteading, living off the land, hunting, farming, ranching, and truly investing in nature and the great outdoors. The ability to provide for yourself and your family can be tremendously rewarding and simultaneously difficult at times. So, in “Home on the Range” we want to share our different exploits so you can learn and hopefully we can receive your feedback along the way as well.

Winter Game Management Concerns – Battery Life

While the easiest solution to the question of When should I take down my trail cameras for the year? might be to simply state – never – there is a genuine concern for battery life; especially in colder winter months known for draining any and all battery types down to nothing. We wouldn’t recommend that people leave them up year round simply because it takes a toll on your equipment. Wind, rain, ice, snow, sun, and wild critters could eventually wear down and/or break your trail camera. We don’t want to test the salt of our trail cameras. We simply want to deploy them so they can provide value to us – in the form of photos, videos, and information – and when that value becomes low, bring ’em home to be spruced up (cleaned and taken care of until next year).

We previously discussed how your “photo upload frequency” can drain your battery, and batteries are expensive in volume. Similarly, if you leave your trail cameras out in the cold for winter game management, you might be looking to your local hardware store for a bevy of batteries, too. So, you need to identify where your value ends when it comes to your trail cameras. That answer might be different for everybody. For me, personally, it is when I finally have identified that whitetail buck antlers have dropped or been shed (allowing me to know it is time to suit up and go hunting for them).

Winter Game Management

Winter Game Management – Collecting Sheds

If you are one of those whitetail deer hunters who likes to collect sheds you already understand this isn’t an exact science. Yes, there is a ton of science built into the answer of when do deer shed their antlers, but it is not a date that you can mark on your calendar. Some of the things that impact when a whitetail buck – young or old – will shed their antlers in the winter time are:

  • Diet
    • Food Consumption: Are they getting grains? Protein? Lack of food entirely? Inconsistent eating?
    • Water Consumption: Is it a drought? Is there ample water? Do they travel great distances for water?
  • Hormones
    • Mating: Are they of an age where their “drive to mate” is high? Are they so old testosterone is declining?
  • Weather
    • Seasons: How brutal is summer? How horribly cold is winter? Are all of the seasons pleasant and support vegetation?

winter game management

Where cellular trail cameras – like the ones offered by Moultrie Mobile – come in handy is instead of jogging through several feet of snow in search of antler sheds multiple times throughout the winter, you can simply watch from the comfort of your home whether or not their antlers have fallen yet. Whether you are collecting them for artsy/crafty reasons, want a pair for rattling during hunting season, or any other reason, you can save yourself time and energy by letting your trail cameras stay outside until maybe January or February to finish watching your deer until their antlers drop.

As you can see in several of the trail camera photos collected off of our Moultrie Mobile cameras, many of the deer have not dropped their antlers yet in Minnesota. Even with sub-zero temps for multiple weeks now they are still hanging on. This, again, could be attributed to a deer’s healthy diet, sufficient food, good genetics, testosterone levels, and even easier months prior to winter. What is funny is a couple lil’ bucks are buttin’ heads even in January! They are far past mating yet they are testing out their antlers for fun against each other.

We will continue this journey of using cellular trail cameras in future weeks of the “Home on the Range” because there is simply a lot to cover and discuss. As always, let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! Are you interested in investing in cellular trail cameras? Do you already have some that you have been using for awhile? Are they Moultrie Mobile? We always appreciate your feedback.

Winter Game Management

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